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Ford’s $32K Fiesta ST to go it alone

Manual-only ST hot hatch to be sole Ford Fiesta variant in Oz, launches in Q1 2020

3 Sep 2019

THE Fiesta nameplate lives on in Australia, but on a single high-performance ST variant that will launch in the first quarter of next year priced from $31,990 plus on-road costs.


Ford Australia product communications manager Damion Smy confirmed to GoAuto that no mainstream variants of the seventh-generation Fiesta would be introduced to this market during its model lifecycle. Stocks of the previous-gen Fiesta ran dry at the end of last year.


Moving from three doors to a more practical five for the first time and packing a long standard equipment list including the Performance Pack that is a cost option elsewhere, the latest German-built ST flagship of Ford’s Fiesta light car is $4500 more expensive than its predecessor – and remains a manual-only proposition.


Its price is now lineball with that of a Volkswagen Polo GTI that comes with a dual-clutch automatic and sandwiches Ford’s hot Fiesta between the $30,990 Sport and $32,990 Cup variants of Renault’s Clio RS, both of which also have dual-clutch autos.


A new all-aluminium 1.5-litre three-cylinder turbo-petrol engine develops 147kW of power at 6000rpm and 290Nm of torque from 1600-4000rpm, increases of 15kW and 50Nm over the 1.6-litre four-cylinder it replaces.


Peak power output now matches that of the Polo GTI and Clio RS, while torque is 30Nm down on the 2.0-litre unit used by VW and 30Nm up on the Renault’s 1.6. Even without the benefit of a dual-clutch transmission, the Fiesta’s claimed 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds matches both these main rivals.


As well as cutting-edge engine design, Ford has packed plenty of tech into the new Fiesta ST in a bid to balance performance, driving pleasure and everyday driveability, while the company claims its 12:1 steering ratio is the fastest of any Ford Performance model and 14 per cent sharper than the previous Fiesta ST.


Three driving modes – normal, sport and track – adjust engine response, exhaust note, steering weight and the level of intervention from traction and stability control systems.


Stability control can also be fully disabled for circuit work and there is also a launch mode to optimise standing starts.


Behind the front-drive Fiesta ST’s 18-inch alloy wheels and 205/40 Michelin Pilot Sport tyres are 278mm front brake discs and 254mm rear rotors, a Quaife limited-slip differential and torque vectoring system with torque steer compensation.


High-end Tenneco dampers (twin-tube at the front and mono-tube at the rear) with sophisticated valving are used to deliver both ride refinement and cornering control, while Ford claims its use of directionally-wound ‘force vectoring’ springs enable the cost- and weight-saving torsion beam rear suspension layout to perform as well as or better than a more sophisticated Watts Link setup.


The technology story continues inside, with active safety systems and driver aids including autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assist, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, automatic headlights with high-beam assist, rain-sensing wipers, tyre pressure monitoring, keyless entry with push-button start and automatic emergency services notification if airbags are deployed.


An 8.0-inch touchscreen provides reversing camera visuals and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring plus DAB+ digital radio reception and Ford’s Sync3 user interface with conversational voice commands. Audio is piped through a 10-speaker B&O Play premium sound system with 10 speakers including subwoofer.


Up front are Recaro sports seats with leather and suede upholstery, while contrast-stitched leather is applied to the flat-bottomed steering wheel, handbrake and gear selector. Flashes of red and carbon-look trim complete the interior’s performance-oriented treatment. A full-size spare wheel is provided beneath the 311-litre boot.


Exterior paint options comprise Performance Blue, Frozen White, Magnetic, Moondust Silver, Race Red, Shadow Black and Silver Fox, with premium finishes attracting a $650 premium. The only other cost option is a $2500 fully opening panoramic sunroof.


Ford Australia has not yet indicated fuel consumption figures for the Fiesta ST, but in European trim it consumes just 4.8 litres per 100km on the combined cycle, can shut down one of its three cylinders under light-load running and includes a petrol particulate filter.


The Fiesta range has a five-star Euro NCAP rating and the ST comes with six airbags including full-length side curtains.


In Europe, the Fiesta range includes the jacked-up Active crossover and luxuriously appointed Vignale.

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