Best used hot hatcbacks
The Ford Fiesta ST is our best used hot hatchback of the year 2018
Best used hot hatchback: Ford Fiesta ST
Prices from: £6,000Our pick: Ford Fiesta ST-2 2015 (65), 55,000 miles, £6,500
The previous-generation Ford Fiesta ST was the best small hot hatch you could buy when it came out in 2013. Now it’s set to go down as one of the greatest cars in the class of all time. That’s especially true when you consider how many are on the used market, and how much cheaper they are now.
The ST is powered by a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine, delivering 180bhp through the front wheels, although 197bhp is available on ‘overboost’ for a few seconds when on full throttle.
In its transformation to ST, the Fiesta gained torque-vectoring tech, 15mm lower suspension and rear disc brakes. Then there are the Recaro sports seats on mid and higher trim levels and a fruity sports exhaust.
The result is a car that feels just as much at home in a supermarket car park as it does on a Welsh mountain road. There’s space for four people, and a 290-litre boot means no practicality disadvantage over a standard Fiesta. Drive carefully and even the engine’s fuel economy figure is respectable.
But the ST comes alive when you reach a great road and put your foot down. The engine is very punchy from low down but it still relishes revs, while it sounds great, too. There’s more than enough power to exploit the chassis, but not so much that it feels intimidating.
It’s the chassis that shines brightest, though. Its limits are raised dramatically over the standard car’s, but it’s pure fun to drive. The ST turns in sharply and you can change direction very quickly without upsetting the balance. The stiff suspension isn’t horrendously uncomfortable, while the firmer ride (but sublime damping at speed) is worth it for handling this good.
On the road: Superb handling and peppy performance from 1.6-litre turbo make the ST a great everyday hot hatch.
Interior: Equipment levels are good in the sporty Fiesta, while higher-spec cars come with satellite-navigation.
As with classics such as the Peugeot 205 GTi and Volkswagen Golf GTi, this Ford Fiesta ST will live long in people’s memories. We can’t think of a better all-rounder than the Ford that balances performance with practicality and price.
VW Golf GTI PP Mk7
You can pick up a Mk7 Volkswagen Golf GTI with the crucial Performance Pack (adding a clever front diff and bigger brakes) for as little as £13,000. The current Golf GTI looks barely any different from this pre-facelift car, so that’s a lot of metal for the money. It’ll also be more practical and usable every day than a Fiesta ST.
With an £11,500 budget you’ll be able to find a used BMW M135i, which is a fine left-field choice. It’s one of the only rear-wheel-drive hot hatches ever made, and with a muscular six-cylinder engine there’s significantly more grunt than our other picks. But high running costs are a consideration.
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