Ford Fiesta ST
The Ford Fiesta ST is in a class of its own – and better value for money than its key rivals
This has been an epic year for hot hatch fans, with a raft of new arrivals hitting the showrooms, wearing evocative badges such as GTI, Renaultsport, Nismo and ST.
However, what could have been a difficult decision was made easy by the ability of our winner. The Ford Fiesta has rewritten the supermini rule book, and the new ST well and truly delivers on the promise of the standard car.
As you’d expect, it comes with all of the usual fast-Ford additions – a gaping front grille, tea-tray rear spoiler and heavily bolstered Recaro seats. Getting the visuals right is the easy bit, though. It’s what the Fiesta ST does once it’s on the move that really cements its status as the Best Hot Hatch of 2013.
The turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine is a crucial ingredient. It produces a heady 180bhp (200bhp for short durations with overboost) – enough for a 0-62mph time of 6.9 seconds. The Ford is even better in corners, where its alert responses, staggering grip and beautifully judged steering combine to thrilling effect.
Its compact dimensions inspire huge confidence on narrow country roads, and the growling soundtrack also helps to put a smile on your face. It all makes for a really absorbing drive.
Given its talents, we’d be prepared to pay a premium for the Ford over its Renaultsport Clio and Peugeot 208 GTi rivals, but the most amazing thing about the new Fiesta ST isn’t its fantastic chassis or its brilliant engine – it’s the fact that it undercuts these cars by around £2,000. That’s why the Ford Fiesta ST is the best performance car per pound in the world.
OUR CHOICE: ST-2 (£17,995)There’s only one engine option and two trim levels, and we reckon the ST-2 spec strikes the ideal compromise between affordability and equipment.
Ford Focus ST
IT’S been knocked off the top spot by its little brother, but the Focus ST is still a class act. It blends scorching pace and agile handling with everyday versatility and a bargain price tag.
VW Golf GTI
IF you prefer your pocket-rocket thrills in a more mature and grown-up package, look no further than the Golf GTI. Now in its seventh generation, it’s quick and agile, with top-notch refinement, a practical cabin and low running costs.
- 1Introduction18 class winners, 36 commended cars, 8 Special Awards and the 2013 Auto Express Car of the Year – it's all here
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- 4Best SuperminiThe Ford Fiesta wrestles its way back onto the top of the podium after last year's loss to the 208
- 5Best Compact Family CarThe SEAT Leon fights off its fellow VW Group rivals to take the gold medal in one of the most competitive classes around
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- 7Best Estate CarOffering peerless practicality, huge value for money and attractive lines, the Skoda Octavia is the best Estate on the market
- 8Best Five-Seat MPVFord's innovative small MPV pips its big brother – the C-MAX – to the Best Five-seat MPV award
- 9Best MPVFor the third year in a row, the SEAT Alhambra wins the Auto Express Best MPV award
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- 11Best Compact SUVThe Range Rover Evoque is one of the most striking cars on the road – but it's also more than just a pretty face
- 12Best Large SUVThe talented Santa Fe is one of the best models Hyundai has ever produced
- 13Best Hot Hatch - currently readingThe Ford Fiesta ST is in a class of its own – and better value for money than its key rivals
- 14Best CoupeThe brilliant Porsche Cayman pips its big brother - the 911 – and three-time winner the Peugeot RCZ to the Best Coupe prize
- 15Best RoadsterThe new Porsche Boxster is so good it makes you question why anyone would every buy a 911
- 16Best ConvertibleWith funky looks, premium quality and low running costs – frivolity has never been so sensible. Or so desirable
- 17Best Pick-upWith decent handling, comfort levels and build quality, the VW Amarok is a cut above its rivals
- 18Best Compact Executive CarThe 3 Series continues its undisputed reign as king of the compact executive class
- 19Best Executive CarBMW 5 Series fends off some impressive German rivals to take the executive class crown
- 20Best Luxury CarAs a 4x4, an SUV and a luxury car, the Range Rover is jack of all trades. But it's a master of all trades, too
- 21Performance Car of the YearThe entertaining GT 86 outguns a host of big-name sports cars to take Performance Car of the Year
- 22Design Award The latest incarnation of the iconic Range Rover is voted by Auto Express readers as the best designed car of 2013
- 23Green AwardThe Vauxhall Ampera's innovative range-extending powertrain wins it our Green Award
- 24Van of the YearOur Van of the Year is hi-tech, practical and the first van in its class to get a five-star crash test rating
- 25Safety AwardThe Volvo V40 is probably the safest car ever made, and a worthy winner of our Safety Award
- 26Driver Power AwardThe Japanese premium brand has reclaimed its Driver Power top spot for the first time in four years
- 27Hall of FameBMW board member inducted into the Auto Express Hall of Fame