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.

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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.

Commended 

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.

Best Coupe

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