Used Ford Fiesta ST review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Ford Fiesta ST covering the Fiesta Mk7 ST (2012-date)

Ford has consistently shown that mainstream needn’t mean ordinary, and the Fiesta ST proves the point. The brand was overwhelmed with orders as soon as it went on sale, and it’s easy to see why. Affordable, practical, sharply designed and more fun than many cars costing several times the price, the ST brought fun to the masses. Its desirability keeps residuals strong, but while you’ll need at least £10k, there are plenty to choose from; a third of all European sales have been in the UK. As with any performance car, you need to check a potential purchase hasn’t been abused, but buy a cherished one and you’ll have fun on tap for as long as you want it.

Ford is no stranger to budget performance cars; its XR and RS brands are rightfully revered by driving enthusiasts. While the manufacturer’s most extreme showroom models continue to wear RS badges, the ST brand has picked up where XR left off; we first saw it on the Focus ST of 2002, and since then we’ve had one desirable ST model after another.

Most accessible of the lot is the Fiesta ST, which offers all of the usual Fiesta brilliance but with added verve. Indeed, the ST is our favourite small hot hatch, due to its lively handling and scintillating performance. Even better is that while the baby sportster provides grin-inducing motoring, you don’t need deep pockets to buy or run one.

Models covered 

  • Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST (2012-date) - Hot hatch is as cost effective to drive as it is fun.

Ford Fiesta ST 

History

The original Fiesta ST arrived in November 2004 with a normally aspirated 2.0-litre petrol engine. Nearly seven years later, Ford revealed a thinly disguised concept of a new ST based on the all-new (seventh-generation) Fiesta. When the Mk7 ST was launched in spring 2012 it was fitted with a 1.6-litre turbo. At first there were ST-1 and ST-2 derivatives, but by spring 2013 there was also an ST-3. As with the cheaper editions, this came in three-door form only.

All STs use a 180bhp engine, but in June 2016 the hottest Fiesta ever was launched: the three-door-only, special-edition 197bhp ST200. The final revision to the range came in October 2016, when the ST-2 and ST-3 could be ordered with five doors.

Ford Fiesta Mk7 ST reviews

Ford Fiesta ST in-depth reviewFord Fiesta ST-2 reviewFord Fiesta ST-2 5-door reviewFord Fiesta ST-3 reviewFord Fiesta ST Mountune reviewFord Fiesta ST Mountune 230 reviewFord Fiesta ST200 reviewFord Fiesta ST long-term test review

Which one should I buy?

The ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3 are all mechanically identical, with a six-speed manual gearbox. There are two options for extra performance: the ST200 or a Mountune upgrade. The latter is offered by dealers, and boosts power to as much as 227bhp.

Entry-level cars have unique 17-inch alloys, along with DAB, bodykit and chrome-tipped twin exhausts. The ST also sits 15mm lower than the standard Fiesta, and gets a heated windscreen. The ST-2 adds projector-style headlamps with LED daytime running lights, part-leather heated Recaro seats, an upgraded hi-fi, privacy glass and keyless go. Meanwhile, the ST-3 has nav, cruise control, auto lights and wipers, climate control and electrically folding mirrors.

Alternatives to the Ford Fiesta ST

As with the Fiesta, the Renault Clio RS200 has a 1.6-litre turbo. However, whereas the Fiesta is manual only, the Renault just has a disappointing dual-clutch auto. The Suzuki Swift Sport gives reliable fun on a budget and it’s superb value, too, although its normally aspirated 1.6 lacks the ST’s performance.

A closer match is the Peugeot 208 GTi, with its 197bhp 1.6 turbo; its chassis trails the Fiesta’s but with prices from less than £9k, you don’t need deep pockets to buy one. The Audi S1 is also worth a look, but its prices are higher. And while the build quality is superb, the drive isn’t as invigorating as the Fiesta’s.

What to look for:

Seals

Door seals can come away from the frame, leading to wind noise at speed as well as water leaks into the Fiesta’s  cabin. Fitting new seals is the answer.

Visibility

The three-door configuration means thick rear pillars, so three-quarter visibility to the back isn’t very good. Scraped bumpers are far from uncommon.

Washers

Windscreen washers can stop working when the under bonnet hose gets trapped within the bonnet hinge, preventing the washer fluid from flowing. 

Filler cap

Fuel filler flaps can stick shut, making refuelling somewhat difficult. Greasing the seal is one cure, as is cutting back one of the plastic lugs on the retaining clip.

Interior

In regular form the Fiesta’s cabin is stylish, if rather busy. Most STs have three doors only, so rear access is compromised thanks to the chunky (but very comfortable) front sports seats. Once in there space isn’t especially tight; boot capacity is good too, at 290 litres, or 274 litres with a space-saver spare wheel.

Running costs

All Fiesta STs need to be serviced every 12 months or 12,500 miles. The first four visits cost £189, £199, £249 and £199 respectively, but once a car reaches its third birthday it can be maintained on the Motorcraft scheme, which cuts the cost of each service to a mere £149. However, this programme also reduces the amount of new parts that can be fitted, which is why sticking with the full schedule is recommended.

The brake fluid should be changed every two years at £40-£50, and fresh coolant is required every 10 years, at £70. Expect to pay £50 every three years to refresh the air-conditioning, while every decade or 125,000 miles the cambelt needs to be replaced, at a cost of £319. 

Recalls

The Fiesta Mk7 has been the subject of eight recalls so far, which equates to less than one a year since it was introduced. Three of those were aimed at diesels specifically; the other five were for Fiestas as a whole, but some involved only a small number of cars.

A seatbelt-anchoring problem affected just 15 Fiestas, while a mere 69 were involved in a detached-axle recall. Larger numbers were caught up in campaigns because of exhaust fumes entering the cabin, failed rear suspension mounting bolts and issues with back seatbelt buckles. 

Driver Power owner satisfaction

We don’t separate out the ST from other derivatives in Driver Power, but the Fiesta as a whole came 105th in the 2016 survey. The highest rating was for handling (an impressive 18th), while running costs and performance came in at 76th. Lowest score was for build quality, at 135th – disappointing.

Most Popular

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'
Toyota Mirai opinion
Opinion

'The hydrogen underdog disruptor is back in town'

Mike Rutherford says hydrogen-powered cars could still be a frequent sight on UK roads
13 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
New Porsche Macan facelift prototype review
Porsche Macan prototype - front
Porsche Macan

New Porsche Macan facelift prototype review

We get behind the wheel of a prototype version of the facelifted Porsche Macan SUV
13 Jun 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300
Car group tests

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport vs Cupra Leon 300

The capable Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport goes up against its new Cupra Leon 300 sibling in this hot hatch battle
12 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
New Vauxhall Astra prototype review
Vauxhall Astra prototype - front
Vauxhall Astra

New Vauxhall Astra prototype review

A new Vauxhall Astra is on the way and we've driven a prototype ahead of its official arrival
14 Jun 2021
New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp
Tesla Model S facelift - front
Tesla Model S

New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp

Range-topping version of the Tesla Model S officially unveiled, with a sprint time of 0-60mph in less than two seconds
10 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain
Lexus NX - front action
Lexus NX SUV

New 2021 Lexus NX arrives with firm’s first plug-in hybrid drivetrain

The new Lexus NX 350h features a standard hybrid set-up, while the NX 450h+ gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain capable of 40 miles of pure electric powe…
12 Jun 2021
'GM taking over Honda would be a disaster'
Honda opinion
Opinion

'GM taking over Honda would be a disaster'

Mike Rutherford is worried about Honda's future, despite its recent motorsport success
6 Jun 2021
Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features
Audi S5
Audi

Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features

Almost every car in Audi’s line-up has received a tweak, with major updates including Amazon Alexa integration and a Sonos stereo
11 Jun 2021