First Drive

Ford Fiesta ST Edition 2020 UK review

What’s it like?

As fantastic as ever. More so, even, thanks to that new suspension. There are 12 bump and 16 rebound settings, with the former being adjusted using a rotary knob at the bottom of each shock and the latter via knob at the top of each shock. You can reach the tops of the front struts by lifting the bonnet, but you’ll have to lift the car up and take the wheels off to get at the rest. That seems a bit of a faff but at least it feels more in keeping with the general ethos of this car than it does on, say, a Polestar Engineered Volvo with its trick Ohlins dampers.

Regardless, our test car’s set-up seemed pretty spot on. It still felt firm and its body movements were kept pretty strictly in check. But this control was nonetheless underwritten by a level of pliancy that I’m not sure I’ve experienced in a Fiesta ST before. The regular car can be quite savage in its ride over bumpier bits of road. This one felt far less agitated at speed and considerably comfier as a result. Granted, it’s still pretty unrelenting at lower speeds, but a bit of aggression comes with the territory in cars like this, so I’m not going to complain too much.

Particularly when it drives the way it does. It remains as responsive, agile and incisive as ever, so on a tight, narrow B-road, it is just incredible amounts of fun. I’d go so far as to say that performance cars like this are, in fact, the easiest to get excited about driving quickly in this day and age. I drove a McLaren 620R immediately before getting in the Fiesta and I wasn’t quite as eager to get going in that as I was in the dinky little Ford. Admittedly, a lot of that had to do with the fact that wet roads and the Macca’s cold Trofeo R tyres have the potential to mix about as well as water on an oil fire, but there’s the question of performance accessibility, too.

You’d never get near the 620R’s limits on the road, but the Fiesta’s are within pretty easy reach. You can really interact with its engine and chassis in a way that you just can’t in so many supercars and sports cars these days. That fact alone goes a considerable way to justifying its £27k price. And so, too, does the fact that you can now switch driving modes via a button on the steering wheel, rather than the harder-to-find centre console button that appears in the standard Fiesta ST.

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