The MH Motoring Minute: Ford Fiesta ST200

The Ford Fiesta ST200 is the ultimate driver’s car for a bargain price.


Arthur Jones |

Review: 5 day test

Engine: 1.6 litre turbocharged petrol

Power: 143kW, 290Nm (ST200) 134kW, 240Nm (ST)

Price: R329 200 (ST Version)

I’ve got a confession to make – I can’t be objective about this car. I’m a fanboy of this spirited little hatchback – so much so that I bought my own one in Spirit Blue (the earlier Fiesta ST – not this limited edition ST200 version). The original ST is the one that’s still available now, the ST200 has sold out, and even worse, Ford isn’t bringing in the 2019 version of the Fiesta ST due to fuel quality and localisation issues. But – there’s hope. The ‘old’ Fiesta ST and this limited edition ST200 model are both simply brilliant. Here’s why.

Related: The MH Motoring Minute: Ford Ecosport

Purists will love both the ST and the ST200 for a number of reasons. Firstly, both cars don’t house huge engines – the ST200 offers a little more power, but otherwise are pretty much the same. The beauty behind this hot hatch success formula: a super-lightweight frame, a ridiculously smart and stiff chassis design, and an award-winning engine that feels like it was crafted in Valhalla – it revs and pulls beautifully. What got us addicted to this car was working the short, swift mechanical clicks in the six-speed manual gearbox, and hitting the right revs to get every cubic millilitre of performance. It becomes a game – and it’s one you’ll play every single day.

Related: The MH Motoring Minute: VW Polo GTi

The waspy-sounding engine notes are piped into the smart, well-appointed cabin for added aural encouragement, and the ST200 has more power and a stiffer ride than the original – but both come alive in tarmac twists, bends and climbs. They’re potent, agile little cars that want to be pushed, and they reward you with a closer feel to the road, and thanks to some black magic torque vectoring, this front-wheel drive hot hatch never runs out of sure-footed grip. The suspension of the ST200 is also especially good at handling less-than-perfect roads, and while it does offer a stiff ride, it isn’t at the expense of hurting your back, or causing teeth-chatter.

In terms of looks, the Storm Grey paint job, two-tone matte black alloys and red accents combine to create a striking, stylish look that’s a more mature take on the boy racer genre. The ST200 version also gets a reverse camera and parking sensors, LED taillights, two-tone seatbelts, and heated Recaro racing seats – which are a highlight. The only slight complaints: the interior dashboard and fascia needs an update, and it uses the older Sync system.

Related: The MH Motoring Minute: Ford Mustang 5.0 Convertible

To sum up – the only really bad news is that the new Fiesta ST isn’t coming. But you’ve got options: start looking for a second-hand ST200 (or ST) with low mileage right now – it’ll be one of the best buys you’ve ever made. And trust us – because that’s exactly what we did.

PROS: The visual combination of grey, red and matte black; Nifty overboost (11kW and 30Nm for up to 20 seconds); Three option traction control.

CONS: Only 160 units of this ST200 available – if you find a second-hand one – buy it; No 2019 Feista ST for South Africa. Outdated media system and dash.

WHAT WE LOVE: This small, but potent package is the most fun we’ve had in a hatchback and offers incredible value. Definite contender for our top ten garage.

RATING: 9 /10

COMPETITORS: VW Polo GTi (R381 500), Mini Cooper S (R428 300), Renault Cleo RS (R459 900)

READ MORE ON: adventure cars city adventures MH Drive motoring motoring minute review travel