The 2020 Ford Fiesta ST is go and we’ve got the Australian prices, specs and even servicing costs.
The Ford Fiesta ST is in my top five favourite cars ever. The last one had a slick gear change, torquey turbo engine and a sublime chassis. It even looked alright, although the interior was a mess of buttons and some people (absolutely not me) complained about the front seats being too high.
I loved it despite its flaws and the fact the gap between second and third was too big and the engine didn’t have enough revs. Once you were in the flow, though, it was magical. All the grip in the world wet or dry, sharper than the also-excellent 208 GTi (Edition Definitive excepted) and less sledgehammery than the Polo GTI.
The new 2020 Ford Fiesta ST is almost here, fully-loaded (and loaded for bear) and is shaping up to be a damn fine hot hatch.
Look and feel
There’s an obvious change and that’s the extra set of doors. The old Fiesta ST was three-door only in Australia (the Americans got a five door, which we should have had) but it’s also a nicer-looking car.
If you’re not paying attention it looks a lot like the new Focus which I rather like despite the rude complaints that it’s “derivative”. The front end is still a bit trouty like the old one, which I find endearing but I do accept it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.
As we’re not getting the rest of the Fiesta range, what you see here is all we’ll see here in Australia.
The interior is also a vast improvement on the old car’s. The Recaro seats are back but everything else is new. The big screen brings the car bang up to 2020-spec with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with an in-built sat nav and DAB. The ten speaker stereo comes from B&O. Tasty.
Oh, yeah, and it’s got five doors now. Did I mention that? Even the boot is bigger by 21 litres. Part of that extra space comes from a bigger, longer body (93mm longer at 4068mm) rather than an increase in wheelbase (2493mm, only a mm or so in it).
There is also a stack of safety gear. Along with the usual airbags, ABS and traction and stability controls, you get AEB, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, reversing camera and tyre pressure monitoring. And LED headlights, which make all the difference at night. Ford’s SYNC3 system will also automatically call the fuzz and the ambos if you have a stack.
Chassis and Drivetrain
The new engine is a spicy version of the Blue Oval’s 1.5-litre three-cylinder EcoBoost engine. With 147kW and 290Nm, the front wheels get their power via six-speed manual gearbox. No overboots in this one, but I guess that’s what happens when you drop a cylinder.
Here in Australia we get the Performance Pack version (which will explain the price) which means we get launch control and a Quaife limited-slip diff as standard. Cor blimey.
Working with the torque vectoring and torque steer compensation systems, you activate the launch control with the steering wheel controls. Clutch in, bury the throttle and wait to dump the clutch when the car says to do so.
Keeping everything off the deck and flat in the corners is a set of Ford’s own force vectoring springs on the twist beam rear end. It’s a tricky system that Ford says uses “non-uniform, non-interchangeable, directionally-wound springs to apply vectoring forces to the rear suspension and enables cornering forces to travel directly into the spring, for increased lateral stiffness.”
Cool. Whatever all that means. Helpfully, Ford reckons that means sharper turn-in, weight saving and “no compromise on comfort, ride quality and refinement.” We have to drive one to find that out, so we’ll reserve judgement.
The dampers come from Tenneco, with twin-tube fronts and single tube rears with some clever valves delivering frequency-dependent damping. If you’re a bit of a Ford nerd, you’ll know Tenneco supplied the dampers for the Focus RS.
The ST rolls on 18-inch alloys (can’t say I like the look of them) with 205/40 Michelin Pilot Super Sports.
“We went through three times the normal number of suspension iterations to find a set-up that delivered the exciting driving experience demanded of an ST model.Leo Roeks, Director, Ford Performance Europe
How much and when?
There is a lot of gear in this new Fiesta ST. Performance Pack, more doors, more space, lots of safety gear and hopefully a return of that amazing driving experience. The old car kicked off at around $27,990 and crept up over time. But here’s the thing.
With all this gear, fully loaded 2020 Ford Fiesta ST is just $31,990. You get a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty, “Service Price Promise” (capped price servicing of $299 per 12 month/15,000km service) and a loan car the you take it in. That lasts for four years/60,000km. You also get roadside assist and sat nav updates.
I reckon that’s a dead-set bargain and if it’s as much fun as the last one, could be my 2020 Car of the Year. It’ll be here in Q1 2020.
Want to know what a much younger version of me thought of the old car?
Want to know what a slightly older version of me thought of it when up against the 208 GTi?
Peter Anderson is the Editor and founder of the theredline.com.au. He’s been writing about cars for years and finds it difficult to talk about anything else.