The company’s first performance car with a three-cylinder engine!

The seventh-generation Ford Fiesta was launched in the summer of 2016 and arrived in dealerships for the 2017 model year. It’s been less than a year since the new hatchback broke cover, and Ford already launched the performance-oriented ST version. Unveiled ahead of the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, the new hot-hatch sports the same styling language as the standard model, but boasts a more aggressive exterior package and an interior that stands out by means of badge-specific features and extra standard equipment.

The ST was also redesigned under the hood, where the previous four-cylinder engine was replaced by a three-pot unit. The new ST also features three drive modes, a first for the nameplate, and various modification to the chassis. “Our next generation Fiesta ST is true to the philosophy of delivering cutting-edge technology to enhance every facet of the responsive Ford Performance chassis and powertrain,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “With selectable Drive Modes and an all-new EcoBoost engine delivering an unprecedented combination of performance and fuel-efficiency, the new model will deliver the most versatile, fun, engaging and rewarding Fiesta ST driving experience yet.”

Continue reading to learn more about the Ford Fiesta ST.

Exterior

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Ford Focus ST
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2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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2015 Ford Focus ST
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Comparison New Fiesta ST vs Old Fiesta ST

Much like it’s predecessor, the third-gen Fiesta ST is a slightly beefed-up version of the standard model. As a result, it sports all the improvements we saw on the regular 2017 Fiesta, including the new grille and swept-back headlamps that give the hatchback a frowning appearance. Already sportier than the outgoing model, the new Fiesta gets even more aggressive with the ST package, which adds a honeycomb mesh to the grille and black foglamps surrounds to the bumper.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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Much like it's predecessor, the third-gen Fiesta ST is a slightly beefed-up version of the standard model.

Onto the sides, the ST is pretty much identical to the regular model, save for the exclusive 18-inch wheels with a funky design and a grey finish. The same goes for the rear end, which gets only a slightly larger roof spoiler, a diffuser like element with twin exhaust in the bumper, and an "ST" badge on the tailgate. Finally, Ford also added Liquid Blue, the same hue seen on the Focus RS, to the color palette.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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Granted, the ST cannot brag about too many extra features compared to the standard Fiesta, but the package is very similar to the outgoing model. It might not be as aggressive as the Focus RS, but I has just enough to stand out. And besides, the ST is supposed to be more of a sleeper rather than an in-your-face kind of car.

Previous Ford Fiesta ST New Ford Fiesta ST
Wheelbase (Inches) 98.0 98.2
Length (Inches) 160.1 TBA
Height (Inches) 57.2 TBA
Width – Excluding Mirrors (Inches) 67.8 TBA
Width – Including Mirrors (Inches) 77.8 TBA
Track front/rear (Inches) 57.7/57.0 58.9/57.4

COMPETING DESIGNS

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI High Resolution Exterior
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Based on the latest Polo that share many styling cues with the larger Golf, the new GTI is more aggressive than ever

When it comes to performance cars, the subcompact hatchback segment is rather underpopulated, and as of September 2017 there are only a few options available. One of them is the Volkswagen Polo GTI, which has been redesigned for the 2018 model year. Based on the latest Polo that share many styling cues with the larger Golf, the new GTI is more aggressive than ever. The standard Polo design has been enhanced by more aggressive bumpers, a red stripe and badge on the front grille, unique wheels, and a diffuser-like element around back. Styling-wise, it’s not as dull as its predecessor, but it’s still somewhat boring to look at due to its almost featureless side panels. By comparison, the Fiesta ST looks a lot more muscular. For this reason alone, I think that the new Fiesta ST is the more appealing option, but as always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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The Yaris GRMN is Toyota's first high-performance offering in this segment

The second option is the Yaris GRMN. While the Yaris nameplate has a few years behind, the GRMN version is brand-new and Toyota’s first high-performance offering in this segment. However, while new for 2017, the GRMN was actually launched alongside the facelifted Yaris, so the hatchback isn’t exactly new in terms of design. But that’s not to say that it can’t compete with the Polo GTI and Fiesta ST. Highlighted by a massive front grille and race-inspired rear diffuser with a central exhaust, the Yaris GRMN is quite sporty to look at, especially with the optional red and black graphics. The large roof wing and the redesigned, larger taillights give the GRMN’s rear end a menacing stance. If I were to choose between the three, I’d go with the Yaris because I think its exterior is a bit more exotic. I just like the large front grille and pointy nose and the diffuser that reminds me of Formula One cars. But on an objective note, each of the three cars have interesting styling cues of their own.

Interior

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Interior
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Naturally, the redesign also applies to the interior, which feels more modern and upscale. The dashboard was redesigned from scratch and the clean passenger side with the round A/C vents was replaced by a fancier, squared off outlet that extends toward the center stack for a fresh look. The center stack is also new, with the A/C vents that used to flank the controls and infotainment screen now moved below, toward the center console. The new steering wheel looks sportier, while the instrument cluster has an additional screen for vital data.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Interior
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The ST comes with Recaro seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and exclusive trim and upholstery.

A revised Ford SYNC 3 entertainment enables the driver to control audio, navigation and connected smartphones using voice commands. The system is also compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and is supported by floating, tablet-inspired touchscreens up to eight inches in size that can be operated using pinch and swipe gestures. Ford also offers a B&O PLAY Sound System for a high-quality audio experience.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Interior
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2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Interior
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Ford promises a greater variety of interior trim and personalization options.

In addition to all of the above, the ST comes with Recaro seats, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and exclusive trim and upholstery. What’s more, Ford promises a greater variety of interior trim and personalization options than ever before. Customers will be able to choose from a range of trim elements for the gear lever, steering wheel, door pulls and decorative dashboard spear, as well as select from distinctive styling packs. Unfortunately, extensive information about any of these has yet to be released.

But even so, the new cabin is a significant departure from the previous model and each and every new feature makes the Fiesta ST a much more attractive proposition.

Previous Ford Fiesta ST New Ford Fiesta ST
Headroom front/rear (Inches) 39.1/37.2 TBA
Legroom front/rear (Inches) 42.2/31.2 TBA
Shoulder room front/rear (Inches) 52.7/49.0 TBA
Hip room front/rear (Inches) 50.6/49.2 TBA
Passenger Volume (cu ft) 85.1 TBA
Cargo Volume (cu ft) 10.1/25.4 TBA

THE COMPETITION

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Interior
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2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI High Resolution Interior
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But much to Volkswagen's credit, the new Polo GTI is indeed a more premium proposition

Most considered the previous Polo to be a bit more upscale than the Fiesta, but this wasn’t exactly. Sure, Volkswagen’s cabin felt solid and the fit and finish was good, but there wasn’t a noticeable difference in terms of materials, as most elements were made from cheap-looking plastic, just like in the old Fiesta. The styling was pretty old too, especially the cluttered center stack and the cheap-looking door panels. But much to Volkswagen’s credit, the new Polo GTI is indeed a more premium proposition. The stylish dashboard, the large infotainment screen, the digital instrument cluster, and the flat-bottom steering wheel give the German hatchback a more upscale look. Other cool features include the "Clark" plaid pattern on the seats, the optional leather upholstery, and the red detailing on various elements. The GTI is also loaded with tech, including Front Assist monitoring, City Emergency Braking, Pedestrian Monitoring, Adaptive Cruise Control, Stop & Go, and Blind Spot Detection. Granted, some of these are optional, but it’s nice to have access to most of the tech available with larger Volkswagen vehicles.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST
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2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN High Resolution Interior
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The Yaris GRMN, on the other hand, isn't as well equipped or as fancy as the Polo GTI

The Yaris GRMN, on the other hand, isn’t as well equipped or as fancy as the Polo GTI. Sporting minor improvements that came with the facelifted Yaris, including a revised dashboard and new upholstery, the GRMN keeps things much simpler in the technology department. However, there is a new 4.2-inch instrument cluster to talk about, as well as a pair of sports seats specifically designed for this car, a leather steering wheel borrowed from the Toyota GT 86, and aluminum pedals. But while it might not be as appealing as the Fiesta ST and Golf GTI inside the cabin, the Yaris GRMN makes up for it under the hood. But more on that below.

Drivetrain

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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The previous 1.6-liter, EcoBoost four-cylinder was replaced by a 1.5-liter, EcoBoost three-pot.

The really big news lurks under the hood, where the previous 1.6-liter, EcoBoost four-cylinder was replaced by a 1.5-liter, EcoBoost three-pot. The switch makes the Fiesta ST the first ever Ford Performance model to use a three-cylinder engine. However, it’s not exactly surprising given that the most powerful Fiesta model uses a 1.0-liter three-banger.

But despite using a smaller engine with less cylinders, the new Fiesta ST is just about as powerful as the outgoing model. The turbocharged unit cranks out 197 horsepower and 214 pound-feet of torque, which is identical to the previous, limited-edition ST200. There’s no word whether the new engine has an overboost function, but if it does, expect output to jump to more than 210 horsepower. For reference, the ST200 was rated at 212 horses with overboost.

As far as performance goes, Ford anticipates a 0-to-62 mph acceleration of 6.7 seconds, making the new Fiesta ST as quick as the outgoing model.

The new Fiesta ST will be a lot more fun to drive thanks to its selectable drive modes.

But while power and acceleration remained unchanged, the new Fiesta ST will be a lot more fun to drive thanks to its selectable drive modes. Also a premier for the Fiesta, the drive modes enable engine, steering, and stability controls to be configured to Normal, Sport and Track settings.

In Normal mode, engine mapping, traction control, electronic stability control, exhaust sound, and electronic power assisted steering are set to deliver natural responsiveness and a connected feel, both ideal for day-to-day driving. In Sport mode, engine mapping and throttle pedal response are sharpened, while EPAS settings are adjusted to deliver more feedback and finer control for fast road driving. The active noise control valve opens intensifies the sporty exhaust note and engine noise within the cabin. When Track mode is activated, all vehicle dynamics features are tuned for the fastest possible lap times, while traction control is disabled and ESC interventions are set to wide-slip mode for spirited driving. As the name suggests, this is the setting to use if you want to put the Fiesta ST through its paces on any race track.

The 1.5-liter EcoBoost also features a new combination of port fuel injection and direct fuel injection.

The 1.5-liter EcoBoost also features a new combination of port fuel injection and direct fuel injection that helps deliver high power and responsiveness alongside reduced carbon-dioxide emissions. Ford also speaks of increased fuel efficiency under light engine loads, but doesn’t give actual figures. The all-aluminium engine also features an integrated exhaust manifold that improves efficiency by helping the engine reach optimal temperatures faster. It also delivers torque more rapidly by reducing the distance exhaust gases travel between cylinders and turbocharger. Additionally, the cylinder deactivation system, a first for a three-cylinder engine, further reduces CO2 emissions. And yes, this means that at times the Fiesta ST uses only two cylinder to move about. Just like the Fiat 500 and Alfa Romeo MiTo with the 0.9-liter Twin-Air turbo or the Indian-made Tata Nano.

Previous Ford Fiesta ST New Ford Fiesta ST
Engine 1.6-liter 16-valve Ti-VCT Turbocharged Direct Injection EcoBoost® I-4 1.5-liter, EcoBoost three-cylinder
Horsepower 197 HP @ 6,000 RPM 197 HP
Torque 202 LB-FT @ 4,200 RPM 214 LB-FT
Transmission 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
0 to 60 mph 6.7 seconds 6.7 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph 130 mph
Fuel economy city/highway/combined 26/33/29 TBA

COMPETING PERFORMANCE

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI AutoShow High Resolution Exterior
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The Polo GTI uses a more traditional four-cylinder engine

When it comes to drivetrains, the Polo GTI uses a more traditional four-cylinder engine. However, while the previous generation had a 1.8-liter under the hood, the new GTI gets its juice from a bigger, 2.0-liter unit. The powerplant is rated at 197 horsepower and 240 pound-feet, which isn’t much of an increase compared to the previous model. Output ratings are identical for the Polo and Fiesta, but the GTI wins in the torque department thanks to an extra 26 pound-feet. When it comes to performance, both cars need 6.7 seconds to hit 62 mph, but Volkswagen provides the higher top speed. While the new Polo GTI is good for a solid 147 mph, the Fiesta ST tops out at only 130 mph.

2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN AutoShow High Resolution Exterior
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The Yaris' 1.8-liter four-cylinder is augmented by a Magnusson Eaton supercharged

The Yaris GRMN also uses a small-displacement engine, but the 1.8-liter four-cylinder is augmented by a Magnusson Eaton supercharged. The four-banger delivers a solid 209 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, which makes it the most powerful car in this comparison. Torque is significantly lower than the competition, but this doesn’t stop the Yaris GRMN from hitting 62 mph in an impressive 6.3 seconds. That almost a half-second quicker than both the Fiesta ST and the Polo GTI. Top speed is limited to 143 mph, more than the Ford and almost on par with the Volkswagen. All told, while the Yaris GRMN isn’t all that impressive in terms of interior design and features, it’s the number one choice as far as performance goes.

Prices

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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Pricing will be announced at a later date, but I’m not expecting the new Fiesta ST to cost a lot more than the outgoing model. With the current ST retailing from $21,515, U.S. customers should be able to buy the upcoming model for around $22,300 before options. Likewise, the hatchback should see a mild increase from £18,145 to around £19,000 in the United Kingdom. On the other hand, expect to pay more than before for a loaded model due to the numerous customizing options Ford will offer for the new Fiesta ST.

COMPETING PRICES

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI High Resolution Exterior
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2018 Toyota Yaris GRMN High Resolution Exterior AutoShow
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Available in the five-door configuration only, the new-generation Polo GTI is expected to fetch as much as the new Fiesta ST in base trim. This means £19,000 to £20,000 in the United Kingdom. The Polo isn’t yet available in the United States and we might not see it on this side of the pond anytime soon.

Also not available in the U.S. (as of this writing), the Toyota Yaris GRMN retails from £26,295 in the United Kingdom. That’s a significant premium over the Polo GTI and Fiesta ST and it will be interesting to see whether Toyota will manage to steal a significant amount of customers from Volkswagen and Ford. Sure, it may have the more powerful engine and the faster 0-to-60 mph sprint, but for the price of a base Yaris GRMN you can get a Polo GTI with a few cool options.

Competition

Peugeot 208 GTi

2013 Peugeot 208 GTi High Resolution Exterior
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2013 Peugeot 208 GTi High Resolution Exterior
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Often overlooked in favor of the more popular Fiesta ST and Golf GTi, the Peugeot 208 GTi is a pretty solid choice in Europe. Based off the 208 that was introduced in 2012, the French hot-hatch is newer than the Polo and I’d say it’s more appealing when it comes to looks. While not as funky as the new Fiesta ST, the large grille with chrome inserts, the extremely short engine hood, and the sculpted sides give it a sporty character that its competitors can’t replicate. The interior isn’t bad either, with the multi-tier dashboard and the instrument cluster placed further behind the steering wheel making it stand out in any crowd. Drivetrain-wise, the 208 GTi is as potent as any proposition in this niche. Powered by a turbocharged, 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, it comes with 197 horsepower and 203 pound-feet on tap. All told, it’s as powerful as the Fiesta ST, but falls behind by a small margin in the torque department. Pricing starts from £20,950 in the U.K., and as you might have already guessed, you can’t buy it in the U.S.

Read our full review of the Peugeot 208 GTI.

Conclusion

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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I’ll be honest here, I’m not a big fan of the Fiesta’s new design and I think that the ST package doesn’t do all that much to turn the hatchback into a menacing presence. However, I think that the car has just the right degree of sportiness in its design and the fact that its looks are actually on the sleeper side of things makes it a solid option for people who want the extra performance without an exterior that screams for attention. With the Polo GTi getting a bit old in the tooth, the new Fiesta ST has a clear advantage on the market, especially since the Peugeot 208 GTi doesn’t matter much. But it remains to be seen what happens when the Toyota Yaris GRMN arrives in dealerships with the more powerful, supercharged engine.

  • Leave it
    • * Not a big fan of the frowning face
    • * Three-cylinder performance engine?
    • * The Yaris GRMN could be a big hit

Press Release

Ford Performance today announced the next generation Ford Fiesta ST, powered by an all-new three-cylinder, 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine.

Shown for the first time ahead of its global public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month, the next‑generation Fiesta ST will deliver 200PS, 290Nm of torque and anticipated 0‑62mph acceleration in 6.7sec.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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The third generation of Fiesta ST will be the first ever Ford Performance model powered by a three-cylinder engine, and the first Fiesta ST to feature selectable Drive Modes – enabling engine, steering and stability controls to be configured to Normal, Sport and Track settings for an optimised fun-to-drive experience in conditions from motorways to track days.

Drive Modes will also adjust Fiesta ST’s Electronic Sound Enhancement (ESE) technology and active exhaust noise control valve to deliver an even more satisfying driving experience. The technologies amplify the naturally sporty sound of the new 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine that also features Ford’s industry-first cylinder deactivation system for a three-cylinder engine, for further reduced CO2 emissions of an anticipated 114g/km.*

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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Available from launch in early 2018 in both three-door and five-door bodystyles, the next generation Fiesta ST will be offered with a greater variety of interior trim and personalisation options than ever before, with bold and distinctive exterior styling that includes a unique race-car-inspired mesh grille and exclusive 18in alloy wheels.

“Our next generation Fiesta ST is true to the philosophy of delivering cutting-edge technology to enhance every facet of the responsive Ford Performance chassis and powertrain,” said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe. “With selectable Drive Modes and an all-new EcoBoost engine delivering an unprecedented combination of performance and fuel-efficiency, the new model will deliver the most versatile, fun, engaging and rewarding Fiesta ST driving experience yet.”

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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All-new 1-5-litre EcoBoost engine

Part of Ford’s EcoBoost range of petrol engines that also includes the multi-award-winning 1.0‑litre EcoBoost, the all-new 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine uses technology including turbocharging, high-pressure fuel injection and Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing to deliver optimised performance and fuel efficiency.

The engine’s three-cylinder architecture delivers naturally high torque at low rpm. Performance is further boosted by a new turbocharger that uses an optimised turbine design to build boost pressure faster and minimise lag for a more responsive and fun driving experience.

A new combination of port fuel injection and direct fuel injection technology helps deliver high power and responsiveness alongside reduced CO2 emissions,* with a particular increase in fuel efficiency under light engine loads.

Ford’s new cylinder deactivation technology – first announced for the 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine and a world first for a three-cylinder engine – will further improve fuel efficiency for Fiesta ST customers without affecting performance by automatically stopping fuel delivery and valve operation for one of the engine’s cylinders in conditions where full capacity is not needed, such as when coasting or cruising with light demand on the engine. The technology can disengage or re-engage one cylinder in 14 milliseconds – 20 times faster than the blink of an eye – to seamlessly deliver full performance on demand.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Interior
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The all-aluminium engine also features an integrated exhaust manifold thatimproves efficiency by helping the engine reach optimal temperatures faster, and delivers torque more rapidly by minimising the distance exhaust gasses travel between cylinders and turbocharger. Gas particulate filter technology that reduces soot emissions will also feature.

New Drive Modes

Selectable Drive Modes add even more versatility for the next generation Fiesta ST, enabling drivers to optimise the driving experience to suit scenarios from school run to the race track:

In Normal mode, engine mapping, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), ESE, exhaust sound and electronic power assisted steering (EPAS) are configured to deliver natural responsiveness and a connected feel
In Sport mode, engine mapping and throttle pedal response are sharpened, and EPAS settings adjusted to deliver more feedback and finer control for fast road driving. The active noise control valve opens and ESE is adjusted to intensify the sporty exhaust note and engine noise within the cabin
In Track mode, all vehicle dynamics features are tuned for the fastest possible lap times, traction control is disabled and ESC interventions are set to wide-slip mode for hard circuit driving

The agile and responsive Ford Performance-tuned chassis will be supported by enhanced Torque Vectoring Control technology that improves road holding and reduces understeer by applying brake force to the inside front wheel when cornering. Three-mode ESC will enable drivers to choose between full system intervention; wide-slip mode with limited intervention; and full system de-activation.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Interior
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Greater personalisation

The next generation Fiesta ST will offer more personalisation options than ever before. Customers will be able to choose from a range of trim elements for the gear lever, steering wheel, door pulls and decorative dashboard spear, and select from distinctive styling packs.

The ergonomic Fiesta ST interior will feature supportive Recaro seats and a flat-bottomed steering wheel. Exterior colour options will include new Liquid Blue and the Fiesta ST will feature exclusive 18in alloy wheels.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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“Our ST models are designed to make a Ford Performance driving experience accessible to customers regardless of lifestyle,” said Matthias Tonn, Fiesta ST chief programme engineer. “With three- and five-door bodystyles and distinctive styling options that complement the model’s performance characteristics available from day-one, the next generation Fiesta ST will deliver a broader appeal for an even wider range of car-buyers.”

Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system will enable Fiesta ST drivers to control audio, navigation and connected smartphones using simple, conversational voice commands. Compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™, SYNC 3 is supported by floating, tablet-inspired touchscreens up to eight inches in size that can be operated using pinch and swipe gestures.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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The next generation Fiesta ST also will be offered with a high quality B&O PLAY Sound System for a high-end audio experience – among features Ford first announced last year for the next generation Fiesta.

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