It will soon be introducing the latest Fiesta, but before the current model says goodbye, the Blue Oval has given its firecracker ST a fitting farewell. I got behind the wheel of this pocket rocket known as the ST200.
The ST200 just so happens to be the most powerful Fiesta ever made, and will be limited to 160 units locally. So what is special about it? For starters, it features a fl at grey colour paint job known as Storm Grey. It also gets a set of unique 17-inch matte black alloy wheels with silver detailing, a 15mm lowered ride height, red brake calipers on all four corners and full LED headlights.
I must say, I do like it. It really looks like a naughty little car and this image is enhanced further by the already flared wheel arches, sporty bumpers, side skirts and equally unique three-door body configuration. While the regular ST has served as the benchmark within the junior hot hatch segment, the ST200 takes this approach one step further.
It is a fun and engaging car to drive, an experience literally boosted by a 149kW/290Nm version of the standard model’s 134kW/240Nm 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine. Mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and weighing only 1 163 kg, the ST200 makes for a sensation hard to match, helped further by and overboost function that takes power up to 160kW/320Nm for some 20 seconds. Top speed is rated at 230 km/h and 0-100 km/h in a mere 6.5 seconds.
It’s not all thumbs up though and one only starts noticing the flaws when you get inside. Sure the ST200 has Recaro sports seats and ST 200 badging on the dashboard, but it also features hard plastics on the doors and centre console. I also noticed a few inconsistencies when it came to spacing between different materials on the dashboard, things that just would not be acceptable on a German competitor. Another thing I’m happy about is that the replacement Fiesta is bringing an updated infotainment system.
Revealing its age the most, the ST200 still makes use of the old SYNC unit which features a really small screen and somewhat dated user interface. Despite the imperfections found inside, the ST200 still offers an acceptable interior with space for your friends. This car is about the drive and it is one enjoyable drive at that.
Consulting with editor Sean Nurse, we concluded that the ST200, although not perfect remains, an absolute treat to drive. It might not be as clinical as the Volkswagen Polo GTI or as stylish as the Renault Clio RS, but it does offer a fuss free, honest and enjoyable drive. The steering is razor sharp, which gives you the confidence to stick it into a corner, while the hard ride is a result of a stiff chassis and suspension designed for no-compromise handling.
It’s massively entertaining to drive and in a world hell bent on taking away the art of driving, it’s nice to know that a car like the ST200 exists. It’s like the runt of the pocket-rocket litter and I, along with my colleagues, adore it, even though it costs R339 900.