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The previous Fiesta ST was one of the most capable hot hatches of its generation, so no pressure on Ford's all-new pocket rocket, then.
8in touchscreen, heated seats, 17in wheels, climate control
ST-1, ST-2, ST-3
If the mere thought of owning a raucous hot hatch is enough to get you salivating, there's a long list of tasty candidates to choose from, including the Suzuki Swift Sport, Volkswagen's Polo GTI, Mini Cooper S and Peugeot 208 GTi.
If you really want the 'bangers and mash' of all hot hatches though, nothing short of the latest Ford Fiesta ST is going to cut it.
The biggest change to the new car lies under the bonnet, where Ford has replaced the old 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine with a spiced-up 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged unit that develops 197hp, and delivers a sparkling 0-62mph time of just 6.5 seconds.
What's more, it's full of frothy personality; willing, revvy and with a brilliant soundtrack, it's nothing short of an absolute joy to drive.
Of course, power is nothing without control and the ST delivers here, too.
If anything, it's an even sharper tool than before.
Yes, the ride is on the firm side but the interaction of precise steering, immense grip and a flat cornering attitude, make it an absolute hoot to barrel through a series of twisting bends, crunching your rib cage as you go.
The ST's exterior has also been tweaked to emphasis the sporting intentions. Utilising the latest Fiesta's body, it features a twin-bore exhaust, 17in alloys and more mesh detailing than the Regent's Park penguin enclosure.
Inside, you get a set of aluminium pedals, some ST font detailing and a pair of hip-hugging Recaro sports seats but predominately it's still very much a Fiesta.As a result, everything looks and feels solidly screwed together but some of the materials are a bit hard and scratchy, and the overall scheme isn't in the same league as the classy Polo GTI.
While ST-1 models get 17in wheels, a 6.5in touchscreen, air conditioning, keyless start, cruise control, Recaro seats, halogen headlights and selectable driving modes, ST-2s have flashier wheels, climate control, heated seats, privacy glass and a larger 8in touchscreen.
The ST-3 upgrades to 18in wheels, navigation, a TFT screen ahead of the driver, a parking camera, leather trim and a heated steering wheel, but it also adds over £2,000 to the P11D price.
Along with its tempting price, the ST is also reasonably economical, returning a claimed combined 47mpg and emitting just 136g/km of CO2, meaning it qualifies for the benefit-in-kind (BIK) band of 28% - not too bad for a pocket rocket.
The latest Fiesta ST really is all about the driving experience and, on that front, it delivers in spades. While a few marks are lost on the interior quality, its impressive whole-life costs and triple fun factor mean it's by far the best hot hatch in its class.
Ford Fiesta Hatch 3Dr 1.5T EcoBoost 197hp ST-2 6Spd
On saleJuly 2018
Residual value 41.3%
Service, maintenance and repair £2,291
Cost per mile 52.0p
Fuel consumption 47.1mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 136g/km (28%)
BIK 20/40% a month £83/£166
Boot space331/1,039 litres
Engine size/power 1,497cc/197hp
Fantastic driving experience, Recaro seats, great external visuals,