This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Ford Fiesta ST review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Only one engine is available in the Fiesta ST, but unlike similar cars such as the Vauxhall Corsa VXR, Ford has stuck to a non-turbocharged unit, opting for a 2.0-litre that produces 150bhp. It won’t grab any headlines and with a 0-60mph time of 7.9 seconds it’s not as quick as other small hot hatches, but on the move it certainly doesn’t feel sluggish and the eager engine is happy to be pushed hard – which it needs to be in order to get the best from it.

It lacks low down grunt and there’s no characterful engine or exhaust note as you’d expect. Unfortunately it’s fairly noisy at high revs too, which can become tiring on long motorway trips and although the gearbox is slick and snappy – it’s only a five-speed. In 2008 Ford introduced a series of factory-approved upgrade packs that include engine management tweaks and a performance exhaust.

Two options are available, boosting power to 165bhp or 185bhp and each can be fitted to new or used cars. Best of all they don’t affect the existing manufacturer warranty and come with a year’s cover.

This is the Fiesta’s forte – it builds on the strength of the standard car which is enjoyable to drive, adding extra poise and agility. The sharp and responsive steering makes it hugely involving to drive and there’s plenty of feedback from the road. The downside to this is that there can be noticeable vibration through the steering column over rough roads, but traction out of corners is impressive as is the sheer amount of grip.

It remains composed and well balanced through bends, even in the wet, while the brakes are strong too. It’s not a relaxing car to drive but it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.