Ford Fiesta ST 1.6 EcoBoost ST-3: Winter warmer

  • Some hot hatches don’t make perfect winter bedfellows – not so our Fiesta
  • Heated seats, Quickclear windscreen and superb traction make winter life easy
  • Spirit Blue paint (£495 option) even does a good job at hiding winter grime

Hot hatches are made for driving enjoyment, and there’s no better time to enjoy their handling and performance than mid-summer when the roads are dry and your line of sight is long. In other words, cold, frosty and dark winter days are not always natural habitats for such vehicles.

But life with our Ford Fiesta ST-3 is rather different - it looks after its owners when the mercury plunges too.

You see as standard the Fiesta ST (regardless of trim level) comes with Ford’s excellent Quickclear heated windscreen. When it’s frosty and the screen is iced-up, there’s no need to don gloves, grab your scraper or squirt de-icer – a press of a button is all that’s needed. Tiny electrical filaments within the screen, just like those you see on heated rear windows but thinner still, heat up and gently melt the ice.

Ford Fiesta ST blue

Once you’ve had such a system you’ll never want to go back to traditional screen-clearing. I’m already dreading next winter…

Ensconced inside, the Fiesta continues to take care of you with heated seats (standard on this and mid-spec ST-2), which appear to be the world’s fastest reacting bum-warmers ever. From my driveway to a main road is all of 500 metres, but by the time I’m there the seat base is already hot. Not mildly warm, not gently taking the chill off, but properly hot, and the backrest is the same – perfect for my occasionally achy back.  

Ford Fiesta ST heated seats

Its relatively small engine (1.6-litre turbocharged petrol) means the Fiesta gets up to operating temperature quickly, so you can make the most of the available performance sooner, plus the heater works faster too.

Despite our car’s Mountune upgrade, pushing power from 180bhp to 195bhp (or 200 to 215bhp on overboost, for a limited time period), traction is superb regardless of temperature. Winter tyres would improve this further, but on standard Bridgestone RE050A rubber the Fiesta rarely troubles its rather unobtrusive traction control system, and the finely-tuned throttle response makes it easy to modulate just how much acceleration you are asking for without troubling the traction control light.

Fiesta ST traction control

Talking of lights, winter has thrown up one of the few foibles with this car; the standard halogen projector style headlights – they’re just not as good as the Xenon headlights we’ve become used to on many other cars. EDC’s automatic headlight function, turning them on when it gets dark, seems confused too – lighting up its bulbs even on the brightest of days. Suppose it’s better than them not lighting up at all…

Fiesta ST lights

You’ll pay £495 for the Spirit Blue metallic paint, but so far it’s proved its worth; despite being battered by winter mud, rain, sleet, ice and general road grime for thousands of miles the Fiesta always looks bright and unsullied. Only up close do you notice the dirty streaks, while the Rado Grey wheels from the Style pack hide a multitude of brake dust and road grime sins too. 

So while the roads, and our typically British weather, might not be completely perfectly suited to hot-hatchery at the moment, there’s no dampening the Fiesta’s (or my) spirits.

 

Mileage: 6,959 miles (1,453 miles since delivery)           Economy: 35.2mpg