Parkers overall rating: 4.8 out of 5 4.8

The Parkers VerdictShould you buy a Ford Fiesta ST?

Yes, it's a corker! A former Parkers Car of the Year winner, the Ford Fiesta ST displays a staggeringly broad range of abilities and sense of outright fun that belie its modest price tag. The VW Up GTI and Suzuki Swift Sport may be cheaper, but neither can challenge the Fiesta ST for the title of best small hot hatchback.

Heavily based on Britain’s best-selling car, it makes light work of everyday driving and, in ST-3 spec, comes with most of the in-car technology you’ll ever need. Find an exciting piece of road, however, and the Fiesta ST transforms into a thrill-a-minute sports car. Devilishly agile and more than capable of embarrassing a far pricier supercar on a narrow, bumpy road, its ability to put a smile on your face is unmatched in this price range.

Its ability isn’t a result of a dual personality toggled by various drive modes however, instead the Fiesta ST always feels raring to go, yet reigned in enough to make it usable on an everyday basis. You’re always aware, however, that the fun is only a prod of the throttle pedal or turn of the steering wheel away.

Our long-term test car does mega miles during the week (averaging around 43mpg) and although the firm ride won’t be to everyone’s tastes, it seldom feels unnecessary or over the top. And while when it came out, the three-cylinder engine may have caused controversy among many enthusiasts, there’s no doubt that it’s now one of the Fiesta ST’s strongest assets. Powerful, flexible and frugal, it feels exceptionally well-matched.

For those in a position to buy the Fiesta ST, the ST-3 version is generously equipped and adds to the car’s range of abilities, yet many buyers will likely see no point in going any higher than ST-2. Either way, the optional Performance Pack is absolutely essential and should be the first thing you look for if buying used.

In reality, we’d struggle to see how many owners will take advantage of the adjustable suspension on the Performance Edition, chiefly due to the need to remove the wheel each time in order to access the settings. If you must have a Fiesta ST in orange - and some of us would – this makes that decision for you, but you’d be better off simply buying a Fiesta ST with the Performance Pack and perhaps consider Mountune for any performance upgrades.