Ford Fiesta | Six of the Best testimonial
Ford has confirmed that production of the mighty Fiesta will come to an end in 2023
By Matt Bird / Thursday, 27 October 2022 / Loading comments
Fiesta Zetec S Mk5, 2000, 94k, £2,490
The Zetec S could, maybe should, have been a fast Ford icon. Having denied fans a performance version of the Mk4 Fiesta – despite a fine chassis markedly improved from the sloppy Mk3 – the situation was rectified with the Mk5. Well, sort of. See, the Zetec S only ever got 102hp from its 1.6, when it could have handled much more. Think of how beloved the Puma 1.7 is with just a bit more punch – that could have been the Fiesta (needless to say many cars have been converted over time). Between FrankenFiestas, rust, and criminally low values, not many remain. This one needs some love but looks honest enough, with just the one previous owner apparently. You’ll not find a better (or cheaper) example of the humble fast Fiesta around – it’s for sale at £2,490.
Fiesta ST500, 2008, 61k, £5,250
The ST500 was a runout special for the Mk6 Fiesta ST, all of them black with decals. It didn’t gain any mechanical changes over the standard 150hp car, but their rarity makes ST500s quite prized a decade and a half later – it’s possible to pay £13k. Furthermore, while the ST was never quite in the same league as the contemporary Clio as a driver’s car (and some preferred the 1.6-litre Zetec S), it isn’t hard nowadays to see the old-school appeal of a big 2.0-litre four-pot up front, a manual gearbox and an eager chassis. Especially given the potential to liven up that Duratec with a fruity exhaust and naughty intake. Fast Fiestas can be many things, but they shouldn’t be mature. This one is £5,250 with just over 60,000 miles, so there’s plenty of loutish life left in it yet…
Fiesta Mk7 S1600, 2010, 74k, £4,495
Though this era of Fiesta is quite rightly best known for the class-leading ST, there were some great cars in the five years of Mk7 prior to its launch. Once more, the regular 1.6 Zetec S was a lovely little thing to drive, and the S1600 was more than just a rally car paint job. There were only 500, they were three-door only and it cost £1,500 more than a Zetec S – a proper old-school hot hatch, basically. With a new twin exhaust, revised intake and the ability to rev higher (6,800rpm instead of 6,500), power and torque were up 14hp and 6lb ft, to 134hp and 118lb ft. Not huge gains, perhaps, but they made the most of shorter ratios for the five-speed manual. A proper little tyke of a fast Fiesta, it was overlooked when new with the ST looming and rivals like the Swift Sport and Twingo 133 offering more for less. Now it looks like a very fun way to spend less than £5k.
Fiesta Mk7 ST200, 2017, 48k, £14,490
The S1600 arrived at the beginning of the glorious Mk7 story; the ST200 was its final chapter. Some way to bow out, too, with the spring and damper tweaks of the last few Mk7 STs combined with a shorter final drive and a bit more performance from the 1.6-litre Ecoboost: maximums of 215hp and 236lb ft meant a scrabble to 62mph in 6.7 seconds and a 143mph top speed, both improvements on standard. All 400 were Storm Grey, and priced at a chunky £22,745, though many saw it as a fitting farewell for a legendary hot hatch: a bit punchier, a bit friskier, just a little bit better than a brilliant fast Ford. The rep has kept residuals strong, too; this one has done almost 50k yet commands very nearly £15k. But with the Fiesta’s demise now confirmed, don’t be surprised if the special ones are coveted. And the ST200’s specialness is in no doubt at all.
Fiesta ST Edition, 2020, 29k, £21,499
Replacing the Mk7 ST was always going to be difficult, but the Mk8 handled the task with aplomb, despite being powered by a 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbo motor. It was fast, sounded great and handled brilliantly. It was undoubtedly a more mature experience than before, though. But anyone concerned about such matters was duly appeased by the 600-unit Performance Edition, with its rowdy orange paint, 15mm lower ride height and snazzy new wheels. Of course, there was more to the Edition than the pumpkin paint, with a standard Quaife limited-slip diff and adjustable coilovers at each corner. It meant cornering poise and panache that even the standard car couldn’t match, a proper hoot of a hot hatch. The Edition was so good, in fact, that Ford made more of them – the Edition in Azura Blue – and did the same for the Focus ST. Expensive when new (£26k) this one is £21,499 with 30k under its flow-formed wheels.
Healey Fiesta, 1978, 8k, £POA
There are rare fast Fiestas, and then there’s the Healey. Many of the specials made in the past half-century are scarce now, but the Healey has been unique the whole time – there was only ever one. Keen to boost the Mk1 Fiesta’s appeal in the USA, Ford employed the Healey brothers – Donald and Geoff of Austin Healey fame – to work their magic. They boosted power enormously, with an increased compression ratio, new pistons, racier cam and uprated carb taking output from 65hp to more than 100hp. Despite a proper overhaul including brakes, suspension and wheels, the fast Fiesta before the XR2 never went any further than this one-off. And America, unlike the UK, never quite took to the smallest Ford. We’ve featured this car before, but reiterate its singular status here. What better way to see out the Fiesta era?
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