2019 Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition review: price, specs and release date

At £26,495, the Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition is easily the priciest version of Ford's little hot hatch, but is it also the best?...

2019 Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition driving

Priced from £26,495 | Release date Now

Before we get into what sets the Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition apart from other Fiesta STs, we’d best clear one thing up. No, we’ve not mis-typed, it really does cost £26,495. Or to put it another way, over £4000 more than the next most expensive hot Fiesta, the ST-3.

So, how does Ford justify such a hefty premium? Well, in addition to the climate control, sat-nav, rear-view camera and keyless entry and start the ST-3 is blessed with, the Performance Edition gets full LED headlights (£600 on the ST-3) and the ST Performance Pack (usually £925). 

The Performance Pack adds launch control for faster getaways and a shift light to tell you how late you can change up, but the main advantage is a limited-slip differential that boosts traction, especially off the line and in tight corners.

In addition, the Performance Edition gets a range of exclusive features, including lightweight 18in alloy wheels that save 7kg over the regular 18in rims and adjustable suspension that lowers the ride height by 15mm at the front and 10mm at the rear.

Now, if you’re expecting to flick a switch from inside the car to firm up or soften the suspension, think again. Instead, you have to manually tweak the dampers to suit your favourite road or indeed race track.

As for the engine, it's the same 197bhp turbocharged 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol unit that’s used in every other Fiesta ST.

2019 Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition driving

2019 Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition on the road

Don't go thinking that the lower ride height and uprated suspension make an already firm car borderline undriveable on a choppy B-road. Quite the contrary: the Performance Edition is actually the most supple version of the Fiesta ST.

Okay, it hasn’t suddenly turned into a miniature Rolls-Royce. But while you still feel the road’s topography through the base of your seat, the Performance Edition is much better at smoothing off the worst ruts and bumps, especially at mid to high speeds.

Ford must have sacrificed some sharpness, then, right? Absolutely not. The car is just as eager as cheaper Fiesta STs to turn in to bends and actually leans less. Plus, you can really feel the limited-slip differential digging in and generating great traction out of corners. The Fiesta ST is certainly more fun than the rival Volkswagen Polo GTI.

The only slight disappointment is the steering, which still doesn't give as much feedback as the previous Fiesta ST's and writhes in your hands as the differential does its thing.

It’s also worth pointing out that a few questionable adjustments to the suspension could absolutely ruin the handling if you’re not careful.

Ford Fiesta ST - interior

2019 Ford Fiesta ST Performance Edition interior

Apart from the flashes of bodywork around the window frames, there really is nothing to separate the Performance Edition from the ST-3 inside.

Fortunately, that means supportive Recaro bucket seats with plenty of adjustment and an intuitive – if not particularly attractive – infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, so we’re not complaining.

Should you want more detail about the quality, infotainment or practicality offered by the Fiesta ST, have a look at our comprehensive four-point review. Or to see how much you could save on a Fiesta ST without any haggling, check out our New Car Buying service.

Next: Fiesta ST Performance Edition verdict and specs >

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