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Car of the Year Awards 2021: Best hot hatch for value

Hot hatches should make even the most mundane of drives feel magical. However, this ability to entertain shouldn't come at the expense of everyday usability...

Best hot hatch for value

Ford Fiesta ST 1.5 Ecoboost 200 ST-2 Performance Pack 3dr

What Car? Car of the Year 2021 logo with sponsor

As hot hatches get faster and more technologically advanced, the Ford Fiesta ST is a refreshing reminder that less is often more when it comes to making a car entertaining to drive.

Granted, with just a little 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine under the bonnet, the ST isn’t quite as quick as its main rival, the 2.0-litre Volkswagen Polo GTI, but that just means you can use every bit of its power without having to fear for your driving licence. And while the GTI comes only with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox, the ST’s tactile six-speed manual adds an extra layer of interaction to the mix.

Ford Fiesta ST - interior

And it’s on driver interaction that the ST excels. Chuck it into a bend and the rear end will pivot progressively around its front wheels so you can find a perfect line, and with the optional Performance Pack, a limited-slip diff gives you huge traction to help put the power down on the exit.

Meanwhile, its sensible side comes through in the fact that the well-equipped ST-2 is cheaper to buy than the GTI, while also being usefully more economical.

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