New Ford Fiesta ST vs new Volkswagen Polo GTI

Is the Ford Fiesta ST still the affordable hot hatch to beat? This new one is here to prove that it is – but first it has to see off Volkswagen’s latest Polo GTI...

2018 Ford Fiesta ST rear seats

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

The beauty of hot hatchbacks is you get performance with practicality, and these two are no exception. There’s plenty of leg room for six-footers up front, and although the Polo has less head room than the Fiesta when fitted with a panoramic sunroof (£900), it’s far from tight.

In three-door form, getting in or out of the Fiesta’s rear seats is awkward, although a pricier five-door ST is also available. The Polo, meanwhile, comes with five doors by default. Both cars have adequate rear head and leg room, but the Polo’s wider bench means it’s better for seating three abreast.

2018 Volkswagen Polo GTI rear seats

The Polo GTI has a smaller boot than other Polos, due to the relocation of the battery from the engine bay to the back, so the Fiesta trumps it for luggage space. Both cars have 60/40 split-folding rear seats, the Polo’s lying flush with the boot floor when folded. Drop the Fiesta’s seats and they leave an awkward stepped floor. We’d suggest adding a variable-height boot floor (£75), which can smooth out this step.