Click on the banner above to see great used car deals
New Ford Fiesta ST vs used Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy: driving
The Fiesta ST is a great hot hatch. But for the same sort of money as a new one, you could have a two-year-old Megane RS with almost 100bhp more. So, which is the better buy?...
New Ford Fiesta ST vs used Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy – driving
Performance, ride, handling, refinement
Right, on to the ‘hot’ part of ‘hot hatch’ – performance and how they drive. Starting with the former, let’s talk about the Fiesta ST and its angry little 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine. It’s turbocharged to deliver an impressive 197bhp and 214lb ft of torque. Power goes to the front wheels only and helps the car accelerate from 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds.
The Megane RS 300 Trophy is also front-wheel -drive, as well as turbocharged, but it’s a rather different beast – a faster one. Under its bonnet, there's a punchy 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine able to produce 296bhp and 295lb ft of torque, resulting in a 0-60mph time of 5.7 seconds.
Regardless of the performance difference, if you put your right foot down in either car, it's likely to put a grin on your face. They both get six-speed manual transmissions and they're a joy to operate. The Fiesta ST’s is the best, with a short, precise shift, whereas the Megane RS’s feels slightly less fluid.
In the corners, the Fiesta ST is a riot, with quick steering, playful handling and confidence-inspiring grip. That's enhanced by our test car’s Performance Pack, which comes as standard with the ST-3 trim and gets you a limited-slip differential (LSD) capable of putting power down superbly, especially in the twisties. The Performance Pack also adds launch control to help you perform the perfect getaway, as well as shift lights to tell you when you’re about to hit the engine's limiter.
As soon as you hop in and begin driving the Megane RS, you’ll notice that it’s larger and heavier than the Fiesta ST. It has a few tricks up its sleeve to provide excellent agility, sharpness and control, though. Namely, it packs rear-wheel steering that, in Race mode, can make the rear wheels steer against the fronts right up to 62mph. Driving the car might take a while to get used to – from its firm suspension to super-fast steering – but it’s a very exciting and visceral experience.
The Fiesta ST also features rather firm suspension. Neither hot hatch is back-breaking by any means, but if comfort is a top priority, it’s best to look at alternatives, such as the Polo GTI.
New Ford Fiesta ST vs used Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy – costs
Fuel economy, car tax, reliability
Our free What Car? New Car Buying service can reduce the purchase price of the Fiesta ST-3 from £24,580 to £23,609. The Megane RS 300 Trophy comes in at a similar, though slightly higher, cost on the used market, at around £26,000 for a 2019 or 2020 example with less than 15,000 miles. Prices for new models start at £38,035.
When it comes to fuel economy, the Fiesta ST and its three-cylinder engine comes out on top. It averaged 41.1mpg during testing, while the Megane RS and its four-cylinder engine managed 32mpg. As both are petrol cars registered after April 2017, road tax costs £155 per year.
All new Fiesta STs will be covered by Ford’s three-year, 36,000-mile warranty. However, even at a year old, the Megane RS can beat that because it comes with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty from new.
The ST didn’t feature in our most recent What Car? Reliability Survey, but its standard counterpart did. The Ford Fiesta came 17th out of 21 vehicles in the small cars category. The Renault Megane didn’t feature in any capacity, but if we look at Renault as a brand, it ranked 30th out of 31 manufacturers. That disappointing result is made worse (for the purposes of this test) by the fact that Ford came 18th.
Best hot hatches 2021
What's the best hot hatch money can buy? Here we count down our current top 10 – and reveal the models that are best avoided
Renault Megane RS 300 Trophy long-term test review
The latest Renault Megane RS is one of our favourite hot hatches, but how easy is it to live with?