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Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Three Most Entertaining Ford Hatchbacks



Wazzup Pilipinas!

SUVs and crossovers may be the hot stuff in the USA right now and Ford, as well as many other automakers, may have officially stopped production of their once-popular hatchback nameplates.

Nevertheless, a thriving community of car enthusiasts persists, holding strong their passions for the many hot hatches of old and Ford’s Hatchbacks in particular. With Ford establishing an inhouse performance specialist team to work on certain vehicles, came about the existence of the Sport Technology (ST) and Rallye Sport (RS) badged versions of the familiar Ford Fiesta and Focus nomenclatures. This not only resulted in the creation of impressively performing hot-hatches with unmatch handling dynamics but also created a super affordable entry point to true driving enjoyment for all.

Though we won’t be seeing any new hatchbacks around, here we list the most acclaimed Ford hot-hatches that have been in recent times, in order of the level of driving enjoyment they deliver and in correlation with their affordability. Each model is compared alongside one of its top core competitors for a clearer illustration of their performance and value.


Fiesta ST

The ST-badged subcompact hot hatch epitomizes affordable driving fun and is an exemplary testament to the fact that all-out power doesn’t equal all-out fun. The latest model in the USA was equipped with a 1.6-liter turbo-four engine with outputs of only 197 hp. It had a short-throw six-speed manual gearbox and a front-wheel-drive system. Despite less power on hand in comparison to pricier hot hatches, the ST could subsequently be driven at its limits all the time, arguably making it even more enjoyable. Its powertrain, from the throttle responses and the soundtrack it proffered to the refined collaboration between its parts, delivered boundless levels of smile-inducing driver engagement. It was through the corners, however, where the ST unveiled its true aptitude and the source of its driving pleasure.


Top Competitor - Mini Cooper S
While you’re more likely to see the Mini Cooper in feature films, ensuing high-speed chases and nimbly darting through the tight city streets of Italy, in reality, it’s not quite as much the driver’s car as the Fiesta ST proves to be. Though the Mini Cooper S’s 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder motor is bigger and offers a favorably wide torque band, it isn’t very keen on revving out to its redline. This, along with its standard seven-speed DCT automatic transmission, only detract from its overall driver engagement, although a manual is being brought back. The Cooper S is certainly deserving of its sporty hot hatch reputation, but the ST simply feels more enjoyable overall, from its straight-line performance to its handling poise. The ST’s low price only augments its favor over the more expensive Mini as an affordable fun-to-drive hatch.


Focus ST
Like the Fiesta ST, the Focus ST is a really affordable means to a really fun-to-drive hot hatch. It comes equipped with a more powerful engine, is a little larger as a compact, and is a little more expensive, too. It’s not faster than the Fiesta ST and doesn’t handle quite as well either due to its larger dimensions and extra heft. It is more comfortable on the road, however, and offers more passenger and cargo room for the money. Nevertheless, its 252 horsepower 2.0-liter EcoBoost mill, six-speed manual gearbox, and front-wheel-drive system work in harmony together to deliver a driving experience that is as noteworthy as the Fiesta ST’s.




Top Competitor - Volkswagen Golf GTI
In terms of performance, the Golf GTI has the Focus ST beat on a straight, proffering a slightly faster 0-60 mph sprint time (6.4 seconds) and a higher top track speed (155 mph). It’s at the bends where the Focus ST will prove favorable though; it won’t be taking the lead in speed but it’s there where it’ll show off its superior fun factor from a handling perspective, inducing giggles and laughter at every turn. While the GTI is more of an all-rounder to appeal to most people’s mild passions and daily requirements, the ST caters first and foremost to the enthusiastic driver without too much compromise elsewhere.




Focus RS
At an MSRP of around $40k, the Focus RS does boast a comprehensive consignment of high-performance underpinnings and software, and the capability to boot. However, at its price, it drifts away from the affordable fun-to-drive factor and offers performance above that of the ST models that can only truly be enjoyed at a track. Its 350-hp turbo-four motor gives it a 0-60 mph sprint time of 4.7 seconds which will have you glued to the back of your seat, if only momentarily. With an all-wheel-drive system standard-fit, the RS is capable of carrying that performance through into the corners where its as exhilarating, if not more, than the ST models, especially with the available Drift Mode giving you controllable slides beyond the limits of adhesion.


Top Competitor - Honda Civic Type R
Its aggressively sporty looks alone will make you want you to take it on a test drive, and the performance it’ll deliver will make you want to take it out again and again. Its 306-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine may not be as powerful as the Focus RS’s, but its pristine steering feel, masterfully crafted chassis, and six-speed manual gearbox with its shift stick modeled from the original NSX supercar, altogether make it the superior hot hatch. It’s also equipped with an adaptive suspension, a helical limited-slip differential, and large 20-inch high-performance tires with which it skillfully slams into corners with like no other hatch can. Plus, it’s more affordable than the RS too.

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