10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Mk7 Ford Fiesta ST

Ford’s seminal Mk7 Fiesta ST is now temptingly cheap - read through our buyer’s guide so you know what to look out for
10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Mk7 Ford Fiesta ST

When Ford sprinkled its performance magic on the Mk7 Fiesta, it created one of the best modern hot hatches. Despite being superseded in 2017 by the recently discontinued Mk8 version, the Mk7 Fiesta ST remains our pick, simply because it’s hard to find another hot hatch that drives as well or offers so much for hot hatch buyers for the money.

So, if you’ve decided the Mk7 Fiesta ST is the hot hatch you’re after, let us help you buy the best - just follow these 11 buying points.

There are plenty to choose from – so be picky

10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Mk7 Ford Fiesta ST

Launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2011, it wasn’t until January 2013 that the Mk7 Ford Fiesta was introduced to the UK market. Three-door only, the specification included uprated suspension, revised steering settings, unique 17-inch alloy wheels, an ST body kit, and special colours such as Molten Orange.

The trim levels were ST1 (probably the rarest of the trims), ST2 and latterly ST3. For those that found the 179bhp from the 1.6-litre EcoBoost engine wasn’t enough, Ford was quick to offer an approved Mountune upgrade, taking power to 197bhp for £600.

The summer of 2016 saw Ford introduce the most collectable version of the Mk7 Fiesta ST, the ST200 (More on that later). The final development of the Mk7 ST was the addition of five-door versions of the ST2 and ST3. The cheapest Mk7 Fiesta STs start at around £7,000 for the earliest 2013 models.

Check it’s not nicked!

Ford Fiesta ST - Mk7
Ford Fiesta ST - Mk7

Just like every other fast Ford it would seem, the Mk7 Fiesta ST is adored as much by thieves as it is by hot hatch enthusiasts. So, be extra careful when looking at any possible private sale purchase.

Firstly, getting a proper history check is a sensible investment. This will tell you if it’s stolen, written off, or whether there’s any outstanding finance.

On top of this, the engine number should match the last seven digits of its VIN that you’ll find on the V5 logbook. The engine number will be stamped into the engine block on the gearbox side. You should also find any Fiesta ST’s VIN on a tag on the left-hand side of the dashboard, which you can see through the windscreen. All these details, including what model it is and if it’s a limited edition, are on a sticker on the B-pillar. It is also stamped on the floor between the driver’s seat and pedals – although you’ll struggle to find this on a quick inspection.

Finally, once you’ve bought a Fiesta ST, we’d suggest adding some sort of extra protection on top of the standard alarm and immobiliser.

It's probably the most fun to drive car at this price

Ford Fiesta ST - driving
Ford Fiesta ST - driving

Under the bonnet of this Fiesta is a turbocharged, four-cylinder, 1.6-litre Ecoboost engine with 179bhp, or 197bhp on over-boost if you give it the beans from third gear and above. A 0-60mph acceleration time of 6.9 seconds and a top speed of 139mph are giant-killing, too.

Even better, you’ll find you’ll be making the most of that over-boost, as this engine is happy to be revved and Ford has made sure you’ll hear all of it, as the induction noise is pumped by a pipe from the engine bay into the interior.

When it comes to this Fiesta ST’s handling, you’ll first notice the precise steering, then the slick six-speed manual transmission. Then, when it comes to the corners, it’s this Ford’s balance that impresses first, with small dynamic changes made quickly and even better, you feel involved in the action. As such, there are few other hot hatches of this period that can be placed so easily in corners – feeling agile and adjustable at the same time.

The only other suspension updates through the Mk7 ST’s life were mid-2015 tweaks to the rear shock absorbers and a thicker front anti-roll bar, that improved this Fiesta’s rather stiff ride while also further sharpening the turn-in.

It’s easily tuneable, but make sure it’s been looked after 

Ford Fiesta ST - engine
Ford Fiesta ST - engine

The 197bhp from the approved Mountune kit is the tip of the iceberg in terms of power upgrades for this Ford Fiesta.

Research for this article dug up Mk7 STs with over 300bhp, but we understand from specialists that forged internals are advised if you want this sort of big power. Plus, over-aggressive remapping can shorten an engine’s life.

At the same time, while it is possible for this engine to make big power, engine failures aren’t unheard of, and worn crankshaft bearings, especially on modified cars, are a regular weak point. The easiest way to check is to warm the engine up, then listen for knocking between 3,000-4,000rpm, under load.

Other causes of Fiesta ST engine failure, are through working the engine too hard when cold, or from a lack of servicing, as this engine will suffer if it is run low on oil. Oil services should be done every 12,500 miles.

It is not unheard of for Mk7 Fiesta STs to overheat, either. This is usually the result of sticking thermostat valves or damaged engine pipework. You could end up with a failed head gasket, or more seriously, a cracked head.

It’s been recalled for a serious issue

Ford issued a recall in 2018 for Fiesta STs built up to December 2014. This recall is for cracked cylinder heads which were the result of localised cylinder overheating. If this is unchecked, the crack can get worse and cause a fire. 

Look out for the collectable ST200

10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Mk7 Ford Fiesta ST

As standard, 179bhp doesn’t feel slow, but to release the full potential of this Fiesta ST, you need the officially sanctioned Mountune upgrade, which includes a new airbox and air filter, plus an ECU tweak.

Instead, though, in the ST200 you can have that performance kit as standard, plus shorter gear ratios and final drive to make it accelerate even faster (6.7 seconds 0-60mph), along with a one-off exterior colour (Storm Grey) and unique darkened alloy wheels.

Just 400 were available, and remain sought after, with the highest mileage example fetching £10,000 – roughly £1,000 more than the standard car with similar mileage.

All were well-equipped

10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Mk7 Ford Fiesta ST

Even the rare ST-1 versions still had niceties such as air-conditioning, a DAB radio and heated windscreen as standard. ST-2 and ST-3 models are more popular and when you see the step up in standard equipment, it’s not difficult to see why. ST-2s add part-leather trim, a start button, privacy glass and LED DRLs. Later, range-topping ST-3s further benefit from cruise control, climate control, keyless entry, auto headlights, rain-sensitive wipers, power-folding mirrors and sat-nav.

Pack options included the Convenience Pack, which on ST-2 models included keyless entry and Powerfold mirrors. The Style Pack included the desirable red front brake callipers, the previously mentioned illuminated sill plates, and a dark grey finish for the standard wheels. 

The ST still offers the same Fiesta practicality

Ford Fiesta ST - interior
Ford Fiesta ST - interior

You don’t buy a hot hatch for its boot space, but it’s good to know that an ST is no less practical than a standard Mk7 Ford Fiesta. It has a 290-litre boot, which is similar to many rivals of the time, and should be fine for regular shopping trips. If more space is needed, the boot can be extended to 974 litres with the 60:40 split rear seat folded.

Access to the rear seat is more than adequate. This ST might have been only available in three-door form for most of the short time it was on sale, but the front doors open wide and the standard-fit Recaro sports fold forward as easy as the standard ones.

Once in, like the boot, head and legroom in the back of this Fiesta is more than adequate for two passengers. The ride is firm, meanwhile, but not uncomfortable.

The dated interior is a disappointment

10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Mk7 Ford Fiesta ST

The Mk7 Fiesta’s sweeping profile still looks contemporary when compared to rival hot hatches of the period and up to date against modern rivals and the next-generation, Mk8 Fiesta.

However, the same can’t be said for the interior, which doesn’t feel as fresh. For example, the centre console design on all Mk7 Fiestas was styled on a 2007-era mobile phone. Like the phones of that era, the Ford’s tiny buttons and small infotainment screen have not aged well and the sat-nav screen where fitted, is not easy to read.

Add to this the hard interior plastics, which can rattle, and the Fiesta ST doesn’t feel as much of a premium product as, say, an R56 Mini Cooper S.  Finally, make sure you check all the electrical kit works!   

Rust isn’t a problem, but still, check bodywork thoroughly

10 Things You Need To Know Before Buying A Mk7 Ford Fiesta ST

The oldest Mk7 Fiesta ST is a reasonably young 10 years old, but it’s still worth checking the condition of the bottom of the doors, the rear wheel arches and the end of the sills for rust – just in case. This Fiesta is a performance car, so could have hidden crash damage, that won’t have shown up on the history check and could be the cause – resulting in poor repairs.

Move to the front of the Fiesta and check the condition of the paint. It is known to be on the thin side, so stone chips and small scratches are to be expected - just make sure any wear is in line with the mileage.  ST-2 and ST-3 versions are fitted with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) – make sure they’re working properly. If they seem dim, the only option is a replacement of the whole unit(s).

Models fitted with the ‘Style Pack,’ include illuminated sill scuff plates. These are known to fail and replacements are the only solution – and they’re not cheap. Finally, check the condition of the door seals, as they fall off commonly. 


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