Ford Fiesta ST and VW Polo GTI in the test

The roles in the sporty small car are clearly distributed: The VW Polo GTI mimics the well-groomed power dwarf, the Ford Fiesta ST the bully. Its turbocharged engine does have a cylinder less, but also comes to 200 hp. So who’s chasing who?
  • drive
  • steering
  • costs
  • Conclusion

For a change, we push aside the topic space and functionality for now. Since the Normalo-Polo has already often proved that he is hard to beat. No, today it is primarily about driving pleasure, because the otherwise so sensible protagonists Ford Fiesta and VW Polo compete here in the sports dress as ST or GTI. Let’s start right in the driving fun chapter.


According to the vehicle license, the two small cars each provide exactly 200 hp. However, the horses originate from quite different stables. When VW a turbocharged two-liter four-cylinder with combined direct and intake manifold injection ensures that all steeds are collected from 4,000 / min. Already at 1,500 rpm, 320 Newton meters of torque are applied. In direct comparison missing the Ford 30 Newton meters, half a liter capacity and a whole cylinder . Even more: In the partial load range, the Fiesta ST even runs only on two cylinders . However, this is only noticeable in the slightly lower test consumption of 7.5 liters of super to 100 kilometers, 0.3 liters less than the Polo.

Spectacular ST, self-switching GTI

Thanks to the 950-euro performance package, the ST not only brings with it a differential lock on the front axle, it also gives the driver in the cockpit the ideal switching points and supports launch control at the start of the cavalry. When the start mode is activated and the accelerator pedal is fully depressed, the speed levels up at 3,500 rpm, and when the left foot slips off the clutch, the Ford sprints to 100 km / h in 6.6 seconds. Even if he misses the factory specification by almost a tenth , this is an enormous, especially acoustic spectacle.

The three-cylinder developed only at 6,000 revolutions of its full horsepower potential and organized on the way there an artificially reinforced, but by no means unnatural sounding concert. The gears of the manual six-speed gearbox engage incredibly easily on short distances – real manual work that is fun and whose precision in this class hardly anyone gets.

Especially not the Polo, because unlike its predecessor, there is initially no manual transmission for the GTI, and this is actually a shortcoming in a sporty small car . It may be that the double co#pler changes the six gears faster, but some of the emotions are lost. Especially since the dual-clutch transmission acts overly hectic and weakens when starting. Annoying for ambitious drivers: Even in manual mode, the DSG overrides its own gear selection, automatically switches up in the limiter. Paddle commands are indeed implemented fixed, but the actual switching process takes a little longer than it should.

Even without Launch Control, the Polo can be braked at the start line. Feeling he storms not so vehemently out of the starting block, turns purposeful, but not euphoric. Measured it remains despite almost 100 kilograms more weight at eye level and undercuts even his factory. In intermediate sprints, he is equal to the tenth of a second and can hurry in the top with 237 even at five km / h.

Despite stricter suspension tuning remains the VW Polo GTI one who likes to do it all right and does not want to overwhelm anyone. While the Ford Fiesta ST on the highway with ardor in every turn throws, like sometimes raises the inside rear wheel, can be pulled by means of torque vectoring and optional limited slip differential on the front axle through the curves, the Polo remains neutral for a long time. In the border area, he falls into the understeer and lets the ESP do its job. That may be safe, but is a bit disappointing for ambitious drivers.

Steering: an experience at the Fiesta

The same applies to the steering. While the Polo is direct, but less pointed, looks more synthetic and tells the driver in the episode not so much about the road surface and the grip on the front axle. The latter at such a high level at the Fiesta is, among other things, to be awarded the Michelin Supersport tires, which are usually mounted on cars with at least twice the performance.

And so the ST on the test track changes almost seven km / h faster the pylon lanes of the double lane change. Or to better classify: The current Porsche 911 Carrera S is only one km / h faster. It helps, of course, that the ESP in track mode unlike the VW can be completely disable, but then the driver should know what he does. The brake of the Ford leaves an ambiguous impression: It delays well and constantly, but quickly becomes heated up under heavy use.

In other disciplines, he also collects fewer points than the VW . On the one hand, the Polo offers more space and a better quality appearance with almost identical outside dimensions. Thanks to the standard rear doors, it is more versatile, although the optional Beats sound system costs trunk space. Ford offers the ST for 800 euros more even as a four-door, but some safety features of the normal Fiesta as a pedestrian recognition, the automatic spacer and the automatic parking assistant, there is not for the sporty top model.

In contrast, Recaro seats with excellent lateral support are standard, but could be problematic if the body mass index is over 25. And since we’re talking about comfort: in the GTI adjustable dampers provide a thoroughly harmonious suspension comfort at the touch of a button, even in sports mode, he never plays the hard dog. The ST, however, does not spring more than absolutely necessary, especially swallows rough road bumps not in consequence. He is also less well insulated than the Polo.

Performance has its price

Measured by their performance and features, the small cars are fairly priced in price. The Fiesta ST is already from 22.100 euros in the price list, which corresponds to around 111 euros per hp. In the test car, however, are added 2,800 euros for the exclusive leather package, which gives the ST next leather-covered sports seats an automatic climate control, a sound system, the large navigation system and 18-inch wheels. More important, however, LED headlights (750 Euro) and the essential for sports drivers performance package (950 €).

Since the Polo is only available as a four-door and DSG, it costs at least 23,950 euros, making about 120 euros per PS. Even with optional 18-inch (450 €) and Sport Select suspension, it remains almost 2,000 euros below the point-relevant price of the Fiesta. To bring the VW on the almost fully equipped level of the Ford test car, however, some more cross in the configurator are necessary. And since extras in Wolfsburg usually cost more than in Cologne, a comparable GTI is then a bit more expensive.

In the sum of the features of the rational Polo is the winner in the end, but that will certainly forgive the fans the wonderfully unreasonable Fiesta ST.

Technical specifications:

Polo GTI

Power: 147 KW (200 hp)
Torque (at rpm): 320
maximum speed: 237 km / h
Base price: 23,950 €

Fiesta ST

Power: 147 KW (200 hp)
Torque (at rpm): 290
maximum speed: 232 km / h
Base price: 22,600 €