You wait ages for a great Fiesta – and then two come along at once
FIESTAS are like buses. I know they've had their fans over the years, but to me there are a couple of comparisons.
Firstly, they've historically had about as much design flair as the old double-decker.
Secondly, some of them would've struggled to not be outrun by The Big Red.
And, among other grumbles, they signified that you either couldn't afford a bigger, better car, or that you didn't know what to do with your money.
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Yes, there are certain ones that looked "all right" and won a few things here or there.
But, by and large, personally they weren't desirable.
It's at this point my brother releases an expletive and tells whoever is near him when he reads this review that I know nothing about cars.
Because, like many Motors readers, he's owned many Fiestas, each of them better than the last. Except all of his ended up being written off, I hasten to add.
So it was a little tongue in cheek that I told the Ford chaps that I was "very excited" to be driving the new 1.0-litre model.
If ever there were two bits of information guaranteed not to get me excited, it's the combination of a low-power engine with some vague "eco" branding.
Aside from having a new 100-brake "Ecoboost" engine, it's also been given a facelift for 2014.
And I have to say – how good does that look?
Ford have clearly been doing some genetic tampering – taking the Fiesta's old, tired, but hugely successful and popular DNA, and mixing in some strands they've nicked from Aston Martin.
This is a huge step up from the Fiestas of years gone by. That stunted look is out and, from the side, its looks reminiscent of the original Focus.
And it didn't drive like the Fiestas I've handled in the past. In fact, it didn't drive like any 1.0-litre car I can remember. This can't be the 100-brake Ecoboost, surely?
It drives magnificently – it's responsive, nippy, and feels planted to the ground around corners.
Being a smaller engine, it's not surprising that it's efficient. Ford say it can do 65 miles to the gallon.
But what does take you back is the performance.
The figures say 0-60 takes 11 seconds but there's so much more to how this Fiesta delivers the power.
I can't ever say it felt short of oomph.
Even on the A30, you can overtake and head off into the West Cornwall sunset, leaving almost everyone behind.
Inside things are spot-on too.
From the simple instrument panel, with its electric blue highlights, to the illuminated strip around the drinks holders – there's plenty of quality in here.
You also get a Sony stereo, climate control, electronic parking assistance, heated seats – though be aware this isn't the standard model.
In fact, there was so much to this package that I was convinced Ford had sent me the wrong vehicle, and checked with them.
They told me there had been no mistake. They said I should try the 125 horsepower version, because that was even better.
However, that's not what they sent me.
Because what turned up was a ruddy monster – a wild beast and, in the wrong hands, a killer.
A 1.6-litre, turbocharged animal with 182 horses waiting to be unleashed by your right foot.
While it's largely very similar in the cabin, there are a few clues – the six-speed box, the sports pedals, Recaro seats and two little letters on the base of the steering wheel – that what we have here is, in fact, the new Fiesta ST.
While the entry-level bog-standard Fiesta costs anywhere between £9,995 and £15,945, the ST can be yours for £16,995.
And those extra pounds will be the last thing on your mind once you press the "Start" button.
The sound of this thing is just unbelievable. It roars. And you'll be tempted to dip the clutch and give the throttle a good old poke when you get caught in traffic.
It takes everything that's great about the standard Fiesta to a whole new league. Handling – better. Speed – better. All just better.
Although it's really comfortable in those Recaro sports seats, the suspension is firmer, and can get a bit aggravating if you have any sort of back pains or are feeling a little weary. And that really is the worst thing we can say about it. It will even do 47 miles to the gallon, say Ford.
But worries about fuel consumption won't bother you – not when you can do 0-60 in six seconds and make yourself squeal while simultaneously putting the biggest smile on your face.
If you can trust your right foot enough not to kill yourself (or someone else), and not max out your licence points while also having enough cash in the bank to buy the ST, pay the insurance and have some in reserve for the fuel bills, then it's a no-brainer.
But the best bit is if you end up with the standard Fiesta, you won't be disappointed – because the entry level car is so good.
It's funny – Fiesta's ARE like buses after all. You spend half a lifetime waiting for a great one to come along, then two rock up at once.