No matter which way you spin it, it’s a fact that the inevitable constraints of everyday life, not to mention the laws of the land, conspire to scupper the primal cravings of the petrol-head. Despite the sizzling-hot hatches and snorting super saloons at our disposal these days, it just isn’t considered cricket to unleash upwards of 200bhp in a drag race down your local high street before negotiating a mini roundabout sideways under a burning rubber-induced smokescreen – even less so on the way to little Jimmy’s violin class.
But fear not. Although for many of us out there that niggling inconvenience known as ‘the real world’ makes it hard to justify the outlay on true pulse-racing performance, it doesn’t mean that a car with the same sporty allure on the outside but with its sensible head on under the skin is out of reach.
For the perfect case in point, look no further than Ford’s ST-Line. Designed for those who can’t get enough of the sporty ST styling cues but can’t make full use of the red-blooded excesses of optimised engines, chassis and tech, the ST-Line strikes a sound economical balance.
Now, Ford is giving its ST-line a range-spanning refresh, encompassing tweaks and upgrades to both the Fiesta and Focus versions.
Dressing to impress is very much the philosophy behind both ST-Line models. The base 3 or 5-door Fiesta gets a new honeycomb design for the front grille, fog lamps with dark surrounds plus a front bumper lip spoiler as part of its ST-Line upgrade. It’s the same story with Focus ST-Line, offered in 5-door or estate guise, which also features a small front bumper insert. Other ST refinements include a rear diffuser element and large rear spoiler for both models, deeper side-skirts and ST-Line motifs on the front wings. Metallic Grey 17inch alloy wheels complete the transformation on the outside whilst sport seats, a leather ST-style steering wheel, ST-style gear knob and ST-Line scuff plates spice things up on the inside. Aside from its subtly more aggressive looks, the ST package also throws in lowered sports suspension as standard.
Only the most potent of the standard Fiesta and Focus engine line-up will power the ST-Line versions. That means a roster of two five-speed manual options for the Fiesta, comprising of the 1.0-litre EcoBoost, available with 98, 123 or 138bhp, or the 94bhp 1.5-litre diesel.
The Focus variant offers a more powerful 118bhp version of the same diesel unit plus a larger 2.0-litre diesel developing 148bhp, both of which come mated to a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. On the petrol scale, the Fiesta’s mid-range 1.0-litre Ecoboost is available on the Focus too, but there’s also a harder-hitting 180bhp 1.5-litre powertrain to consider, the most powerful non-ST tuned engine on offer aboard the standard car.
Ford’s revamped ST-Line launches with the Fiesta variant priced from £15,645 and its Focus counterpart from £20,595. We’re promised that a further two ST-Line models will follow before the end of the year.