Best used performance cars
What a used car to put a smile on your face? Our best used performance cars serve-up thrills aplenty.
Best used performance car: Ford Fiesta ST
Prices from: £9,000
Our pick: 2013 Ford Fiesta ST-1, 40,000 miles, £10,195
The Ford Fiesta doesn’t just make a great used buy as a supermini; it’s a top performance bargain, too.Fast and feisty, the Fiesta ST became an instant hot hatch hit when it arrived in 2014. Its popularity when new means there are lots of examples to choose from on used car forecourts, with prices now falling below the £10,000 mark for entry-level ST-1 models.
Regardless of which trim level you choose, you’ll get the same muscular turbocharged 180bhp 1.6-litre engine and acrobatic handling. You’ll also benefit from the snappy six-speed gearbox and figure-hugging seats.
On the move, few cars are as fun as the ST, and its performance will have contributed to the Fiesta’s 18th place finish for road handling in our Driver Power 2016 survey. With its razor-sharp throttle, quick steering and beautiful handling, the ST will put a bigger grin on your face than sports cars costing five times as much.
This is a fast Ford, too. The raspy 1.6-litre’s 180bhp output is impressive enough, but it’s the rippling 280Nm of torque that gives it the sort of big-chested performance you’d expect from the class above.
Yet look past the racy exterior, blistering acceleration and thrilling handling, and the ST is pure Fiesta. That means it’s practical, cheap to run and easy to live with. The low-speed ride is firm, but there’s a perfect driving position, decent rear space and a useful 276-litre boot.
The ST-1 gets all the kit you’ll need, including air-con, a DAB radio and heated windscreen, while ST-2 and ST-3 models add items such as leather, climate control and keyless entry. Running costs are also reasonable, with CO2 emissions of 138g/km and more than 40mpg possible. This really is the no-hitch hot hatch.
Ford Fiesta ST: Key details
- • Driving: Fiesta is the ultimate hot hatch, with precise handling, sharp steering and rapid throttle response.
- • Interior: ST-1 model is packed with kit, while higher-spec cars feature leather trim and keyless entry.
Ford Fiesta ST: expert view
James Disdale: Chief reviewer: “Like all fast Ford models, the Fiesta is popular with aftermarket tuning experts. That means there are a number of cars on the market featuring boosted power outputs and modified suspension. However, the ST is fast enough already, while its handling is sublime in standard form, so we’d steer clear of these examples.”
Commended: Porsche Boxster Mk1
Prices for the first-generation Boxster have now sunk below £3,000, which is not a lot of money for a thoroughbred mid-engined sports car. If you choose carefully and are prepared for above- average service bills, then the Boxster is a sure-fire future classic.