Having built some of the coolest pocket rockets in car history, Ford has a lot of weight on its shoulders whenever it creates a small car with a bit of a kick. But lately it has downplayed its hot hatch game a bit. The Focus XR5 slowly wound down and the Fiesta XR4 was discounted years ago. But out of the ashes has come the Focus ST and this, the very limited edition Ford Fiesta Metal.
The first thing you have to consider is that while it looks like a hot hatch, it actually isn’t really. Sure, the figures now show 98kW from a 1.6 litre Duratec engine compared to the previous high of 88kW, and the front spoiler and black alloy wheels give it seriously sharp looks that would have a Volkswagen Polo GTi or Skoda Fabia RS shaking. But it’s not meant to be a Polo GTi or a Fabia RS, and pitted against either, it would be seriously beaten. This is more of a match for the Suzuki Swift Sport, if anything, but really, it should be seen as a man’s version of the Fiesta small car – all the practicality of the standard, just with some extra looks and styling.
Practicality? In a three door? Yes. Despite lopping off the rear two doors the Fiesta Metal will easily accommodate four adults in the car once they squeeze past the driver’s seat. And it won’t be much of an effort either. But there is more to the practicality than just the space. The boot is large and can fit a full-sized suitcase plus some smaller bags, the leather seats are comfortable and supportive and the front seats are even heated, while the cabin is spacious.
There are a few annoying bits though – reaching back to your driver’s seatbelt is almost impossible, the audio controls are a mess and the cup holders get in the way of your arm when you are shifting gears. But these are all things you can put up with in the Fiesta Metal.
As for performance, you’re not going to feel a kick up your spine when you drive this. With 98kW, you shouldn’t expect to either. Going up hills, driving twisty roads and overtaking on highways (all of which we did) required some clever work of the gears and some patience – like any small car bar a hot hatch. When you consider that hot hatches of the Fiesta Metal’s size often pump out around 130kW, you begin to understand why this is not really a hot hatch.
The steering is ultra light and you don’t get a huge amount of feel or feedback when driving the twisty stuff, which is disappointing on a long drive with good roads but is a God-send for the city stuff. The clutch is also light and the gears need no convincing at all when you want to shift. Reverse warning alarms can get a little excited sometimes but again that’s something most small cars with the feature suffer from – it’s not an excuse though.
So why would you try and grab one of the limited 250 Fiesta Metals if you’re looking for a small car? Well, all of the following extras that come with it including twin chrome exhaust tips, sports body kit with silver-painted front grille surround, front aero spoiler and front fog light bezels, privacy glass, 17-inch black alloy wheels and sports suspension with lowered ride height. Interior styling features Piano Black centre stack bezel, air vent rings and door pulls, ebony black heated leather sports seats with silver contrast stitching, leather-wrapped reach and height adjustable steering wheel, leather-wrapped gear shifter and handbrake, sports alloy pedal covers, stainless steel door scuff plates and unique floor mats with silver piping. The Fiesta Metal also boasts single zone climate control, keyless start, electrochromatic rear view mirror, automatic projector headlights with follow-me-home
And yes, we just copied and pasted all those extra features because who could be bothered re-writing them all. At $22,990 plus on-roads, it’s not a bad buy either so long as you’re after a sheep in wolf’s clothing.
Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men’s Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney’s North Shore with his girlfriend.