The baby Fiesta always brings a smile to the judges’ faces when it’s put through its paces at testing week. “We really need a ‘Seat of the Pants’ criterion,’ one judge said. “The Fiesta is not the fastest or best handing but it is just so much fun. No matter how much you throw it around, it’s just balanced, composed and predictable.” The Fiesta ST’s 1.6-litre engine produces 134kW of power and 240Nm of torque and is well-matched to the six-speed manual gearbox. The sports suspension has been tuned to emphasise the car’s sure-footed behaviour and sharp turn-in. At a fraction under $30,000 on the road, the ST is the third cheapest in the class. This, combined with good fuel economy and low running costs, see it one of the top scorers in the value for money criteria. It’s not strong for standard equipment but there is a whole swag of cars in this category that fare worse. It still comes with some nice touches such as rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights, daytime running lights and single-zone climate-control air-conditioning. And it’s good to see a driver’s knee airbag in a car of this price. Fiesta ST is an affordable hatch with character that is often lacking at this end of the market.