Fiesta ST vs 208 GTI vs Clio 200 Turbo: Stat Wars

2013 has seen a huge shake-up in the ranks of the junior hot hatch. You wait patiently for an exciting newcomer to come along and then three turn up at once. First we saw the Ford Fiesta ST, then the Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo and hot on its heels came the Peugeot 208 GTI. Exciting times!

So how do the three cars compare?

2013 Ford Fiesta ST Cornering

The Fiesta ST was made for roads like this

Performance

 Ford Fiesta STPeugeot 208 GTIRenaultsport Clio 200
Engine1,596cc turbo1,598cc turbo1,618cc turbo
Transmission6-speed manual, front-wheel drive6-speed manual, front-wheel drive6-speed dual-clutch semi-automatic, front-wheel drive
Power (bhp)179197197
Torque (lb-ft)213*203177
0-62 mph (s)6.96.86.7
Top Speed (mph)139143143
Kerb Weight (kg)1,1631,1601,204

Look at the engines and you quickly realise how emissions regulations are forcing manufacturers down the same path. Wind the clock back a few years and both the Fiesta and Clio’s predecessors used a naturally aspirated 2.0-litre engine. The Renaultsport engineers had done a much better job of extracting power from their free-revving 200bhp unit with the Fiesta languishing behind with a mere 150bhp. Meanwhile, Peugeot had already made the switch to a turbocharged 1.6 with the 207 and have massaged its output even higher for the 208.

*At first the new Fiesta looks short on power compared to its rivals but it makes up for that with an overboost feature that liberates extra torque for short bursts on full throttle. Now it’s the Clio that looks a bit thin in that department with the lowest torque figure, and a power output that’s been equalled by Peugeot.

The Clio’s pace is actually a surprise when you look at the weight figures. It’s the heaviest car here, a testament to the increase in size over the last Clio. Both the 208 and Fiesta have been on a diet and lost weight, resulting in very close figures on the scales.

Despite the relative lack of torque and the increased weight the Renault is still the fastest accelerating of the trio. That slim advantage is thanks to its new dual-clutch automatic gearbox and launch control system . With computers allowing just the right amount of wheel-spin and rapid-fire shifts it just beats the manual Peugeot to 62mph, while the Fiesta is only a tenth behind in third place.

Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo

It’s all change with the new Renaultsport Clio 200 Turbo

Running Costs

 Ford Fiesta STPeugeot 208 GTIRenaultsport Clio 200
Economy (MPG):474744
CO2 Emissions (g/km):138139144
VED Band:EEF
Insurance Group:303029

When it comes to running costs there’s practically nothing in it. The Ford and Peugeot win at the pumps thanks to the best official economy figures and lower CO2 emissions mean that their tax discs are cheaper than the Renault’s. On the other hand the Clio should be slightly cheaper to insure as it sits one group lower than the other two.

Either way, these are all cars that offer running costs that hot hatch owners could have only dreamed about a few years ago. Just don’t expect to get too close to those official MPG figures when you start having fun!

Value For Money

 Ford Fiesta STPeugeot 208 GTIRenaultsport Clio 200
Price (OTR)£16,995£18,895£18,995
Standard EquipmentCloth Recaro seats, 4.2" screen, DAB radio, sat-nav, Quickclear windscreenPart-leather sports seats, 7-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, Bluetooth, panoramic glass roofRenaultsport seats, keyless start and entry, 7-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, R-telemetry, sat-nav, 3-mode RS Drive system, launch control
Wheel Diameter (inches)171717

Look at the base prices and the Ford is a clear winner. At almost £2,000 less than the French pair it looks like a real bargain but think carefully before you buy. Over 80% of Fiestas have been ordered in ST-2 trim, adding heated leather seats, LED running lights and climate control for £1,000. Even then it’s still the best part of £1,000 cheaper than the French pair.

The Renault looks very expensive at first but don’t forget it comes with that dual-clutch gearbox, something that would be a £1,000 option on German rivals. There’s also more sophisticated technology in the chassis, as well as the R-Link telemetry system to play with. Considering all this the Clio isn’t as expensive as it seems but you have to ask whether or not you really need all of those toys in a small hot hatch.

That leaves the 208. It’s cheaper than the Clio but only by £100. It’s very well equipped with few options to add, making the base Fiesta ST look quite spartan. However, it misses out on many of the Renault’s toys despite sharing a similar touchscreen console.

Peugeot 208 GTI

Peugeot 208 GTI restores some of the marque’s hot hatch credibility

The Reviews

 Ford Fiesta STPeugeot 208 GTIRenaultsport Clio 200
Average4.63.93.8
Autocar4.5/54/54/5
Auto Express5/54/54/5
Driving Spirit4.5/54/53.5/5
EVO4.5/53.5/53.5/5
Parkers4.5/54/54/5

Although they’re level pegging in their average review scores, the 208 GTI and Clio 200 are very different animals. The Renault is the more track-focused beast, with a Race mode that brings out the best in its chassis and engine and triggers gear changes in as little as 150ms. On the other hand the Peugeot sacrificed outright track ability for a more road-friendly setup.

There’s one very clear winner here. The Fiesta ST has consistently beaten off its French rivals and won the hearts of just about everyone who’s driven it, myself included.

Having driven all three I’d have to echo these reviews. The Fiesta ST seems to be one of those rare cars where everything is perfectly judged. Personally I don’t like the new direction the Clio 200 has taken and the 208 GTI, while very good, isn’t quite as enthralling as the Fiesta.


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Author: Chris Auty

Voted the Breakthrough Blogger of 2013 by SEAT and the Guild of Motoring Writers , Chris has lived and breathed cars since he was old enough to say 'faster'. With a penchant for hot hatches and an allergy to public transport, he would much prefer to drive a bad car than never drive at all. Fortunately his family has learned to put up with this obsession and the internet has provided a channel for his ramblings.

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