This has to be one of my favourite tests from recent episodes of Top Gear. This three-way shootout that opened series 20 (June 2013) features three of the most significant hot hatches of recent years, namely the all-new Peugeot 208 GTI, Renaultsport Clio 200 and Ford Fiesta ST.
It’s almost what you could call a serious piece of motoring journalism. Richard Hammond puts each of the three contenders through their paces on the Dunsfold track, avoiding the silliness that usually takes over the reviews on Top Gear.
We have some heel-and-toe action from The Hamster, rear wheels being cocked in the air, and some good old lift-off oversteer from these front-wheel driven hatchbacks.
As for the winner, it’s good to see that Richard Hammond agrees with my own conclusions. Both the 208 GTI and Clio 200 are good but neither are as good as the Fiesta ST.
Want to know the all-important stats? Here they are:
|Ford Fiesta ST||Peugeot 208 GTI||Renaultsport Clio 200|
|Engine||1,596cc turbo||1,598cc turbo||1,618cc turbo|
|Transmission||6-speed manual, front-wheel drive||6-speed manual, front-wheel drive||6-speed dual-clutch semi-automatic, front-wheel drive|
|0-62 mph (s)||6.9||6.8||6.7|
|Top Speed (mph)||139||143||143|
|Kerb Weight (kg)||1,163||1,160||1,204|