Buy from Amazon

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Ford has a long history in the racing scene, from Henry Ford himself racing from 1901 to 1913 to gain publicity for his company and its vehicles, to a strong showing in stock car racing, rally and Formula One that continues into the 21st Century. Racing is in the company’s blood and bones and that drive for power and control that they have poured into their beastly racing machines can be seen even when they are making an affordable subcompact like the Fiesta. But not every hatchback is created equal so here’s a rundown of the best models if you’re after the speed and handling of a race ready ride, and how to get your hands on one.

Fiesta ST
If authenticity is your thing then you’ll want to go with the ST. Introduced in 2004 and then reintroduced in the next generation of Fiestas in 2013, this is the performance model of the Fiesta, and is used in rallying. Current models are capable of a top speed of 139mph (10mph faster than the pre-2013 design) and come with a wide variety of engines. A new version with 220bhp launches in November, and the limited edition ST200 delivers the same power with a sportier design, though these last two options will only be available new in most places.

Ford Fiesta Zetec ECOnetic
You might be surprised to see this one on the list—racing cars are usually gas guzzlers, but the aerodynamically redesigned front bumper skirt and overall lower frame do cut an impressive silhouette that suggests performance and control. They don’t have as much muscle as the alternatives but you get the same smooth ride and feeling of power. Since the series began in 2008 you can find them used or new.

Fiesta Zetec S
Part of the line for much longer, the Zetec S is a cheaper alternative to the ST featuring similarly smooth bodywork complete with a sleek rear spoiler and alloy wheels to drive home that sporty feeling. It’s also a lot cheaper to run and because they were introduced in the fifth generation of Fiestas you can find much older models if you’re working within a strict budget. Try online retailers like Motorpoint if you’re looking to buy used.

If you want that adrenaline-pumping race experience there’s a wide range of Fiestas to scratch that itch.