Original review update.
Now done 8000 miles and the engine has loosened up considerably. Feels much punchier in the midrange and much more eager to rev. Quite noisy, but I like it - quite like an "old school" hot hatch in this respect.
Build quality continues to be a strength. The car still looks, feels and smells "new" inside. The seat fabrics are unmarked, there is no hint of a rattle or creak from anywhere, and nothing has broken or failed. I seriously doubt I could have claimed the same for a Clio.
To the commenter who claims the Clio has won every hot hatch handling test, you obviously read different magazines to me. Every comparison I've read has marked the Fiesta down slightly on its relative lack of pace to the Clio, but has found it very hard to fault in the chassis department. In any case, the Fiesta is brilliant in its own right and as I said before, doesn't fall apart like everything with a Renault badge tends to. Does it really look crap? Err... OK. Because the Clio is real pin-up material...
I've also heard rumours from my Ford dealer that a "works" type upgrade is in the offing, which will push the power up to somewhere around the 170-180 bhp mark with complete Ford warranty support. The Duratec engine is known for being strong and tuneable (the kit car market loves it!), so this doesn't sound unrealistic.
Anyway, well pleased with the car still, and if the odd Clio 182 does pull away from me at the lights, I can live with it. No hot hatch is fast in the great scheme of things, and if you want outright power, buy something else. Fun is what counts, and the Fester does that brilliantly and with real quality to the engineering and build. Nothing else in the class can do both.
Crap chassis and engine sound like a chainsaw thanks to a chain driven system. high insurance group.
To the guy who made comments on the 15th May, why would we "trust you" with your comments about the new Clio Sports build quality and why will the steering be "girly" and "have no feel"?, how do you know this when the car isn't even for sale yet and I've yet to see any road tests at this point! What have you based these assumptions on? To confuse things further you think the old Clio 182 is "crap", a bold statement going against the general consensus of the entire British motoring press, so why won't the new car be "crap"? On top of this you don't even know the correct name of the new Clio Sport, it's a Clio 197 not a 192!
The Fiesta is only 2 tenths slower than the 182 around the Nurburgring Nordschleife, which considering it's 32 bhp down says it all about the chassis.
The Clio 182 is in another league matey, it competes with the Cooper S and the type R.
That's why the Fiesta ST has cheaper insurance.