It was pure, virginal and unmolested. It was standard and unmodified in every single way. It was clearly not acceptable.

Fast Fords are designed to be driven hard; from the drawing board they’re intended to be tuned and enjoyed. It’s almost sinful to leave a sporty Blue Oval box-stock.

Now, although I can understand why my Fondeo’s first owner was happy to keep it looking exactly the way it left the factory four years ago – it’s a great spec in ST-3 trim, after all – he also seemed to have a lighter right foot than my size ten: the trip computer average has already plunged from 33mpg to 25mpg.

I just had to do the decent thing. I had to make it faster.

Following the well-trodden path of the majority of fellow ST owners, I opted to begin the modification process with a simple and effective cold-air induction system.

There’s a bewildering choice of kits available for the ST250, from cheap Chinese tat to bespoke-designed packages. And because my Fondeo needs to be a comfy, reliable everyday driver (as well as a B-road monster), I picked a setup that’s at the top of the range: Steeda’s cold air intake.

Okay, £318 is a fair whack to pay for an induction kit, but having been-there-and-done-that with all kinds of crappy filters over the past 20 years, I was blown away by the quality and attention-to-detail found in the American-made Steeda system. You certainly get what you pay for.

Fitting the kit was easy enough (look out for an installation guide in a future Fast Ford), and the results are obvious. Steeda claims gains of up to 16bhp, and although I can’t say whether or not that’s true of my car, the Fondeo feels more urgent in the mid-range; it’s also a crucial step before investing in the planned remap. As yet, I’m undecided which tuner will get my vote.

Before then, though, I’ve a host of upgrades waiting to be made, including a Steeda short-shifter, H&R lowering springs and Powerflex handling kit. I can’t wait to feel how well it drives.


Steeda UK