IT used to be a favourite preserve of Young Farmers, but the super-mini is now a jam that can be just as easily savoured by those who hark back to their younger days.

Up for test against each other are the Suzuki Swift Sport, the Vauxhall Corsa GSi and the feisty Ford Fiesta ST.

While that latter wee beastie proved probably the best out of the three in terms of poseur-ability, I wouldn’t discount the others in terms of live-ability and price, with the Suzuki really good value for money.

The Suzuki

Swift Sport

On sheer looks, this is a real contender in this contest and it looks like it should be faster than it really is. Which, I suppose is a selling point if insurance is an issue – and that can often be when you are younger and paying for it yourself.

It might not be the most comfortable either, but as an all-round package it is still a good deal. The handling is pretty startling and again, it’s flat low to the ground, wide stance is a help in that, as is just enough power, 138bhp, from the new 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine (which replaced the outgoing 1.6-litre unit) to make an auld horse knicker coming out of corners.

Its 0 to 62 mph timed run score of 8.1 seconds actually feels faster than that, with the six-speed gear-change a perfect match for it. Suzukis still have what I would call a slightly agricultural feel to them, but that’s no bad thing as it also gives a sense of reliability – something I have learnt from the expensive progeny (ie daughter)’s ageing and relatively reliable Suzuki Jimny, which also has the 1.4-litre engine, but not turbofied.

That feeling also applies to the interior, which while it is adequate, is not luxurious by any stretch, though it does have DAB radio and sat-nav as standard, plus LED headlights adaptive cruise control, a reversing camera, keyless entry and a rather paltry (these days) 4.2-inch display.

Under normal driving, the stats say a tad above 50 mpg, though I struggled to get 45 mpg on the computer.

Insurance group 35D.

Vauxhall GSi Corsa

This is a hark back for Vauxhall and I can remember well the former version of this – it’s much more affordable than the VXR and easier to insure, too, rated the same as the Suzuki.

Power also comes from a 1.4-litre turbo petrol and there’s about 148bhp available from it which is enough to do the 0-62 run in 8.4 seconds, which makes it surprisingly slower than the Swift as it does sound as if it’s a bit growlier.

Where it does score, though, is in being a little tighter and firmer with its ride quality. That’s put down to the fact that its chassis is a less extreme version of the scary VXR.

In fact, it is quite a sophisticated suspension system, with oil dampened pistons modified depending on what’s asked of them by handling specialist Koni’s frequency selective damping technology.

As you would expect from Vauxhall’s boy racer department, it can come in a selection of eye-catching colours.

At a starting price of £18,995, it is more expensive than the Swift, but £250 less than the Fiesta ST and a whopping £2525 less than a VW Polo GTi.

Ford Fiesta ST

THE ST designation has been a favourite of Ford for sometime and many of its ranges have the ST-Line – which means it looks the part, but doesn’t have the hardware wherewithal to deliver on performance

That’s where the Fiesta ST proper kicks in and it’s a little beauty, including the big revelation that it has only three-cylinders. Back to the future?

But, it proved to be a great little engine and it’s 1.5 litre is put to good use thanks to using a turbocharger to get it to deliver 197bhp – the best of all these super-minis. That’s enough for it to do the straight-line challenge of 0-62mp in just 6.5 seconds, which makes it by far the fastest of these three.

If it’s just tootling about town all that’s required, then this wee motor can shut down one cylinders to save fuel. Not that you’d want to!

But, it’s the way that it delivers its power safely that is the key. While the likes of the Focus RS is simply bonkers, the Fiesta ST has a series of ‘calming’ measures to iron out the torque grab on the steering wheel for instance, things like a mechanical limited slip differential (optional extra, see below) and also within the suspension set-up.

That’s largely down, too, to the three selectable drive options – Normal, Sport and Track, with each setting fine-tuning performance by modifying engine mapping, throttle position, brake pedal and steering.

Along with Enhanced Torque Vectoring, Electronic Stability Control, and a well-tuned-tuned chassis, this makes it a dream of a sporty little car that is actually really nice to live with. And the engine note from the three-cylinders – enhanced though it is – makes you feels as if there’s a mighty V8 hidden somewhere!

Ford also offer something called a Performance Pack (+£850) which adds the limited slip diff and launch control to the inventory, which gives you launch control and a limited-slip differential. It’s well worth adding this to your tab.

Economy-wise, Ford’s stats say mid 40s mpg is likely, but that’s if you are pussyfooting around and who’d want to do that in this? So, a more realistic figure is actually mid-30s mpg.

Prices start at £19,000, but with added extras this can push into the mid-£20k mark, which is getting on for being a tad expensive. Three trim levels are available and two body styles, three or five door – we had the three-door, but if practicality is required, then you need to pay more than £600 to add the rear doors. It will also be dearer to insure than the other two in this evaluation – but has lots more power.