Ford Fiesta ST Grips like a Slot Car, Goes like a Muscle Car: Review
Most of us are regular, ordinary people, which sadly means that neither a Jaguar F-Type nor Lamborghini Huracán exactly fit our price range or lifestyle (though we can dream). Thankfully, that doesn’t mean we’re doomed to a life of beige and mundane motoring. No siree, we have hot hatchbacks for that. The Ford Fiesta ST in particular. Ford’s pint-sized Fiesta has won over numerous fans since its debut in 2011 and the new-for-2014 Fiesta ST makes a strong vie for the crown jewel of the subcompact segment.
Buyers can option the standard Fiesta in two configurations, hatchback or sedan, and opt for either Ford’s 1.6-liter Duractec four-cylinder engine or a super-green 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder. Though if it were our money, we’d cross our ‘T’s’, dot our ‘I’s’, and initial the letters “ST” on the dotted line.
The Fiesta ST bears Ford’s excellent 1.6-liter turbocharged EcoBoost four-cylinder, good for 197 horsepower and 202 lb-ft of torque, which might not seem like much, but from the seat of the tiny five-door hatch – it’s more than enough. Zero to 60 mph is handled in around 6.9 seconds, easily making it one of the fastest cars in the segment.
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Surely though, the front-drive ST isn’t just a straight-line performer, rather, it feels more like a grown-up go-kart. The combination of quick electric power steering and a firm yet responsive suspension tune gives the spicy Fiesta truly point and squirt handling.
The ST’s slick six-speed manual only helps its case. Gearshifts feel bolt-action smooth and ample power across the rev-range makes for easy everyday use without having to tap-dance on the pedals constantly. Though you just might want to. High-rev shifts are met with a hearty bellow from the ST’s dual exhaust. Quite addicting we will admit.
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Inside, the Ford packs in a bevy of premium materials – fine plastics, chrome and leather – as well as the MyFord Touch infotainment system in an arrangement that feels fairly intuitive. This model came spec’d with the optional Recaro racing seats, which hugged nicely, though at a $1,995 premium, we’d probably snip these from the order sheet.
On the outside, the ST features sporty new-for-2014 styling, on point with its larger Ford Focus ST brother, as well as 17-inch wheels and grippy summer tires.
Any downsides? Of course. For taller drivers, rear visibility out of the ST hatchback is a bit poor and its ride quality over bumpier pavement feels harsher than other Fiesta models, as well as some of its competitors. Likewise, the rear seats aren’t exactly what you’d call spacious and their inability to fold flat will leave you keeping your larger items at home.
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Against its competitors, though, the ST appears to be good value for money. The less-powerful Fiat 500 Abarth and Mini Cooper S both cost more in base trim ($22,195 and $24,100, respectively) compared to the $21,400 Fiesta ST, though options like the Recaro package can boost its price significantly, even above the 252-horsepower Focus ST ($23,600).
If we’re honest, those quibbles are mere bumps in the road for the fun-loving hot hatch. Complete with glue-like slot car handling, upscale features and styling, as well as impressive fuel efficiency – 26mpg city and 35mpg highway – the Ford Fiesta ST comes out as a winner in our book.
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