I can't say I've ever been much of a Ford guy. Haven't driven too many of them except for a couple of rentals. Focus, Mustang, all standard. Nothing that made me excited, that is, until now. The Fiesta ST opened my eyes to something completely new, and it's pretty cool to finally say: "Now here's a great car!"
It's no secret that the Sport Technologies (ST) versions of Ford's models are the stuff that reigns supreme on the roads of Europe, yet until recent years had been a strictly Euro-only thing, that is, until Ford brought the Focus ST over, and soon, the Fiesta ST in 2014. Launched originally in '05 in the European market as a hatchback, the US (sadly) will only see a 5-door hatch making its way over with a 1.6-liter, 4-cylinder EcoBoost motor that's primed to deliver 197hp and 202lb-ft and mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.
Ford was kind enough to give us a couple of hours to cruise the winding roads of the Angeles Crest Highway, just a few miles north of Los Angeles. Even in standard city driving, there was an undeniable cool factor about the way the Fiesta ST's engine revved up and only as you apply your foot to the gas pedal will you truly bring it to life. A low hum creeps up into your eardrums, not in an annoying tin can rattle sort of way, and buzzes harmoniously as you shift from one gear to the next. Once we reached the less traveled stretch of road that the Angeles Crest Highway allows, the drive became even more exciting. It handles remarkably well, not at all something that I was expecting, taking turns and the occasional straight-lines like a champ. The suspension is nice and tight, stiff at times but a necessity that ties in well with the ST heritage. Up and down a good 25 miles or so of road wasn't enough time but plenty to satisfy my quench for fun driving.
The next natural thought that came to mind was, "How would I modify this?" Yet, with the Fiesta ST, I had a hard time finding any faults really, except that it still won't come to our market as a 3-door. Regardless, it's surprisingly fresh and fast out of the box, and that's a rare thing these days. Of course, a little extra bump in power and dropping it down with a proper set of aftermarket wheels wouldn't be a bad thing either.
That New Car Smell
2014 Ford Fiesta ST
The Sticker starting from $21,400
Engine 1.6L GTDI inline-four EcoBoost engine
The Power 197hp at 6,350rpm; 202lb-ft at 4,200rpm
Scale Tipping 2,742lbs
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmission 6-speed MT
Footwork & Chassis Independent MacPherson front strut with 19mm stabilizer bar; rear twist beam with gas-charged shocks
Wheels & Tires 17" alloys with summer performance tires
At the Pump 26/35 (city/highway projected)
The Competition Mini Cooper S, Chevy Sonic RS
Deep Thoughts The Fiesta ST may not have had us instantly at "hello," but it didn't take long for it to win our hearts. Very cool car that's worth checking out.