By on August 23, 2013

ST1

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is finally here! When I found out that I’d be covering the Fiesta ST for TTAC in place of E-I-C pro tem Jack Baruth, said E-I-C offering some lame excuse about pneumonia, I went over the comment sections of previous ST posts to find out what the B&B were wondering about. I received information on the car from Ford engineers over lunch, then had the Fiesta ST for about 3 hours on back roads around Ann Arbor, and here’s what I found out.

We often hear Americans complain that the U.S. doesn’t get the same cars as Europe, especially the “hot hatches”. Not this time. It’s pretty much the same car the Euros get. Just like theirs, ours is developed in Germany and picks up its engine in England. However, Fiesta ST production for North America will be sourced from Mexico. No matter, if you buy one, your neighbors will assume you bought an “American” car. One that’s the size of a Mini.

Some respect is due to Ford for their new dedicated performance team that worked on this car. Ford recently took Europe’s Ford Team RS and North America’s SVT unit and combined them into one group. The mission of this new group, according to Chief Engineer of Global Performance Vehicles Jamal Hameedi, is to, “create excitement and value for the Ford brand with an inspirational and profitable product line-up for performance enthusiasts.” The goal was to develop a global performance DNA that can be felt in all of their performance cars regardless of model. Each of their global performance cars should have a similar feel in the way they drive, steer, handle, ride, sound, and more. As far as I can tell Ford is the only OEM doing anything like that. The engineers we met with made it a point to say that they fought hard to insure Americans received the same car as the Europeans did. There would be no dumbing down of the car this time. Ford insists that any differences in horsepower ratings are due to testing variances by country.

When you pay the extra cash for an ST, you don’t just get the engine. You get: trapezoidal grill with honeycomb mesh to optimize cooling, rear diffuser, ST body kit, spoiler, 17” wheels, optional Recaro seats, ST leather wrapped steering wheel, ST gear shift knob, aluminum pedals, dual chrome tipped exhaust, fog lamps, automatic temperature control, push button start, larger brakes with rear discs, and sound symposer. The engine is exclusively mated to a transmission with six gears and a third pedal.

Insert applause here.

Of course the biggest difference between the ST and a base Fiesta is under the short hood. Ford’s GTDI 197 hp (as long as you spring for 93 octane fuel), EcoBoost 1.6 I4 delivers 202 ft lbs of torque @ 4,200 rpm. It does zero-60 in 6.9 second with a top speed of 137mph. Ford claims you should be able to see 26mpg city and 35mpg highway “easy”. For some reason, I did not come close to that during my test drive. It’s all electronically assisted by Ford’s Torque Vectoring Control (TVC) system to brake the inside front wheel to aid agility, and 3-mode Electronic Stability Control. The three modes are:

ON = intervenes fully to prevent loss of control,

WIDE SLIP (or sport) = ESC intervenes later to allowing skidding, and

OFF = no intervention.

The TVC is always on regardless what you do with the ESC. Peak power is made in “overboost” mode, when the turbo is putting in a maximum of 21 psi. To stretch the engine’s durability, Ford programmed the computer to cut pressure after 20 seconds at wide-open throttle. As hard as I tried I couldn’t reach that 20-second barrier. Surprisingly Ann Arbor does not have any salt flats nearby. Unless you’re fleeing the cops (see below), you’ll probably never feel the turbo cut out, and if you do, just lift for a second and the timer resets.

I have to admit that I really liked the “sound symposer”. It’s a BMW-Z4-style tube that pipes sound from the top of the engine through a port in the firewall and into the cabin, similar to the one in the Focus ST, except without a valve to control it. I found the sound quite pleasing with the windows up, but surprisingly, the engine doesn’t sound that loud with the windows down and you can’t hear the symposer at all then.

sound symposer

Our Fiesta ST came with the Recaro package that includes partial leather front heated seats and heated mirrors for an additional $1,995. The seats felt snug on my 6’0” 175lbs frame but fit perfectly. If you’re any bigger than me I’m afraid they may be a little tight. In fact, the side support of the seats was so snug on me that it actually hurt to leave my keys in my pocket. If you choose this package, just know you’ll have to empty your pockets every time you get in the car to avoid having your gum wrapper imprinted on your leg. After 3 hours the seats were still reasonably comfortable in every other way. If you pass on the Recaro package you will receive the base Fiesta seats, with an ST cover over top.

Recaro seat

I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of what driving the Fiesta ST reminds me of and it finally came to me. It feels very similar to driving the brand new 1997 Honda Prelude that my dad let me drive in high school. The horsepower, 0-60 times, and heck even back seat space are almost identical. The Prelude was a sports car through and through with what I considered at the time to be neck snapping power and crisp handling. While sitting in the ST, you forget you are driving a B-segment 5-door hatchback. With better low-end torque than the Prelude, I dare say it may be even a little more fun. The shifter felt very light and there was power on demand when you needed it. You can floor the throttle almost at will and it never struggles for speed, or to find grip for that matter. Though the power is fun, it isn’t enough to make you feel out of control.

ST2

Unlike the Prelude, with its pronounced lack of low-end torque, the ST has a turbo that kicks in very early. On the highway there is no need to downshift, just step on it and let the turbo take over. In 6th gear, I went from 70 to 80mph is about 3 seconds. Plenty quick enough for a highway pass. The 17″ rims with low profile summer only tires stuck to the ground. Not being any sort of trained performance driver, I pushed the car as much as I felt comfortable in the twisting back roads. I’m sure I was nowhere near the limits, which is right were most of the buyers will spend their time, but I had a blast. The car is very difficult to get any tire squeal or understeer out of.

Based on my amateur test, 1st gear took me to 30mph where a very smooth limiter kicked in. Instead of the violent shaking some rev limiters give you; this one just holds the speed at 30 waiting patiently for you to decide to shift without any excitement at all. 2nd gear found me reaching 58mph, and 3rd took me to 85mph.

Surprisingly Ford sent us down some roads that were rather bumpy. I should say they felt rather bumpy in the Fiesta anyway. Compared with the Focus ST, which starts $2300 higher, Ford pushed the Fiesta a little further with its tight suspension. They did this partly because of what they learned from the Focus and partly because they believe the Fiesta ST will appeal to a younger audience who will appreciate that. Traveling on the highway and other relatively smooth roads you don’t even notice the stiffer suspension. When the road gets rough however, the harsh ride will get your teeth chattering. Despite the rough road and the Fiesta’s uncompromising approach to it, I noticed no rattles or body flex.

ST3

If you want rear seat room, this isn’t the car for you. In high school my only concern regarding rear seat room was seeing how many people we could physically fit in the Prelude (the answer is seven, including 1 in the trunk, on the way home from a Matchbox 20 concert). As a side note, learning that trying to see how many adults you can fit in a car is somehow not socially acceptable has got to be one of the worst things about growing up. Now I choose cars based on how they fit golf clubs — and car seats.

Car seats are tough in the Fiesta, but possible. Rear facing is not practical unless your passenger is very short. Even front facing can be challenge. At my height, I wouldn’t be able to have a car seat safely behind me, but one would fit behind my considerably shorter wife. Adults (with legs) would not be comfortable in the back seat behind me for much more than a quick trip. Even getting into the back seat is tough because of the larger Recaro seats.

car seat

People buy hatchbacks because of their useful space for storing things, like golf clubs, right? Well… nope. Not in this case. Unless you fold down the rear seats (which creates a nice storage area even though the seats do not fold flat), you aren’t hitting the links.

golf club
Trunk3

I found the seating position perfect for my height, and that was assisted by the telescoping steering wheel being pushed all the way in. The pedals were small leaving just enough room for a dead pedal, though it was tight. The ST comes with HD radio, 2 USB ports, an auxiliary input, SD card reader, SYNC with MyFord Touch and 6.5” screen, and Sony premium sound system. Ours also added the optional Navigation. The stereo was good for this segment of cars, but the word “premium” is being used loosely in this case.

interior

Forgoing all common sense on a 90 degree day I decided to give the readers what they want and find out how well the seat heaters in the Recaros work. You’ll be happy to learn they take you from zero to swamp butt in less than 1 minute. Very impressive.

At $22,195, including delivery charge, the retail price is nearly $7,000 more than the least-expensive Fiesta hatchback (the one I drove was priced at $24,985). The standard 205/40 performance summer tires it comes with were great, but since they don’t recommend using them in temperatures under 40 degrees it guarantees buyers who live north of the Mason-Dixon line will have to purchase of another set pushing that cost up. The Fiesta ST comes with more standard features than the Focus ST because 85-90% of the buyers for the latter car have been choosing loaded cars anyway, so Ford figured that this time they would just give Fiesta buyers the full whack.

So what are the competitors to a B-segment car with 197 hp that can get 26/35mpg for about $22K? The Honda Fit Sport feels bigger but it’s not even comparable to drive. The Mini Cooper S? Nope, it only has 181 hp and starts at over $28K and the JCW Edition is another $7,000 higher. What about the Fiat 500 Abarth? Not when you lose 1 gear and 37 hp for the same price. The Chevy Sonic RS? It’s a little cheaper but at 138 hp it’s a completely different car. If I were cross shopping a Fiesta ST, I’d be driving it back-to-back with the Hyundia Veloster Turbo that has almost exactly the same horsepower, mileage, torque, cost, and even the exact same rear leg room at 31”. Well, the Veloster and maybe a 1997 Honda Prelude.

An interesting comment made by an engineer was that the engine was designed for 150,000 miles / 10 year durability. Cue all the comments about how new turbos won’t last. When I questioned that they explained that it is pretty standard to design engines to that specification and most their gas engines would be the same.

ST4

This being TTAC, I feel it is my duty to share a few gripes I have with the car as well. If the U.S. is supposedly getting the same car as the European ST, then why do they get the 3-door and we only have the 5-door available? Ford says it is because the plant in Mexico is already outfitted for the 5-door and does not have the tooling to build a 3-door, and importing from Europe would be too expensive. The 5-door that America is getting has the exact wheelbase (98”) as the 3-door, though it does weigh about 130 pounds more.

The trunk is poorly designed. The load height is high which is nice, but what exactly is under the trunk floor? Well, nothing for about 5 inches. It’s just wasted space in a trunk that desperately needs more cargo room. The base Fiesta has a plastic cargo storage bin in that area. Unfortunately the Fiesta ST has a full size spare that is just barely too large to use the same piece of plastic. Instead of designing a new piece to fit in that space, I was told, “We checked what we had on the shelf, and didn’t find anything.” So they left the space empty. That’s weak sauce Ford, weak sauce.

Trunk2 Trunk3

The steering wheel mounted audio controls have a raised button in the middle that turns the voice controls on. The problem is that when driving with your hands on the wheel, it is very difficult to change channels or advance the audio track without hitting the mic button that is popping up. Controls should only be on the steering wheel if they are intuitive enough that you can use them without looking. There are also separate on and off buttons to control the cruise on the steering wheel, but no way to actually tell if it’s currently on. The adjuster to tilt the seat back is located way too far back on the base of the seat making it difficult to use. The door armrest ends before it even reaches my elbow.

seat adjuster

The backseat headrests are enormous blocking much of your rear visibility. The good thing is that with the push of a button they can be folded down.

headrest

Ford added a push button start, but still use the same piece of plastic over the steering column but just cover where the key would normally go. My last gripe is that $22K is a lot for a B segment car. So don’t think of it as that, think of it as a sports car. In that case, its biggest competitor may be sitting across from it in the same showroom, the Focus ST.

The Fiesta does look good. So good, in fact, that it attracts considerable police attention. At least mine did. As the police officer approached I did what I always do in these situations, and asked myself, “What would Michael Schumacher do?” So I blamed the car. Upon returning home I googled, “Has anyone been pulled over by a cop driving the yet unreleased Fiesta ST in America?” and nothing came up. Since I checked everywhere I could think of I’d say it is safe to say that makes me the first. Police precincts in search of additional income take note: the on sale date has not been set, but we were guaranteed it would be before September 21st.

cop

We will end with a bit of trivia. Can anyone name the 3 best-selling Ford nameplates of all time? I’ll give you a second to think.

ST5

The F-series, the Escort… and the Fiesta (the Fiesta has sold over 16 million units since 1976). But, will the Fiesta ST add any sales to the nameplate? Honestly, probably not. It’s a great car, but even Ford doesn’t seem to have any expectations for it. When asked what kind of sales figured they hope to achieve they responded, “We don’t have any sales expectations, we will build to meet demand.” To compare, the Focus ST accounts for 5-6% of all Focus sales.

The normal Fiesta doesn’t excite me, but the ST has really piqued my interest. I heard other journalist say it could be a modern day CRX. I’d have to say it’s a modern day Prelude.

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156 Comments on “Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    Let me go ahead and wish Mr. Baruth good health, pneumonia is some serious stuff, I got it in about 3rd grade and have had a chronic cough for all these years since, my throat is badly messed up.
    Get well man!

    Now, the car, it seems like it will definately kill its competition, though I question who the heck wants to listen to the bumble bee under the hood…
    Still can’t get over how hideous it is as well, but if people buy it, more power to ‘em.

    Excellent review by the way.

  • avatar
    Frownsworth

    Full-sized spare! I’m not sure about the desirability of enlarged nostrils look that the ST now shares with a few other cars.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    150,000 mile durability just doesn’t sound all that great in this 200,000 mile world.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      Problem is the don’t always get what they aim for. Unless the target for Windstars was 30k miles for head gasket and transmissions.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      150k miles for a high performance engine is pretty good. We aren’t talking about a normally aspirated, 2.0, inline-4, powering a grandma driven Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      It depends on how they define 150,000 mile durability. If they mean that the engine is completely worn out, burning as much oil as fuel, and grenades itself after 150,000 miles, I agree it doesn’t sound all that great. If they mean that the components are designed to require no repairs for 150,000 miles, but you might have to replace a gasket or a sensor or even the turbocharger at around that time, then I think that’s acceptable.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        Agreed with seg.

      • 0 avatar
        hf_auto

        The long-form of reliability targets is typically something like “99.5% reliability over _____ miles in ____ application with 95% statistical confidence.” The 150k miles described here is most likely something along those lines.

        That example means 95% confidence that 99.5% of your engines will have no failures in 150k miles. We often keep tests running until failure (which is often MUCH higher), but statistical confidence drops and you can’t really quote those numbers. It’s just rare to start talking confidence intervals in marketing context as that’s usually lost on the customer looking for an appliance.

  • avatar
    IndianaDriver

    Good looking car and a nice review. I would expect the real world highway mpg to be higher with this size of car.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I suspect the gearing is to blame here. I would guess the engine is turning over 2500RPM or so at 70mph.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Hwy mileage for tiny cars is typically not great because they are too short compared to their cross section area to get ideal aerodynamics.

      • 0 avatar
        JuniperBug

        This. People think that if the tiny car didn’t have such low gearing, which those oh-so-ignorant engineers saddled it with, it would get 60 MPG and all you’d have to do is downshift to pass.

        The fact is that small cars often have bad aerodynamics, so they need the lower gearing just to be able to push the air out of the way at highway speeds with their little engines. This comes up in the Miata forums sometimes, and people get all hurt when I quote the brick-like cD of that car (well over 0.4, depending on year and whether the top is up), and tell them that’s the real reason it gets lousy highway economy and turns 4,000 RPM at 75 MPH, and not because Mazda engineers underestimated the willingness of the white-haired, leather-gloved target market to downshift in order to go up a slight grade.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Cd is only half the story. Small cars also have usually smaller frontal area, which in large part cancels out the increase. I would actually put most of the blame on the short gearing. Back in the day, going from the close-ratio box to the diesel wide-ratio box on my ’84 Jetta GLI was good for 5mpg. And a much quieter cruise too!

          I would say this car is a DIRECT competitor for the Abarth. You get an extra gear, more hp, and nicer seats, but the Fiat is probably more fun, is certainly cuter, and doesn’t need a “sound symposer” to sound fantastic.

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            Yes, the smaller frontal area does to an extent make up for the lousy cD, but you’re still left with a small, low-powered engine compared to a bigger car. And vehicle mass has surprisingly little to do with how efficiently a car cruises at high speed. Take a look at what a 500 lb motorcycle does in terms of highway fuel efficiency compared to a 3500 lb sedan; they’re much closer than you’d ever expect them to be.

            Putting a diesel tranny in a GLI no doubt helped highway fuel economy, but at what expense? If you would’ve taken back-to-back readings of 0-60, I bet there would have been a big difference, which was exactly why the GLI – the sport version of the Jetta – was given a close-ratio box in the first place. Ditto the Miata. People are funny in that they tell themselves they want a sporty car, and then they wish for – or even change – things to compromise the sportiness in favour of practicality. It just goes to show you that there’s a reason why Corollas and Camrys sell so well: despite what even the “driving enthusiasts” say, at the end of the day people want their cars to be appliances.

            By the way, I owned a ’92 Jetta (8 valve gas), and often did long road trips in it. Despite cruising at 4,000 RPM for literally hours on end, it could return a solid 35 MPG at 75 MPH cruise. To this day I miss the 500+ mile highway range of that thing. I felt that even though the gearing was low, it was very well thought out for the characteristics of that car, and it went about the business of accelerating down the road very respectably for a 100 hp sedan. Despite the “low” gearing, VW engineers were confident enough of its high speed prowess to publish a second set of tire pressure values on the door jamb for when you intended to exceed 100 MPH, a speed I can attest that the car could easily sustain.

          • 0 avatar

            @JuniperBug>

            My bike over the last 2 years hasn’t done under 42mpg and as high was 48mpg. That is with a lot of cruising at 7000-8000rpm.

            YMMV of course.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @Juniperbug

            Cost was $75 for a junkyard tranny and an afternoon of my time. I was commuting 250 miles to school and back most weekends, so well worth it. Through the gears performance was not significantly affected. Obviously, IN GEAR performance was much lower, but that is why you have the ability to downshift. The torquey 1.8l in the light A1 Jetta did just fine with the double-overdrive box, as would most small cars today.

            I have no doubt that my Abarth would do rather better with a nice tall 6th gear. It certainly has the power. I can’t complain about 34mpg on a trip though, even at 3500+ rpm. Small does not necessarily equal low-powered today.

          • 0 avatar
            GeneralMalaise

            sound symposer??? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I thought that nonsense was limited to BMW.

          • 0 avatar

            krhodes1 is right. The smaller frontal area offsets the defficiency in drag. It’s about the gearing. All you have to do is make a long fifth and you’re ready for lower rpms and higher mileage. Though that would mean more gear changes, like reducing to fourth to pass. Well worth it in my book. Small cars like these, with such huge engines really benefit from a 6th speed manual.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Funny that Ford can fit a full size spare in this B car and the engineers at BMW can’t even figure out how to fit a doughnut.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      Or at least SPACE for a doughnut!

    • 0 avatar
      rehposolihp

      Its the battery’s fault. That and 50/50 weight distribution.

      But a spare would be nice…

    • 0 avatar
      kosmo

      Or a rear seat that actually folds flat in vehicles as big as an X3 and X5!

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      BMW chose not to fit a spare, since they have committed to run flat tires. I personally don’t care, I haven’t had a flat in 25 years, and I would not change a tire on the side of the road in these distracted driving times anyway. I run non-rft tires on my 328i, and will get a tow if the worst happens. In the mean time, I have a little extra cargo room, and am dragging around less weight.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Speaking of flat tires, the ones fitted to this Fiesta are 205/40R17. 82mm isn’t much sidewall. I’ve seen plenty of cars with extremely low profile aftermarket wheel/tire packages on the sides of the roads around here. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fiesta ST owners become familiar with the joys of having to order unusual sized tires and wheel repair services.

  • avatar
    brettc

    It’s great that they’re offering this in the U.S., looks like a fun little car. The not so great thing is “we will build to meet demand”. Obviously Ford isn’t Mitsubishi but that sounds like something you’d hear from Mitsubishi or Suzuki when they were alive.

    What happened with the cop? Ticket, or just a warning?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Fink

      Haha, just a warning. Thankfully. I played it cool though. And by “played it cool” I mean that I prayed and possible shed a tear. After explaining the situation the officer said, “Tell Ford to have you go on interstate 94 next time, you can go a lot faster there.” Will do.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      Is Mitsubishi officially dead? A Subaru dealership near my office took down their sign this week and now has fancy new Mitsubishi ones. Color me confused.

  • avatar
    segfault

    The sound symposer sounds like a better solution than VW’s electronic “soundaktor” speaker, which sounds very fake and is sometimes out of sync with engine revs. I disconnected the one in my GLI.

    No dual clutch gearbox = no sale, for me at least.

  • avatar
    vvk

    This is NOT a sports car. A sports car should be light, short and rear wheel drive. This one is a hot hatch.

  • avatar

    I regularly rent Ford Fiestas (non-ST) here in Europe and enjoy the excellent handling and good manual shifting enough to consider buying one although the base model is really underpowered. The ST sounds like a fun and fairly practical sports-car alternative but from this review it seems that for only 10% more you can have the larger Focus ST which is faster, somewhat roomier and doesn’t use much more gas. Does the Fiesta ST make sense in this context? The situation seems similar to the situation here in Germany where you don’t see many Audi A3s because they cost almost as much as an A4. Incidentally, every car mag here hates Ford instrument panels with a passion, invariably describing them as “Unübersichtlich,” or totally confusing.

    • 0 avatar
      mannygg

      I recently rented a base Fiesta in Croatia and thought it was really good. Did the drive from Pag island (near Zadar) to Dubrovnik no problem. Handled great in the small country roads and well enough on the highway too. Definitely under-powered for a car to actually buy, but i’m sure the ST would address this and then some…

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      Yes! “unübersichtlich” controls (also “hässlich” ) are what keep me from buying a Focus. I don’t understand why Ford keeps doing this. Furthermore, SYNC is still a meddling, intrusive disaster. Ford could learn a lot from Hyundai about how to make attractive, logical controls and user-friendly infotainment systems. Ford could teach them, in turn, how to design steering and suspension systems. LOL

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    0-60 sounds sluggish for the amount of power in such a small car. Is it the 2-3 upshift at 58mph that kills it?

    How about this for a comparison: 2013 Accord Sport 6spd. Cost is about the same, for which you get a sweet revving Honda 4 with a slick gearbox, oodles more passenger and cargo room, equal or better acceleration (atleast 0-60), and undoubtedly better reliability/longevity/build quality. I’m sure the Accord would come up short in steering feel and flingability, not to mention ‘hot-hatch’ looks. Or heck look at a 2013 Civic Si, that’s a more direct competitor.

    • 0 avatar
      thornmark

      Accord will also get better mpg.

      A consistent theme in virtually all reviews of Ford products is that the Ecoboost engines uniformly deliver poor mpg while being slower than normally aspirated competitive engines.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      I agree…

      This thing has almost 200 hp, weighs 2740 lbs, and does 0-60 in 6.9 (officially). Car and driver estimated it at 6.7 seconds. It also has 85 cubic feet of interior space, and 10 cubic feet of cargo space.

      The Scion tC has about 20 less hp, weighs 300 lbs more, and the 0-60 time is reported anywhere between 6.9 (Car&Driver) and 7.6 (official PR). Interior volume is 90 cubes, cargo is 15. It starts at $19,965.

      The interior is cheap… just like a Fiesta. There’s a lot of road noise… just like a Fiesta. People will assume you’re some punk hourly-wage 20-something… just like a Fiesta. The biggest downside is the steering feel – it’s a bit numb, and I haven’t driven a Fiesta to comment. But, you have a useable back seat, useable cargo space, and with an understressed 2.5L Camry engine, it should be more durable, and important for small cars: 5-star vs. 4-star overall NCAP. The difference in fuel economy would be around $200/year, assuming that the EPA ratings are reliable for the Ford (forced induction… mmmhmmm)

      Very cool write-up though! It’s cool to see small cars, hot hatches, etc. appearing on these shores more frequently. And with a man-pedal and everything!

      And I agree with the previous comments regarding the 3-door. There’s almost zero trunk space. The back seat is tiny. This will rarely be a 4-5 passenger vehicle, and the rear seats will spend most of their time folded flat. A 3 door makes more sense, make the front seat more hospitable*, and it will look better.

      *if you are long-legged and slide the front seat all the way back in most B and C segment cars, the door armrest is too far forward, the B-pillar is next to your face, and if poorly designed, the seatbelt might not stay in contact with your shoulder.

    • 0 avatar
      wcpfour

      I was wondering about a comparison to the Civic Si as well. Similar price point, power, and equipment, but Honda has more space and has better quality reputation.

      • 0 avatar
        Jacob

        Honda Civic SI is a fast car, but not the tight handling car it used to be. It has lots of under-steer, big body lean in turns, and uncommunicative power steering. If viewed as a sporty daily driven car, it still a good value. Check the Civic SI vs Jetta GLI comparison on this web site. The Jetta GLI isn’t really a lot more expensive. The base model costs about the same.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Why not a school bus? Plenty of room in those. Sheesh.

      Some people don’t buy cars by the pound. If all you need is a car the size of a Fiesta, why would you buy a boat like an Accord?

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Point taken on the “car by the pound” but the Fiesta just seems downright cramped. As others have said, might as well just make it a 3 door. When I was looking for a compact commuter, I didn’t so much as test drive a Focus after I saw just how little room there was in the passenger compartment, not just for passengers but for the driver. Reading the review, sounds like dynamically it’s fairly decent, but it doesn’t set the world on fire either. How does it compare to the Civic Si’s torque rich K24? Overall the car just strikes me as an inferior Golf GTI, or inferior Focus ST for that matter.

        • 0 avatar

          hey gtemnykh! Comparing this car to an Accord shows you really don’t get this car, which is fine. The Accord is a fine car in its own right but it’s different from this one. Like the Focus and Golf are different, too. The compact size of the Fiesta makes for a very fun and tossable car, even more so than the Focus. I don’t think you can call it inferior cause it depends on what you want.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Why take the Accord? Better mileage, better performance, better quality, the ability to speed without attracting attention, plus all the benefits of a big car. I’m tempted by the Accord Sport, and not by much of anything else on the market. The current Civic Si sedan is faster than all the turbos except for the Mazda 3, which has been known to wear out owners pretty quickly. I have the previous Civic Si sedan, which still appeals but can’t touch the Accord Sport for mileage and needs premium fuel. All that holds me back is that I love driving my old Civic and the $9K delta between what it’s worth and the cost of a new Accord Sport buys lots of high test.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Fink

      I agree with the Accord and Civic Si, but since they are in a different class it’s hard to compare. They both are much more livable space though. The ST doesn’t feel sluggish, so I assume that 2nd shift hurts the time a little.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I would assume that like the Abarth it is also very much traction limited off the line. You basically cannot use full throttle in sport mode in 1st gear, because either you just activate the traction control, or with TCS off the wheels go up in smoke. Having to shift twice also is bound to hurt.

        But ultimately, WHO CARES? Why does anyone actually care what the numerical 0-60 time is? Do you only drive in rapid bursts from standing to highway speed? I am MUCH more interested in in-gear acceleration, and passing performance, and just in general how much fun the thing is to fling around like a maniac. My Abarth is pretty much the most fun I have with my clothes on, and I imagine that the Fiesta can give it a good run for the money.

        I would say that the B&B baffle me, but the fact that so many wingnuts on here love Panthers pretty much says it all.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      I’m surprised by that as well. I would expect MUCH better acceleration at least!

      This seems like one of those vehicles like the Harley Davidson XR1200 Sportster, where ‘fans’ plead for it to be released on American shores, but it just won’t sell in the end. It doesn’t have the Mini’s charm, the Abarth’s novelty, the SI or GTI’s pedigrees, and the Scion tC’s bargain price (which also was tested at 6.9 sec 0-60 despite 300 more pounds and 20 less HP). And, if you can get one of these that has a naturally aspirated engine, it will be more durable and (probably) give better real world fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Fink

        Good call about the Scion tC, forgot about that one.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Stop with the tC. Why don’t we compare the Fiesta ST with the Lexus HS. Two types of people buy a Scion tC:

        1) Parents who own a Camry or Lexus ES and are buying their 17 year old child’s first car.

        2) Someone who walks into a Scion dealer and plays enie meanie minie mo. Then purchases mo.

        Edited for maturity and higher standards

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        Wow, did I wander into Autoblog? I thought this was a more mature site with a higher standard of conduct. My mistake, I’m sure there’s something wrong with my browser.

        /31, married, 48,000 miles on a paid-off ’11 tC that I bought after carefully researching a test-driving different cars.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I don’t know what’s more ludicrous, me saying that only two type of people buy a tC, or the suggestion that the tC is a Fiesta ST competitor.

          My stereoypes may be hyperbole, the tC may be a good deal, very reliable, and people cross shop everything, but its no GTI/Si/ST/Speed3/etc.

          • 0 avatar
            afflo

            The Fiesta ST is no GTI/Si/MazdaSpeed3 either. It’s a size class below these cars. The Scion tC, on the other hand, is a C-class car… sorta.

            It’s always been a bit of an oddball – It’s purportedly in the compact class, but it’s more or less a coupe version of a midsize car (the Avensis), with a midsize car engine (the Camry). I brought it up because if you’re going to consider the Accord as a left-field alternative, this one is MUCH more relevant… and because I thought it was a bit silly to market an “ST” car that can’t easily best a 4-cylinder midsize.

          • 0 avatar
            epsilonkore

            bball40dtw : Lets keep it all in check shall we, the tC is not a Fiesta ST competitor anymore than the Accord Coupe is. Nor is the base tC without the TRD springs/shocks/sway and supercharger a competitor to a GTI, SI… more of a Golf and Civic. With the supercharger and suspension upgrades it IS a SI/GTI competitor (though you rarely see it trimmed that way in comparisons). I am not saying its the best even when trimmed with the TRD options, but at least then the performance numbers, price ($4500 buys lots of TRD options), and actual drivability of the car wont be as out of line with a GTI/Si.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I don’t consider an Accord a competitor to the Fiesta ST either. 0-60 in not the primary basis for comparison in vehicles. Otherwise, I would suggest my used, 17 foot long, 5000 lb, MkT as a Fiesta ST competitor because its faster and cost me about the same. The Avensis like the Accord (Acura TSX) everywhere else, falls somewhere between the C and D segments.

            Pretty much all the hot hatches aren’t as fast as a V6 Camry. The Fiesta ST is a fun to drive, tossable, relatively cheap, interesting car. Its not about straight line speed. The Fiat 500 Abarth is an awesome little car, and I don’t care that it has a 0-60 time in the 7s.

            I will say that the tC is a good value if someone is looking for a sporty FWD car and they don’t rule out a coupe. I’d have to look at the TRD package as I’m not very familiar with it. I do know that $600-2500 goes a long way on a GTI. Any GTI or GLI owner will tell you that an APR, or similar, chip is the best $600 you will ever spend on a car.

          • 0 avatar
            afflo

            The tC is in kind of an odd-duck category… It’s more performance oriented than the standard C-class cars, but less so than the ST/Si/whatever editions that are typically $2500-5000 more, and often aren’t even available as coupes or three-door hatches. It also has a different driving position than the typical economy car, or sport-variant: low seats, high beltline, low roof – the driving position is very similar to a Camaro; many reviewers find it claustrophobic.

            The Accord references are interesting. My two runners-up were the Accord EX Coupe (nearly impossible to find with a stick shift) and the Mustang V6 (no space in the rear seats, and I couldn’t find one with a moonroof anywhere). When I test drove it, and realized that it was $5000 less, for most of the Accord’s features, more back seat legroom, and better handling, I was sold… and that was before I found out about a $1000 military rebate.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The only tC I’ve driven is the first gen. I’ll have to check it out again. I do like how all the additional accessories are a la carte and there doesn’t seem to be super expensive packages. Ford does that with the Focus SE. You might as well buy an ST or Titanium by the time you add Nav and the appearance package.

            The people I know that have have Mustangs with moonroofs had them put on aftermarket. When I’ve ordered cars I’ve purposely not checked the moonrood box, but I love the dual panel panoramic roof on my current vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            afflo

            I never drove a first generation tC. I sat in one briefly when I bought mine (they had a few ’10’s left on the lot), but no manuals.

            It’s got some shortcomings, no doubt – the interior is a sea of hard plastic, and the tire noise is high, and the steering is a tad numb… also, the firm suspension and low profile rubber makes the ride somewhat choppy. On the plus side, the engine is torquey, and it feels incredibly solid and planted – the long wheelbase and supportive seats make it good for road-trips; I’ve done plenty of 15 hour driving days in it. It’s far more comfortable and enjoyable than the Mazda3 I rented and took on several 600 mile trips over the course of a month.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      The 0-60 time is probably the manufacturer estimate, which are usually quite conservative. The 2-3 shift may be responsible for this too. Accord Sport 6MT gets to 60mph in 2nd gear. The 0-60 times are kind of meaningless anyways. Accord Sport may get to 60mph pretty fast, but will not steer the same way a truly sport tuned cars do. The ST also comes with a turbo engine with more torque, which means in real life when you suddenly need power, it will be likely available without the need to always downshift.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Since it is so impractical anyway for daily use why not just import and sell the ST as three door only? It would be a little lighter and then no one would care about the useless back seat, heck 90% of owners would leave it in the folded position 24/7.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Despite attempts to improve Fords still as stingy as ever, this is why we never got the better European Focus’s years ago (instead we got a de contended sedan).

      • 0 avatar
        Syke

        Which turned out to be a pretty good car, once all the reviewers got over their moaning that we didn’t the Focus 2.0. Of course, nobody would say that it was a nice car until the Focus 3.0 was in production. Ghod forbid we should be happy with last year’s model!

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I’d like to know how Ford improved it, I know someone with an earlier Focus sedan that shares a few characteristics with the average 90’s Ford product.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The early Focus was a world product, with multiple body styles. We even got a 3 door hatch, 4 door sedan, 5 door hatch, and 5 door wagon. The North American MKII Focus was just a restyled version while the Europe among other places got a new MKII Focus.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Because Ford isn’t importing any vehicles from Europe to the US that don’t have the words Transit and Connect in their nameplate. Even VW decided it made more sense to build the GTI in Mexico for the US market now.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I believe your assumptions about the importance of the back seat and its accessibility is incorrect.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    So what was your fuel economy like? Do you think the marks are within reach?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Fink

      I got just over 27mpg. I pushed the car some, but honestly not that much and it included some highway miles. After getting pulled over I kept it at the speed limit the rest of the time. My mileage is based on the car’s computer. I would assume the marks are within reach, but it would take discipline on the driver’s part to not ring out the engine. Which is difficult on this car when it makes such a nice sound.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      I know most Ford Fusion owners with 1.6 ecoboost struggle to get anywhere near of EPA estimated mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        Ar-Pharazon

        Not my experience at all.

        I drive a 1.6L EB Fusion with a manual trans, which has an EPA rating of 25 city/37 highway.

        I typically see about 28 mpg in mostly city driving, making no attempt to maximize FE. On a recent bit of pure highway driving with the cruise set just below 70 (east to west and back on I-696 in Detroit), I got over 40 mpg.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    Neat little car but I can’t find any compelling reason to choose this over the slightly larger, quicker, better looking Focus ST for just a thousand or so more.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I agree. The Focus hatchback is the right size for more Americans. Rear facing car seats can actually fit in one, storage space is about 75% of an Escape, and its made in America.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Depends if you go with the Recaro option or not in the Focus ST. According to Kicking Tires Blog’s car seat check, a rear facing only fits in the Recaro equipped ST with the front passenger seat all the way forward.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Most people put the car seat in the middle until they have another kid. I’ve done that in a Focus ST. Our Britax convertible car seat barely fits in the middle seat of a Fiesta ST. The seatback pushes the car seat up off the rear seat bottom. The biggest packaging issue with the Focus is how far the dashboard intrudes into the front passenger space.

          I had enough of 400-500 mile roundtrip weekends with a baby/toddler in the Focus. Buying a three row CUV has made those trips so much better. Giant crossover haters be damned.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            We tend to keep our 1 year old in the outboard positions because most cars and seats don’t allow usage of Latch in the middle position. You can use the seatbelt for the caraeat in the middle position, but there is a little more room for error when installing. We also find it easier to load/unload our kid on the sides rather than the middle.

            I definitely agree about CUVs. I completely understand why they are so popular with families that have a young one. Big doors, ergonomic lifting height to get the kid into the seat, lots of rear legroom.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey azm, I’d buy the Fiesta over the Focus. It’s more m type of car. I think itlooks better than the Focus and it’s small size makes it that much more tossable. Yes, there are people out there who would prefer this.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    I love this car. I’ll probably never get one as my current Mark VI GTI will run rings around it, but as a long-time Hot Hatch enthusiast I am delighted that such a niche vehicle is even available. What people tend to forget is how much FUN these things are to drive. Maybe not every day (the jarring ride will get old), but take one out a fling it around and watch as the enormous smile on your face develops and lingers long afterwards.

    Great review, Matt!

    • 0 avatar
      DevilsRotary86

      It sounds nice, but I agree that I wish it would just come as a 3-door. Personally though, I couldn’t see myself ever trading in my ’06 Acura RSX Type-S for this. My Acura is just a tick faster, has a more usable trunk, is a real 3-door, and while it’s entirely subjective I think my Acura’s interior looks better. Other than the fuel economy which is nice, I wouldn’t gain anything in trading in my RSX for this.

      Weird, I originally put this as a reply to Lee’s comment, then thought it would be better off as a stand alone comment. So I refreshed the page, and typed my comment at the bottom of the page. When I hit submit, it landed here anyways. Oops.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      This is something I’m seriously considering the day the xB goes into trade. Saw a Focus ST at the dealer last week. Loved it. Now, the though of the same but smaller is really nice.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Fink

      Thanks Leek!

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Leek, the Gti may be objectively better by I hardly think it’ll run circles around the little Fiesta.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    “the engine was designed for 150,000 miles / 10 year durability”

    This would’ve been acceptable for roughly any engine built in the 90’s, but these days I expect more, and someone savvy with their maintenance could probably double that mileage. Jack, does the ST use any of that “Lifetime sealed” trickery?

    I’ve seen turbo cars from the 80’s-90’s go for north of 300k on the odometer, all of them Swedish but I would think that Ford could use modern resources to beat dated Swede technology.

    • 0 avatar
      The Heisenberg Cartel

      The estimate is probably the American estimate, since it’s us who tend to be offended by the very idea of such things as preventative maintenance. Change a water pump here and a thermostat there and I’m sure it’s good for far more than 150,000.

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        Probably, the question is if its possible though with all of the anti-tamper nonsense in some modern cars.

        I never did get why people have an aversion to preventive maintenance, if they get it done at a garage thats all fine, but I think it should be a requirement prior to car ownership that the owner understand that their car is not as simple as a refrigerator.

  • avatar
    adame24

    I just wanted to point out that the Mini Cooper S starts at $23,300 not $28,000. Did you mean when similary equipped $28,000 was the cost?
    I have been checking out the Cooper S and would consider the Fiesta ST if it came in auto(I know I know).
    It may be down on HP but the Mini S looks to be faster 0-60. I assume it weighs less.
    Anyway the Mini S should not be written off as competition for the Fiesta ST.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      It should also be noted that the MINI operates in a different realm as far as how they age in the automotive landscape. Our ’05 Mini S was ordered by my wife when she finished nursing school. It stickered for $23k and we still get “nice car!” comments when we bring it out. I don’t know how to put a dollar value on it, but the car is still very charming and looks great approaching 9 years old. I would assume that would translate to high resale value if my wife could be convinced to part with it.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Fink

      Yes, thank you adame24 for catching that.

  • avatar

    Ford’s PR folks tell me that the Fiesta ST is selling way beyond expectations in Europe, and they recently stepped up production. I suspect that a lot of the potential customers here will end up taking home the Focus instead (I would), but we’ll see.

  • avatar
    chuckrs

    Front end looks like a feeding whale shark. That schnozzle opening is too big.

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t a larger engine (2.0t) in this thing. Less than 7 seconds to 60 is quick, but faster would be better, if of course, the engine could be made to fit.

  • avatar

    I appreciate the Ford’s calling enthusiasts’ bluff. We’ve asked for cars like this for 10 years now, and typically the response is that no one will buy a B-segment car for $25k when they can get a V6 Mustang or used GT for that kind of money.

    Well, here we are…who’s gonna step up and eat what they ordered?

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Because of how high the rear seat remains when folded, I suspect that the rear seat bottom cushion may be hinged at the front and flips forward, allowing the upright cushions to fold flat. This was a common feature on older versions of the Focus and Escape. A ‘flip-and-fold’ rear seat was also included on Chevy-branded Daewoos, and was available on all but the most base models of the previous generation Impala, as well.

    The only issue with the ‘flip and fold’ rear seat is it impedes front seat travel to the rear, no trivial matter on smaller cars.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I suppose we’re not counting ‘T’ as a nameplate in the Ford sales contest?

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Where are you finding Mini Cooper S’s starting at $28K? The cheapest S, the hardtop, starts at $23,300, which is pretty competitive with the ST. If you insist on 4 doors, the Countryman starts at $25,700, spendy, but significantly less than $28K.

    While I personally applaud Ford for making the ST 3-pedal only, that seems deadly for US sales. I hope they add a slushbox so they can sell enough to keep the ST model alive.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      They don’t have a dual clutch transmission for the Focus or Fiesta ST’s engines. I’m glad they didn’t put the DCT from the standard Focus and Fiesta in the ST versions. People have enough complaints about the PowerShift now and the torque in these cars wouldn’t help. I’m also glad they didn’t ruin the vehicles by offering them with a traditional automatic transmission.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Good points, but with no slushbox and the Focus sitting a few feet away in the showroom, I don’t see Ford moving enough of these to make it worth the effort. On the other hand, they already have the tooling and it’s a big mark up over the base model’s price. Will be interesting to see if it gets picked up for 2015.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      I noticed the same thing but by the time I finished typing a cpl others already pointed it out. TTAC has had a history of quoting most car’s MSRP pricing but with Minis they somehow go by what prices they see when they stroll around a dealership lot, not taking into account the options on those cars. And I am sure someone will pipe in with how they cannot possibly even consider a Mini with “base” equipment because it doesn’t include an armrest and only has 16″ rims.

      (edit – not TTAC the editors, but commenters)

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Fink

      It’s my fault, I forgot to put “similarly equipped”, which makes a difference. It was my best attempt at comparing them using pricing from miniusa.com. Thanks for catching that and pointing it out.

    • 0 avatar
      Blackcloud_9

      Yes, the Mini Cooper S “starts” @ $23,300 and for that price, you the front windshield and all of the air that is in the cabin. If you option it up to similarly equipped as this Fiesta ST (as I just did on the Mini configurator) it easily passes $28k.

  • avatar
    SoCalledMillennial

    I drove the Focus ST a month or so ago at this Ford Ecoboost Challenge thing. Basically did two ~30 second laps on an autocross course. I thought the car felt very premium for its segment. The interior is much nicer than the photos suggest (good materials, nice seating position, nice steering wheel). I found the steering and shifter to feel kind of distant/disconnected, but then I usually drive an NA Miata. The handling was superb for a FWD car… don’t know if it’s the torque vectoring, or whatever, but this car made me really think that maybe new tech can actually make FWD cars decent handlers. The power is very much adequate, especially for tight curves and shorter straightaways, but it’s not bonkers fast. I don’t think you’d complain as long as you’re not drag racing. Recaros are nice but almost felt like overkill; you really sit in them as opposed to on them (I preferred the Recaros in my old 1990 Jetta GLI). The car struck me as a really good value. Sure it’s a subcompact, but it’s really loaded at this price. You could probably get something bigger or better performing at the same cost, but offers the complete package. If anyone gets a chance to go to the Ford Challenge thing, I’d recommend it.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I like that Ford decided to sell this, but I think it is going to be tough sell in the US. I love hot hatches but I doubt I would buy one of these, for the price it just doesn’t seem premium enough, practical enough, or perform enough.

    The Mini Cooper S starts at just under $24k (not $28k as you wrote), the GTI is a little more than $24k but they discount them, and neither of them needs the seat upgrades to make it worthwhile. The Abarth is definitely a competitor regardless of HP, the performance is similar or better, someone already mentioned the Civic Si which I think will be directly cross-shopped, and Ford’s own Focus ST isn’t too far a reach for buyers either. Mazda routinely discounts the MS3 enough to make it pretty competitive with one of these, and Hyundai has the Veloster and the Gen coupe in this price range too. I can’t believe I am the first one to say it but let’s not forget about the Mustang V6, even with perf pack and Recaros you can probably get one for about the same as a Recaro-equipped Fiesta ST.

    And yes, I know some of those are not “hot hatches” especially the Mustang but a hot hatch is only desirable if it has utility to go with the performance. The small size and not so great economy drops this car down to plaything status, and the Pony cars will likely appeal to the buyers as much as this car.

  • avatar
    lzaffuto

    Since you said it was 90 degrees and I live in Georgia I’m much more interested in your opinion of the air conditioning than the heated seats. Strong or weak?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Fink

      The air conditioner was great. Set the temperature and forget about it.

      • 0 avatar
        otaku

        Sure, but was said A/C strong enough to completely offset the warmfront generated by the heated seats? Is it possible to actually stage a precipitation event within the vehicle’s interior? That alone would certainly be worth the price of admission.

  • avatar
    zamoti

    According to Associated Press style, to “ensure” that something happens is to make certain that it does, and to “insure” is to issue an insurance policy. Other authorities, however, consider “ensure” and “insure” interchangeable. To please conservatives, make the distinction.
    Shamelessly copied & pasted from a grammar site.
    While I may not be of the politically conservative stripe, I claim to be grammatically conservative (when it is convenient for me).
    Just like Mister Dog.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    Why does every single Ford product since about 2006 have to be hideous?

    Why isn’t there a shred of talent in their design department? Why can’t they design at least one semi good looking vehicle?

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    Alright, I’m going to say it:

    Why didn’t we get a Fusion ST first? Is Ford waiting for the 2.7T or the 2.3T/2.5T that is supposed to go in the Focus RS? That’s what America wants!

  • avatar
    otaku

    I can’t help but feel that by offering a three-door variant, Ford could’ve make a stronger case for differentiation from the Focus ST.

    • 0 avatar
      jc130

      yes, yes, yes. I probably wouldn’t buy one, but I might almost be able to get into a three door. Drop two doors and drop the price $500. I guess if you like the option, there’s the 500, Golf, Mini, and what else? Also see Karesh’s good ST review on TD.

  • avatar
    GeneralMalaise

    Sounds like it’s a fun-packed car, but I like the looks of my ’12 Abarth more and I suspect the Abarth is more fun to drive, although I will drive an ST to get the feel.

    0 to 60 times, etc, aren’t all you need to make a car entertaining, as I was reminded today, after picking my ’81 Fiat X1/9 up from the mechanic (oil change and CV boot replacement). The car does have a few mods that make it peppier than most and by the time I made the 8 mile drive to my office (targa top off, beautiful sunny day), I was grinning ear-to-ear.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    My wife likes short cars with manual transmissions which is why the first car we test drove last fall was a 5-speed Fiesta hatch. We were generally pleased with the car except for weak acceleration. That pushed us into a Focus SE which is about 2 seconds faster to 60 mph. The prospect of a Fiesta that was at least as fast as our Focus has had me watching for reports on the ST.

    Based on this report, I think it would have been a better alternative than our Focus. (I know the Focus has more room. That’s not important with just two of us and a Subaru wagon in the garage.) In absolute terms, I’m disappointed it’s not that much faster than our Focus. I would have expected 0-60 at or below 6 seconds. As with the Focus ST, the engine works best at low rpm. The normally aspirated engine in our SE comes alive at 4,000 rpm. That means dropping to 3rd gear to pass on the highway. Handling should better than our Focus at the expense of ride quality. My one criticism of our Focus is that it rolls too much. Some aftermarket bars after the warranty expires should fix that.

  • avatar
    catachanninja

    How’s the spacing/location on the pedals? I fell in love with the reviews of the focus st until I sat in one and realized my legs would never allow me to comfortably manipulate the clutch. I don’t have my hopes up, but it would save me a trip to the dealer

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Fink

      I wore size 11 running shoes for the test and never touched the wrong pedal. To me they were spaced good, the only tight spot was in resting your left foot on the dead pedal.

  • avatar
    raph

    If anybody is looking to abuse one of these on Ford’s dime, check out the ecoboost challenge drive experience. Its free and you get a coupla laps on a small tight parking lot course in both the Focus ST and the Fiesta ST and at the other end of the spectrum a Fusion Titanium to compare directly against a Camry LE.

    http://fordecoboostchallengedrive.com/Map.aspx

  • avatar
    Adam

    I think I’ll direct a massive *YAAAAAAAAAAAWWWNNN* to Ford on this one.

    The Eagle Talon Tsi AWD/Eclipse GSX were quicker to 60 with far more style back in 1990.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    ‘It’s pretty much the same car the Euros get.’ There, you said it, the Ford lie, and it is not the same is it? Two more doors, more weight and what else is “much the same.” This is not the time for the blogs to give in to Detroit (or where ever they make cars these days) and roll over with that line. Grow some balls and ask the question “Why a 5 door?”

    No, can’t bring yourself to do it, afraid you will miss out on driving the next Mustang Boss? No real surprise, sold out cheaply if the Fiesty ST does it for you. Jack held out for a high end German sports model as I remember. Yep, we know, sold out completely. I used to love the gutsyness of bloggers but now, they just want to know where the perks are.

    Time for a new blog site that will have the steel to ask the hard question and report back.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Fink

      jdmcomp: Please read the article a little more carefully next time before you tell me to grow some balls. I did specifically approach the Ford engineers (the only journalist there who did as far as I can tell) and asked them why we don’t get the 3 door and reported back exactly what they said (can’t make the 3 door in Mexico, too expensive to import from Europe). If by “perks” you mean the free lunch I received after spending $50 of my own money in gas to get to the event, then yes, I guess I did sell out “cheaply” like you said. I appreciate any and all comments, but at least read the whole article before you rip me next time. I can understand if you don’t believe Ford’s answer, but don’t say I didn’t ask the question because I was afraid I wouldn’t get to drive a Mustang.

      • 0 avatar
        jdmcomp

        And you bought the Ford excuse hook, line and sinker. You did not take them to task for such a blunder, nor did you raise the question for readers to respond. You did take your seat, shut up and report the Ford line word for word. I stand by my comment, no balls. As for Fords answer, I do believe
        that they never intended to really sell the “world car” but rather only the image. Can you tell the difference? No. Not at least from your writing.
        Can’t build a 3 door in Mexico, bull. Modern production facilities do it all the time and the Mexican plant is one of the newest. How about Brazil for production? No, not buying the Ford line or for that matter the Ford product. They still stick to the any color you want as long as it is black
        statement.

        Honestly Matt, I enjoyed your review even if we split hairs about some items. That is personal preference. But no one is taking Ford to task for their attempt to make the US buyer believe that they are getting the same car as sold in Europe (albeit with mandated Govt requirements). The Brits for years have been getting more powerful versions and still do get better choices in small Ford vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          Power6

          Wow lighten up. The man asked and gave you Fords answer. Its not his job to support your own personal conspiracy theories.

          Auto production is a complicated undertaking. You know for a fact the 3-door could be built in the Mexico plant how? And at what exact cost? That you read one maker builds a few models on their production line does not imply Ford should be able to build the 3 door Fiesta in their Mexico plant. You’d have to have knowledge of the production processes and the complications of that particular line to answer that question.

          So unless you work for Ford, you’ll have to take their word for it. And ultimately does it even matter, if there was money to be made and they could bring a product at a reasonable cost, they surely would, but they can’t so they don’t. Are you suggesting there is some other motivation? Ford just loves Brits and hates Americans, that must be it!

        • 0 avatar
          kvetcha

          It seems rather nonsensical to get this worked up over Ford’s unwillingness to spend enormous amounts of money to retool a factory to build a second version product that is fundamentally niche. But hey, what do I know?

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          jdmcomp-

          The Fiesta ST we get is almost exactly the same the the European version. The big difference is two more doors (130 lbs) and MFT. Our version is also rated for about 16 more HP. It is just as similar or more to the euro ST as the GTI is to the euro version. It is way more similar than the GLI.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    A factory ricer – not interested.

  • avatar
    ozzypriest

    Nice review Matt. The new police Chargers are terrifying looking in rear view, with that gaping black maw poised to swallow your wallet and self-respect.

    How was the lumbar support in the Recaros? I can’t understand why the Ford folks neglected to include adjustable lumbar in the Focus ST even though the mounts are actually in the seat, apparently, if you strip the covers off, and can be retro-fitted with the European adjustable lumbar hardware. People with with funky-backitis like to drive also, Ford.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Ford has really cheaped out on seat funtionality on the Focus. I hate not having the ability to tilt the seat. The passenger side doesn’t even go up and down.

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        This is nothing new, all the automakers that sell the same cars around the world take small things out of the cars to save a few bucks for cheap Americans.

        I happen to be familiar with some Subarus, there are a number of features taken out of a WRX for the American market included in others. Torsen rear LSD, oil cooler, turn signal side mirrors, underbody aero panels, lighted window switches etc.

        Its hard to blame the automakers, they respond to the market, and Americans favor price. So really you need to blame your fellow target market for “cheaping out”. When Americans demand well equipped cars over being extremely price sensitive we’ll get the same level of equipment as european buyers. I wouldn’t hold my breath.

        • 0 avatar
          afflo

          I’ve always understood this to because the European (and many other world) markets have all the segments shifted down a size. A c-segment is a respectable family car (like our mid size cars), a D segment is a large, upscale car. A b-segment is to the market what our compacts are, with A segment city cars filling the “do you have a job? Do you have bad credit? Do you want a new car?” niche.

          Therefore, the leek of features an refinements are always a bit higher for a comparable size, as it’ll be a class higher in Europe. It gave the Europeans and Japanese an advantage, as their B and C class chassis were worlds beyond what Detroit would invest in throwaway economy cars. Now that Detroit has figured this out, and uses world car platforms from their foreign arms, it’s leveling out.

  • avatar
    jc130

    I think it is very much a shame this is not offered as a three-door hatch.

  • avatar
    darex

    Personally, I’ve never really quite understood why people get so worked-up about 4 doors vs 2.

    Sure, 2 doors occasionally provides a cleaner look and it can make the car moderately lighter, but surely for convenience’s sake, no one could actually prefer two doors over four, could they? I mean to consider 4 over 2 (the reverse makes some sense) a “deal-breaker”? That’s just weird to me! 2 door cars are often something of a nuisance, in real, everyday life.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      You sound like my wife!

      I prefer two-doors for two reason.

      1. Purely aesthetic – I’ve never seen a two-door and thought, “That would look so much better with a redundant set of doors and door handles.”

      2. In order to build a four-door, the front doors are almost always made smaller – this is a small advantage in tight parking spaces, but if you are like me and have to put the seat all the way back in your cars, it means that you now have a B-pillar right next to your face. The armrest – that’s way forward. Want to put your elbow up on the window? There’s a pillar there. Half the time, the pillar is pushed so far forward that the shoulder belt doesn’t stay in contact with my shoulder.

      The Mazda RX8, and one of the Saturn models used to have a setup with smaller suicide doors and full sized front doors, to allow easy rear access as well as normal sized front windows and armrests. The Hyundai Veloster is a great concept on how to marry these two needs… I might have given it a look if it were out in ’11 when I bought my car. If they still made pillarless hardtops, that would be a good option as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      With the first gen Focus, the two door is significantly lighter, shorter wheelbase. A ZX3 3 door is generally as fast as an SVT 5 door, which has 40 more (albeit very high revving) HP.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      2 doors have a big advantage on small cars that the doors are MUCH bigger. I’m a big guy (see my picture in my BMW Venom Vellum article) – one of the nicest things about my Abarth is how big the doors are and how easy it is to get in and out of. The doors have to be at least 60% of the side area of the car. The doors on a Fiesta 4dr are TINY.

      The backseat is not a priority on this size of car, so why dedicate a door to it? Would by no means be a deal breaker for me, but I too would much prefer the 3dr. If you are schlepping kids around, well, I feel sorry for you, and this is NOT the car for you anyway.

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    I’m gonna rise to the defense of the 5 door. At 5’8 170 Ingress/egress is not an issue for me. However, ease of loading stuff is. In my case, the back seat is not a place for people to sit, but a place for stuff to go. In my current car, the trunk has my firefighter gear in it 90% of the time and that takes up most of the useable space. Any groceries, additional supplies for either the fire dept or part time time job, or daily knick knacks have to go in the back seat. Having rear doors makes loading and unloading the backseat 1000x easier. This has been a chief complaint practical of mine with my parents Fiat 500 (the other being the lack of grab handles in the rear seat for me to hang the uniforms which I carry around with me 24/7/365).

    If I was in the market for a car, this would be a prime candidate, as I can’t think of any other cars on the market that offer this combination of fun quotient, performance, fuel efficiency, and cargo useability.

  • avatar
    kiteboarder

    Funny how you say the lever to adjust the driver’s seat tilt back is too far back. I just published my own review of the Fiesta ST this morning. In it I say something about the lever to adjust the seat back tilt being all the way in the back seat! I had not read your review when I wrote mine. Good to see I’m not the only one.

    If you want to read mine, it’s here: http://rallyways.com/5887/ford-fiesta-st-review/

    I do feel I liked the car more than you seemed to like it in your review. But I drive Miatas, so small cars just make sense to me.

  • avatar
    fdesalvo

    I will NEVER buy another Ford product again. I ordered a 2014 Mustang GT with Track Pack and all the goodies from the factory and had it delivered to a local dealer here in SoCal. 2 weeks into ownership, the rear diff, driveshaft, and trans output bearing had to be replaced under warranty. It took 2 months worth of visits to 4 different dealerships and Ford CS involvement to get it resolved. I went without a car for 2 months due to wait time.

    After 2 months, the problems returned and the only dealership that “heard” the problem refused the warranty work because they didn’t do the repair. To add insult to injury, every dealer that I visited has managed to leave something off or half-assembled after troubleshooting the car, so I’ve had various under body panels replaced twice.

    On top of that, the dealership washed my car without my permission and caused severe scratching all over the car, even bleaching the brembo calipers out front and the stock ones out back due to some harsh chemical they used to clean the wheels with. They refused to remedy the issue.

    Now at 20K miles, the car sounds like a dump truck and looks like a desert car with 175K on the clock and there are NO competent dealerships around within 50 miles that​ can do even decent work. It’s always as if some half drunk idiot with a complex gets assigned to my car.

    It’s in the process of going back to the dealer as a LEMON. I’ll admit, it’s a ton of fun on the road – it will pancake your balls in any RPM, but it’s not even worth the headache of ownership. This is my first and least experiment with ‘Merican Muscle. I regret losing my S2K over this. How sad is that..


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