By on June 25, 2014

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Cheap. Fast. Reliable. Pick two. This is a conundrum that plagues enthusiasts of vast dreams and scant means. There’s very little out there that fulfills the requirement for an economical performance car that also works when you need it to. A garage-built tuner vehicle fulfills the first two criteria, but you can’t be sure it will start every time. Cheap and reliable will get you to work…and that’s about it. Fast and reliable? Yeah, maybe if you’re one of the lucky few who can afford a fancy sports car, and the associated running costs (insurance, tires and the now-astronomical price of premium gasoline).

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Some of you have paid off homes, well-funded retirement accounts and jobs that pay handsomely, and can also afford something fun and exciting. I have precisely none of these, and thus my desire for automotive thrills has to be balanced with having the financial means to assemble the trappings of an adult life. In that light, a Mustang GT, a 370Z and even a new WRX (which loves to imbibe pricey 91 octane) start to look like options that would leave me endorphin-rich but cash poor (and also living at home well into my 30′s).

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On the other hand, most entry-level performance cars still leave something to be desired: the Fiat 500 Abarth has but three doors (I’d prefer a second set) and sounds a lot faster than it really is. The all-new Volkswagen GTI is for a more mature crowd. The Honda Civic Si is a shadow of its former self. And the Ford Focus ST has just been made redundant by this car.

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Yes, the Fiesta ST is a bit slower than its big brother. It makes 197 horsepower and hits 60 mph in 7 seconds flat. You would swear that those performance figures would be doubled and halved respectively. It might be fun to drive a slow car fast. It’s even more fun to drive a fairly quick, fairly small and fairly light (2,700 lbs) at a breakneck pace.

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The boosted 1.6L mill feels heroically powerful in such a tiny package. You would have no idea that this is the same engine that struggles to motivate the Fusion and Escape, while drinking dino juice at a prodigious rate. Previous tests of the 1.6L engine have yielded subpar fuel economy, even on the highway. On our 800 mile drive through the Canadian Rockies on the way to Montana, the Fiesta returned as high as 40 mpg on relatively flat stretches of road. As the elevation climbed, the turns got sharper and the turbo worked harder, fuel consumption dipped into the high 20′s, but it’s hard to fault the car in those conditions.

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The ST also has a way of preventing you from keeping your foot out of the throttle on said roads. Turbo lag is slightly perceptible below 1500 rpm, but once the turbo starts spooling up (which you can audibly detect with the windows down), power is delivered in a linear fashion all the way to the 6500 rpm redline. In the lower gears, torque steer is still present, but not nearly as much as the Focus ST – credit to Ford’s chassis engineers for somehow taming the 214 lb-ft worth of torque being delivered through the front wheels. Even so, this isn’t a car that will let you safely pass on a two-lane road by shifting from 6th to 5th, but the tall sixth ratio more than pays for itself given the excellent highway fuel economy.

But focusing on straight-line speed misses the point completely. Handling is the Fiesta’s forte, with Ford handing this car off to SVT to help liven the 5-door chassis for North American tastes (Europe gets a three-door version). The twisty mountain passes near Whitefish, Montana let us sample the full capabilities of the ST, and it soon became evident that this is a special car. Steering is direct and quick, but like most electric systems, it doesn’t provide the purity of feedback that hot hatch fans might expect. Initial turn-in is quick, with tenacious grip and only truly ham-fisted driving seems to invoke any semblance of understeer. The brakes are firm, scrubbing off speed quickly, at the expense of immense amount of brake dust (which you’ll notice even with the optional gunmetal wheels). The one flaw in the driving experience is the shifter, which has somewhat long throws and a bit of a vague feel. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a small price to pay for an otherwise thrilling package.

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Inside, the Fiesta ST’s interior looks a lot like a regular Fiesta, save for the portion-controlled nav screen with MyFord Touch. If you’d never seen the full-size version, you wouldn’t think that there was anything wrong with the system, but it’s fairly small, and hitting the right keys on the touchscreen can be a bit challenging. The optional Recaros fit me just fine, but anyone with a stocky build might find them challenging. The thick shells of the seat backs also render the rear seats more suitable for objects than people, and you can forget about putting child seats in a Recaro equipped Fiesta.

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Altogether may sound like hyperbolic praise for the smallest Fast Ford, but the team at SVT (and our own Tresmonos) have managed to assemble an astounding package: one that is quick, practical, efficient and affordable. It’s one of the most exciting cars I’ve driven at any price, and even though I have a paid off car, access to the press fleet and no real need for a new car, I’m seriously considering spending my own, hard-earned dollars to make this the next TTAC long-term test car. Who says young people don’t care about cars anymore?

N.B. Yes, the main image is a homage to our own Bigtruckseriesreview@youtube, who without fail, manages to leave the first comment on nearly every single article.

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113 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST...”


  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Sounds like fun but I need room for car seats.

    • 0 avatar
      Ooshley

      Focus ST it is then.

      • 0 avatar
        omer333

        I was really looking at a Focus in regular and ST trim since I doubted two child seats would fit in the back of a Fiesta.

        One of my co-workers has a used rental Focus hatch and let me do a test fit with me and car seats in the car. I’m also in the 6-0 to 6-2 neighborhood depending on posture and shoes.

        Sadly, me and child seats could not fit in the Focus.Yet there were no problems in the Mazda3 and Dart.

        • 0 avatar

          The new Fords are too big on the outside and too small on the inside. I am 5’10 and feel claustrophobic in the Focus. The footwell in the front ramps up in the weirdest way. The Focus should not weigh 3,200lbs. The Fiesta should not weigh 2,700 lbs.

          We need to take today’s engines and transmissions and shove them into cars from the turn of the century. Cars from around then had airy interiors with great visibility, and you could get a car that fit a family of 4 with a smaller outside footprint than the current Focus, that was MUCH larger inside, that weighed 2700 lbs. The biggest caveat is those old cars only had 2 airbags.

          In 2000, a family of 4 could fit in a Focus. Now, due to the intrusive pillars and other factors, they need to upgrade to a Fusion, or god forbid, and escape. In 2000 a cop could fit in a Crown Vic. Due to the screw-up of the Taurus, they now need an Explorer.

          That said, I hear this is a fun car.

          • 0 avatar
            johnhowington

            bingo, 6’0 here, and it boggles the mind why ford designed the focus to be so cramped.

          • 0 avatar
            05lgt

            Re current drivelines in cars from the early naughties; You gain visibility and lightness, but if my memory is right the things you give up are side impact protection, offset head on protection and crush resistant roof structures, plus Bluetooth, backup cam, and whatever active safety/driver alert gizmos the new one would have. Some of the makers seem to have met the safety req’ts with fewer compromises than Ford though (CamCord vs Focus)

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “if my memory is right the things you give up are side impact protection, offset head on protection and crush resistant roof structures, plus Bluetooth, backup cam, and whatever active safety/driver alert gizmos the new one would have.”

            Volvo achieved this in the MY99 S70 with optional side impact air bags, and made it standard on MY00 S70. The S70 btw is a derivative of an 850 which debuted in 1991. The idea of “losing safety features” in return for visibility is no excuse for half assed designers. FWIW “gizmos” like touchscreen interfaces, bluetooth, and backup cameras are simply that, gizmos. None of these are even remotely necessary to the car’s drive-ability or safety. If anything, cars are less safe with them due to additional driver distraction.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volvo_850

            Evidently optional side impact air bags actually date to 1995:

            “All U.S. 850s received standard equipment such as dual front airbags, anti-lock braking system, head restraints and three-point seat belts for all passengers, power windows, door locks, and mirrors, cruise control, and dual zone climate control. Side torso airbags became a world first when introduced as an option for 1995.”

          • 0 avatar
            turboprius

            Very glad someone finally brought that up.

            My friend who owns the 2012 Focus Titanium hatchback I’ve mentioned before is only 4’11″, so she’s fine. Last month, I rode home in it, and while I fit up front like I do in my mom’s RAV4, I swear my seat was up against the backseat.

            Being 6’4″, under 18 (which means using the backseat often), and having a 36 inch inseam, room is my first priority. I wish more carmakers designed their cars like the first-gen Rogue; when I drove it for the first time a couple days ago, I felt like I was reaching for the steering wheel, and my arms are long. Let’s not get started with the Focus’ other problems besides room.

          • 0 avatar
            jetcal1

            Suto,
            Less weight costs more money in terms of engineering time, tooling and materials. As far as interior space, I don’t have a clue except that it might mean a longer wheel base and more weight?
            Maybe it’s because I stated flying small airplanes before I could drive, but at 6’1″ and 260 lbs I have no problems folding myself in and getting comfy. And that’s with the Recaros.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Or they could upgrade to a C-Max. That’s what I did.

            I’m 6’4″ with a 36″ inseam too, and I didn’t have an issue driving a 2012 Focus as a daily driver. It’s no more snug in the backseat than earlier Foci. If you are 6’4″, being in the backseat of most vehicles sucks. For under $30K, minivans or large crossovers are the best bets. I’d love for someone to drive me around in my MKT. Its comfy back there.

            Another issue may be that the seats in the Focus are especially huge. The Escape and C-Max have seats that have a lower profile.

          • 0 avatar
            MadHungarian

            Hear hear. Yeah, you don’t have a jillion airbags in a 15 year old car, or roof pillars thick enough to hold up buildings. Reality is, only a very small percentage of drivers will have an experience that tests the differences between 2000 and 2014 safety. We’re not talking about a 1959 vintage deathtrap here. You could add some electronic amenities, they don’t weigh anything to speak of. And you don’t need a backup camera because you can actually see out of the thing. Personally, I wish I had the choice.

    • 0 avatar
      cruster

      I don’t have wagon levels of space, but a car seat fits in mine, no problem. I’m 6’2″ and it might be tight with my daughter behind me, but she can sit on the passenger side with my wife in front, and no one complains. We’ve taken some long-ish drives that way – no issues.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I’m intrigued by the ST, but at the same time, I just wish GM would do a little more with the Sonic hatch. For a minimal weight penalty, it’s noticeably less cramped inside, and not a bad little car to drive in its stock form. As much as the Fiesta can apparently baby seat (if you get the right seat and put it in the middle spot), the little Chevy would just be an easier sell to a single-car household (especially trying to justify hanging onto it through paying it off).

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The Fiesta is good looking though, and the Sonic looks like a penalty.

      • 0 avatar
        Maymar

        Really? I find it the other way around – I mean, the sedans look like penalty boxes all around, but I prefer the Sonic’s wheels at the corners stance. The Fiesta looks decent in the right spec, especially with the new grille, but doesn’t do a ton for me (I mean, not my motivation behind liking either)

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    All I hear is praise for this thing. I want to like it, but right now with the steep discounts on the Focus ST to the point where it is cheaper, I’d have a really hard time justifying getting the smaller of the two.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      That’s my biggest issue with this car. I feel like it should be priced thousands less than the Focus, but they’re pretty close in price, with the Focus being cheaper in its lowest trim.

  • avatar
    319583076

    “Some of you have paid of homes, well-funded retirement accounts and jobs that pay handsomely, and can also afford something fun and exciting. I have none precisely none of these, and thus my desire for automotive thrills has to be balanced with having the financial means to assemble the trappings of an adult life.”

    The first two sentences of your second paragraph need revision.

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      Specifically, “paid oFF homes”, and only one ‘none’ in stead of “I have none precisely none”.

      In case you thought he was being just generally critical of your style, that is.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Everybody begging for a Mazdaspeed 2, here’s your car. Even comes in GREEEEN!

    I’m “of stocky build” and the Recaros in the Focus ST were very uncomfortable, so I know I could never own this car.

    The engine sounds like it is far superior to the 1.6T in the Juke. That car had pitiable turbo lag, and still only got 30 highway on premium gas. (had the FWD 6MT model)

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    The guys at Smoking Tire bought one too. They gloat over the little car. .ir is currently at Cobb Tuning as a development vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      juicy sushi

      I am not sure if the right word would be gloat. Matt Farah is madly in love with it though, and even launched the most subtle troll ever when he did a comparo with the E46 M3, and didn’t prostrate himself at the temple of M division.

  • avatar
    dwford

    My question is why is it so slow? a 2002 Acura RSX Type S with a 2.0 I4 – 200hp, 142 lb ft torque, similar weight with a 6 speed, was about 1 second quicker to 60. Gearing?

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      This makes so little sense. You sure on the weight? The ST has a much flatter torque curve and shift point optimization shouldn’t be near a second.

      • 0 avatar
        dwford

        I looked it up..

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        I had one for years – he’s right on the weight, something like 2750.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The K20 actually has an incredibly flat torque curve. They basically make 120 to 130 ft/lbs at the wheels from 2,400 rpm to 8,250 rpm with a small dip at the cam lobe crossover point. HP is a function of torque times RPM divided by 5,252. It is cars with low speed hp peaks or managed hp plateaus that have jacked up torque curves.

        http://image.importtuner.com/f/powerpages/impp_1203_2007_honda_civic_si_power_pages/39789063/impp-1203-01-o%2B2007-honda-civic-si-power-pages%2Bdyno-1.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      See the discussion below about how the Fiesta ST compares with the 86 twins (which actually record faster times).

      In addition to those comments, I wonder if actually having torque limits traction off the line. I think it’s probably close enough to make no difference anyway. Besides, torque rules in daily driving. Even if the twins and RSX-S are faster, only an expert driver on the right track would notice.

  • avatar
    calgarytek

    So Derek, you drove an Ontario car to Sparwood BC in order to test it out? I’d half expect it to have Alberta or BC plates. Even Montana or Washington plates. Looks like the west is your new stomping grounds.

    The scenery is incredible. You’re not that far from Highway 93A that you can take through the Kootenay pass, through Banff, and into Calgary.

    Icefields Parkway is where you should take your next shoot.

    Many fond memories of that part of Canada. That truck though, is a GM model…

  • avatar
    alsorl

    Remineds me of the old omni turbo. But without the terrible torque steer and poor build quality. I could not stand the recaro seats longer then 20 minutes. But with the regular seats I can get one for $20,500 . there is nothing better for money.

  • avatar
    Loki

    Redundant? I will take my Focus ST any day over the Fiesta ST. The Focus is much better to live with as a daily driver, especially for those of us taller than 5’7″. Seriously, I felt like I was rummaging for loose change in the passenger side footwell every time I shifted into 5th. I’ll settle for slightly less perceived handling if it means more power, more speed, more functionality, better ergonomics, and a more refined interior.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Get that piece of s*it manual blue Verano out of shot!

    /hehe

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “It makes 197 horsepower and hits 60 mph in 7 seconds flat… It’s even more fun to drive a fairly quick, fairly small and fairly light (2,700 lbs) at a breakneck pace.”

    Almost identical specs to the 86 twins, which are roundly castigated by some as wheezy death traps.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    46 deg C = 114 deg F!

    It was really that hot there?!

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    The Fiesta ST is lacking in proper rear end symmetry. Would not buy.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      In my mind, dual exhaust on a car equipped with an I4 engine is a no-no regardless of symmetry.

      • 0 avatar
        djsyndrome

        But what about quad exhausts on an H4?

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        danio!

        Discuss with me, if you will, I am interested in your opinion.

        Is it the presumptuousness of dual exhaust on such a small motor?
        Since I am not building or even really buying “performance cars”, I dont give much thought to the actual exhaust plumbing. So then it all comes down to looks. I am pretty sure the Verano T has the same type of exhaust plumbing as the 2.4 Verano, save the dual tips, and the only thing they add is looks.

        I have no issues saying I like it just for looks alone.

        Would the term “dual tips” or “dual outlets” be more palatable than “dual exhausts”? My feeling is “dual exhausts” might imply a performance designed exhaust system, which gets a mechanically knowledgeable guy such as yourself a bit rankled.

      • 0 avatar
        Beerboy12

        Exhaust tuning is an art and one performance tuners have a great deal of fun with. Fine tuning the point two pipes come together plays a big role in the torque curve. 4 into one is not as productive as 2 into one so 2 pipes for a 4 cylinder and 4 for an 8 makes perfect sense to me.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I assume you drive a car originally built for a driver’s ed instructor, since otherwise having a car with one steering wheel would fever your mind.

  • avatar
    bortlicenseplate

    Nice review – I gotta say I love that green.

    How tall are you, Derek? At 6’2, 170 lbs, I’m far from stocky and I could not get comfy in those Recaro seats. The salesman insisted that the seats would “loosen a little over time”, but I wasn’t convinced.

    I also found pedal placement was surprisingly poor for heel-toe’ing. (I ain’t no racing driver but I like to pretend sometimes.)

    Of course, the ST has econobox roots and they will show themselves in examples like that – but I came away from my test drive realizing if you aren’t the right height/build, and you need this car to be a daily driver, IMO the Fiesta will be more of a compromise than necessary, given bigger cars like the Focus ST are available.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy

      The Recaros in my Focus ST have definitely loosed up over time, they now fit me perfectly. Actually, the driver seat fits me perfectly. In the rare occasion I’m in the passenger seat I remember how tight they both were when I first bought the car.

      • 0 avatar
        bortlicenseplate

        Timothy, glad to hear and good to know, thanks.

      • 0 avatar
        burgersandbeer

        I don’t even like buying shoes on the promise of “don’t worry, they break in over time,” nevermind a $25k car.

        Seat comfort is critical to enjoying a car (see the recent Piston Slap about the Mercury Milan). For the amount of money at stake, I would have to find the Recaros immediately comfortable.

        • 0 avatar
          Ooshley

          After initially being a bit too snug I fit my Focus ST Recaros just fine now. Either they’ve adjusted or I have. I did find they require the back to be quite upright and you need to firmly slide your butt back into them before sitting up. Incidentally I’m 194cm / 89 kg (~6’4″ / 195 lb).

  • avatar
    Marko

    Nobody seems to talk about the standard (non-Recaro) seats – how are they?

    • 0 avatar

      They probably don’t talk about them because a) they either get a fully-loaded variant or, b) as in Derek’s case a Canadian Fiesta…which comes standard with them (at a higher starting price).

    • 0 avatar
      bortlicenseplate

      Up here in Canada at least, Recaro’s are the only seats available in the Fiesta.

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy

      They are the same seats in the SE versions of the regular Focus. They are actually pretty decent but certainly lack the embrace that the Recaros provide.

    • 0 avatar
      bizzarodave

      I have a Focus ST1, so I have the base seats in my car. They are the same as my other Focus (2012 SE Hatch w/ sport package), but the seat foam does seem to be firmer, and the cloth material is more textured for better grip than the SE seats. Overall I find them to be very comfortable on my 50 mile daily round trip.

  • avatar
    Toad

    Love the Terex Titan mining truck in the background of the first picture; for a long time it was the largest truck ever built. 169 liter engine, 1,209,200 GVW, somewhat poor fuel economy. Interesting contrast to the Fiesta.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I wonder what the mileage of the Terex is per liter vs the Ford.

      • 0 avatar
        TheyBeRollin

        More like liters per mile. Probably astronomical.

        They’re also hybrids, just like modern diesel-electric locomotives. The engine is a huge mobile generator that powers the giant motors that move it.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          That is not a hybrid. Just a diesel-electric drive. The diesel cannot power the wheels directly, and there are no batteries. Which is also the case for most, but not all diesel locomotives. There are now some actual diesel battery hybrid locomotives. Mostly used for low-speed yard switching.

  • avatar

    “…but the tall sixth ratio more than pays for itself given the excellent highway fuel economy.”

    Derek, as crazy as it may seem, this is an incredibly big thing for me. Where does the engine rev around 120km/h in 6th with this car?

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Not just you. A close ratio 5-speed with a tall 6th for cruising should the default for 99 percent of the manuals built these days.

      • 0 avatar

        And yet I ask this is multiple reviews and no one seems willing or able to respond.

        Even Consumer Reports has stopped reporting these figures. ARGH.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          You can figure out engine speed at a given road speed if you can dig up the transmission and final drive ratios, as well as the tire height.

          Fiesta ST specs are @ edmunds: http: //www.edmunds.com/ford/fiesta/2014/road-test-specs1.html

          I used the following site to do the math for me, though I’m sure there are plenty of calculators out there for this: http: //www.csgnetwork.com/multirpmcalc.html

          I came up with 2816 rpm in 6th gear @ 120 km/h.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    It’s funny that the Ecoboost system works just fine in a car where it isn’t being used to do what it’s advertised for. This isn’t a case of a downsized engine with a turbo. This is an appropriately sized engine with a turbo. When the same engine is stuffed in a sedan that should have a 2.5 liter engine, it is working hard at all times and using fuel less efficiently than an appropriately sized naturally aspirated engine.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      This isn’t really true: the turbo uses fuel at about the same rate as a naturally-aspirated engine _of_ the same output _at the same output_.

      A boosted engine makes more power sooner. That means it uses more fuel sooner. TANSTAAFL applies.

      It’s best to think of forced induction as displacement-on-demand. Let’s say you had a car with a V8 that had cylinder deactivation. Drive that car in such a way that only three or four cylinders fired (and you were making the same power as an inline three) and you’d get great fuel economy; drive it like you stole it and it’ll suck fuel like a V8 would be expected to. A turbo is the same: you’re asking for a few extra cylinders’ worth of power in the same time.

      People see things like a 1.5L engine and expect it’ll get great fuel economy, and it can: it just won’t do it when you drive it like it’s a V6. It’s pure cognitive dissonance.

      • 0 avatar
        ktm

        “This isn’t really true: the turbo uses fuel at about the same rate as a naturally-aspirated engine _of_ the same output _at the same output_.”

        Actually, that statement is not true. A boosted engine will consume more fuel at a given output (when in boost) than a N/A engine. Caveat, I am basing this on engine tuning that I’ve personally done using aftermarket engine management systems in classic cars. A modern car may actually be different.

        The difference in fuel consumption at a given output arises as a result of safely tuning a turbo-charged engine against detonation. You are cranking up the the cylinder pressure when boosting an engine and thus you typically add more fuel and pull timing as a means of staving off the detonation monster.

        Depending on the engine (each engine has their own sweet spot), you typically tune for an AFR of around 11.5 to 12.0. Again, depending on a variety of factors. It’s very common with rotaries to see AFRs in the 10s to low 11s.

        N/A engines are usually run around 12.5.

        Lastly, the BSFC (brake specific fuel consumption) factor for an N/A engine is around 0.5 whereas a F/I engine its around 0.65. Again, this means for a given output, you would use more fuel for a F/I engine than an N/A engine.

        • 0 avatar
          DC Bruce

          I think someone confirmed this by comparing the mileage achieved by two otherwise identical F-150 trucks towing a fair amount of weight (7,000 – 10,000 lbs) over considerable distance in the mountains of the west. The “Ecoboost” V-6 used more fuel than the 5-leter n/a V-8 doing the same work. So, a carefully programed heavy car with a small turbocharged engine may ace the EPA tests, but it will suck more gas in real-world driving, probably because most drivers accelerate more rapidly than the protocol of the test.

          It seems to me that if you want to use a turbocharged engine in a “performance” car, then driven normally it’s not going to be a fuel-sucker. But if you use a turbocharged engine in a plane vanilla car to give it adequate performance, fuel economy is going to be disappointing.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Is that Dave’s Verano turbo I see in the background of one of these pics?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “N.B. Yes, the main image is a homage to our own Bigtruckseriesreview@youtube, who without fail, manages to leave the first comment on nearly every single article”

    He’s been quiet today. Jinx.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    Nice review on a car I hardly know about. The only thing I can’t like is the instrument cluster. It’s like looking into two long tunnels. Reminds me of a minivan…

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    This is one of the best looking small autos I have seen to date.

  • avatar
    sirbunz

    IMO … its really hard not to like this car. The little 1.6 Ecoboost has a bunch of untapped potential. COBB has already proven mild bolt-ons and safe tuning can bring lots of power (211 HP and 272 ft-lbs). Put that together in a “relatively” small package and you created an instant winner. I have the pleasure of owning one of these cars, mainly due to a job requiring me to drive lots of miles and my desire to have something that doesn’t bore me to tears while driving those miles. I traded in a Fiat 500 Abarth for this car while deciding against a GTI, Focus ST, MS3, and MINI after multiple test drives in each. Despite the popular criticism, I have yet to feel the “cheapness” of the interior (keep in mind, its a 20-25k Fiesta) or the “cramped” interior/room from the same type of reviewers. My only complaint is the harsh ride, but one trip to Koni NA and coordinating with their Street Car department to develop a damper for this car solved that problem, greatly improving the ride and balancing it’s overall handling. Cheap Fast Reliable, only time will tell, but for now I have all three!

    • 0 avatar
      stottpie

      Would you mind elaborating on the Konis?

      I have this car and that’s really my only beef, the ride quality.

      • 0 avatar
        sirbunz

        To elaborate more on the Koni shocks, my car was the test Mule for Koni to size the non adjustable and adjustable shocks to the car. They tested the OEM shocks and found they were way over dampened on bump (approximately 4x that of the sport tuned Koni shocks for the non “ST” Fiesta ) and too soft on rebound to prevent excessive body roll in hard cornering. The Koni shocks currently on my car have much less low and high speed compression and increased low speed rebound. Rear stability was a major complaint of mine when I pushed the car in sharp cornering (autocross, quick steering inputs, off camber, etc). The new dampers seemed to correct much of it, at least on those same roads/courses where it felt unstable. Another friend and fellow FiST owner tried the rear sway bar route and claims it only made issues worse. The reduction in bump make the rough roads much more tolerable, making it similar in overall ride comfort of it’s bigger brother, the FoST. Koni should have these shocks available by late summer according to my last communication with them.

        • 0 avatar
          stottpie

          Thank you so much for that. Did you do front/rear/both?

          • 0 avatar
            sirbunz

            Yes, both front and rear. If you are further interested, have your dealer contact Lee or Todd & Koni NA in the street car division for more info. They were the guys in charge of developing shocks for this car.

    • 0 avatar
      Spencer Williams

      I too bought this car after drinving the FoST, the MS3, and Cooper S. Didn’t drive the VW, was afraid I’d like it.

      Did you get the Cobb tune? I purchased the Livernois Motorsports tuner, said to add 65tq amd 18hp. But the interface on the Livernois tuner is super 90s, you can’t play with gauges, datalog, or anything else, just download the tune. I haven’t installed it yet, want to get to a thousand miles before doing so, let’s see if I make it.

      Yes, suspension can be a bit harsh, but I’m okay with that, at least so far.

      • 0 avatar
        turboprius

        “Didn’t drive the VW, was afraid I’d like it.”

        Why would you be afraid to like the GTI? I sat in an MK7 Golf (the new 2015 one) at my auto show, and it was really nice. Really roomy backseat for a two-door, nice interior, and a good value. The 2013 GTI is a whole ton more reliable on TrueDelta than the 2013 Focus ST, and about on par with the Cooper (but the Cooper has an awful 2012, so not much hope for that).

        Honestly, I think the best choice would’ve been a Civic Si, but everyone has different preferences, and here, people seem to hate sedans. I hope you enjoy your Fiesta.

        • 0 avatar
          sirbunz

          I have owned a 99 Si, 02 Si, 06 TSX, and 08 Si and other Hondas. I liked the 99 and 02, but dislike the rest in hindsight. I still have a couple S2000s for a fun weekend car and other race car (see Mark/Jack’s rants about them on TTAC), but gave up on Honda and it’s current offerings. The current Si feels like an Accord to me, and I feel the Hondas of old are long gone.

      • 0 avatar
        sirbunz

        I’m waiting on the stage 2 to become available before I make up my mind. I’m fortunate to have 2 great ecu tuners within 1 hour of me, so once quality mods prove themselves, I’m anxious to buy and unlock some of the performance! Based on past experiences, the typical mods for a turbo car will greatly improve everything… from fuel economy and emissions , to power and reliability. We have 93 octane locally, but with added (reformulated) junk that is hard on cars. I fill up outside the city when I can, but a proper tune can help.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    “Cheap. Fast. Reliable. Pick two.”

    Sounds like the Engineer’s Credo to me:

    1 – On time.
    2 – No defects.
    3 – Pick one.

  • avatar
    jdmcomp

    No 3 door no purchase. I just do not like the 5 door version. Guess I will take another look at the new Mini. Or god forbide, the GTI.

    • 0 avatar
      Beerboy12

      My error with the GTI was 3 doors, at the end of the day 5 doors is winning because 3 doors, while is looks nice, is a PIA.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      When cars get this small, I agree with you. One of the things I like best about my Abarth are those HUGE doors. I am a BIG guy, getting in a Fiesta is a major squeeze. The back seat is mostly worthless anyway, so why waste a pair of doors on it.

      I test drove a Fiesta ST and really liked it. Rationally, I agree with Derek that it that it is a better, more resolved total package than the Abarth. But the Abarth is MUCH more fun! And I would much rather have a car that feels and sounds fast while not being fast to one that doesn’t feel fast. My license is much safer that way. Luckily, my Abarth is a toy – if I had to have only one car I would rather have the Ford. But I would still want it to be a 3dr.

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    I doubt many cross shop the two, but I might consider one of these before a Mustang. If I’m giving up that much passenger space, I might as well have the small footprint and low weight to go along with it, as well as a body style that allows easy access to luggage space.

    There is also the substantial savings in purchase price. Even a V6 2015 Mustang optioned the way I want is knocking on $30k, compared to $24,440 for a well equipped Fiesta. I’m sure Ford is flexible with the Fiesta, while deals on the new Mustang will be hard to find for a while. These savings continue with fuel, insurance, and maintenance bills.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Inexpensive enthusiast car with a turbo = appealing to younger lead-foots = high auto insurance rates. Anyone with real-world data? Is insuring one of these like having a Scion tC, or Subaru WRX?

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Hmm…maybe insurance isn’t quite as low as I thought. Obviously lots of variables go into insurance rates, but I think we can look at Edmund’s TCO to get the general idea. Hopefully they use the same assumptions for all cars so they can be compared. A few samples (#s are five year totals):

      2014 WRX sedan 5M: $11,948
      2014 Mustang V6 coupe 6M: $13,867
      2014 Focus ST: $10,806
      2014 Fiesta hatch Titanium 5M: $11,368
      2014 Scion FRS 6M: $14,156

      Unfortunately, numbers for the Fiesta ST were not available. My guess is it will land somewhere just north of the WRX, but still less than the Mustang.

      I’m sure these numbers will receive some criticism, so just to reiterate – although they might not make sense based on whatever you pay now, it should at least be an apples to apples comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan

        From the same Edmunds’ tool:

        14 Corolla LE: $14,028.

        14 Nissan GT-R: $13,835.

        Apples to apples, but they’re horse apples.

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          Zip code impacts the results, and you apparently live in a very expensive place to insure cars. My zip code has $12,173 for the Corolla.

          Nonetheless, that is still slightly more expensive than the GT-R ($12,005). That’s bizarre. It’s possible that the cost of a GT-R means only statistically responsible drivers are insuring them, though it might also mean that Edmunds’s TCO numbers fall apart when it comes to rare cars.

          • 0 avatar
            hgrunt

            I think it’s more likely that GTR owners cost less to the insurance company, as far as claims go. Corvettes are also strangely cheap to insure, given their level of performance, because they tend to be owned by safer drivers.

            With Corollas, there’s a lot of them on the road, and people commute, put lots of miles on them, etc. overall, corollas owners make more claims and cost the insurance company more money.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          I didn’t pick the GT-R out of a hat. I googled “most expensive vehicles to insure 2014″, which brought up an insure.com study of quotes for 850 vehicles from 6 insurers each, the results of which were exactly the list of ridiculously powerful and expensive cars that you’d expect it to be with the GT-R at the top by a hair.

          So I don’t believe it’s a case of responsible GT-R drivers in a world of Corolla drivers making claims. I believe it’s a case of Edmunds insurance estimate tool being full of chit.

  • avatar

    Having driven these both in dealer test drives and at the Ecoboost challenge AutoX, this car’s at the top of my list. Shades of ‘Teg Type-R and Nissan B13 SE-R, in a modern (safe) package. That they only come in manual is just the perfect touch.

  • avatar
    stanczyk

    Americans don’t get hot-hatches.. !

    It’s an european invention .. and in Europe actually Fiesta ST(not Renault Clio RS as it used to be for a long time..) is considered the best, ‘purest’ hot-hatch .. (and it’s one of the cheapest , and it’s got 2-door option) ..
    Focus ST is bigger, and it’s lacking little Fiesta ST cool-car charm .. in Focus segment old Renault Megane RS is stil the best .. ,
    maybe Focus RS will make some stir..


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