Evo Finds Out What's Faster: Fiesta ST Or FR-S

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

When Jack Baruth took the Scion FR-S to the track and pronounced it the least desirable among its chief rivals, some readers were despondent. How could the car that would supposedly provide good care for the sick and slow the rise of the oceans be ranked dead last against a hairdresser’s car and a Korean Pony Car?

EVO Magazine stands as one of the few outlets that hasn’t bought into the Toyobaru hype either. A prior test against a Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy was fair less charitable than the ST vs GT86 shootout above. Even so, the latest shootout has a Ford Fiesta ST, a front drive hot hatch that’s down on displacement and outright power, handing the Toyota GT86 its ass.

Now, EVO’s Dickie Meaden says that the GT86 is much more fun – the same rationale we used to rank the MX-5 in first place, despite being the slowest car and rolling in the corners like a Coachella reveler high on MDMA. Fun counts for a lot. Unless you are a real HPDE 1 hero or, an auto journalist, your lap times really count for very little in the real world. But it’s worth noting that the lead the ST established over the GT86 is pretty big. And the Fiesta ST seems to shake a tail just fine, even if it is “wrong wheel drive”. We know the Toyobarus are fun cars and capable track cars. If anything, this suggests that the Fiesta ST should be an absolute riot, and perhaps even better than the Focus ST.

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  • Oldyak Oldyak on Jun 28, 2013

    The frigging Fiesta costs $22000!!! Really...$22k for a Fiesta..Really Thank god for 72 mo financing huh??

  • Brock_Landers Brock_Landers on Jun 28, 2013

    Sorry about the Subaru engine codes, but still I guess 2.5 version wouldn't have been too much more expensive to develop. There is one used car that has quite similar characteristics to GT86, but doesn't suffer from under powered engine. It is BMW Z4 3.0si Coupe, chassis code-named E86 (!) :) Preferably with manual transmission and M-Sport seats and suspension. Curb weight is around 100kg heavier than GT86, but that is basically all. Small car, light weight(relatively), two seats, long hood, coupe bodystyle, low seating position, practical trunk, E46 3-series suspension and rest of the technical parts (cheap to maintain). 3.0si has 265hp and 315nm of torque. Only theoretical downside is electric power steering, but Ive driven one, and it feels quite nicely weighed and direct. Market value is around 18K USD for those cars, as with sports cars most of them have low mileage. Torsional rigidity is 32.000 nm/degree - which is world class super car level, and you can really feel it, the car feels very tight and well put together. Suspension feels very well sorted and handling is really sharp. It's quite a special feeling when you are behind the wheel - seating position is very low, you sit basically very close to the rear axle, in front of you is a long sloping hood, steering wheel is smallish and thick and m-seats hold you firmly in place. Few non-m cars (and even M-cars) can claim to be the Ultimate Driving Machine, but this one really can wear this title proudly. Z4M is ofcourse faster, but already in a different league - 100kg heavier, way more expensive to maintain, uses lot of different and more expensive special m-parts etc and market prices are around 10k usd higher. So 3.0si coupe is an affordable true drivers car. Anyone who considers buying GT86, but feels its too thin and lacks power and is also open minded about used cars should consider the E86. Funny that this little BMW went totally under the radar for auto journalists. And if you buy one, then first thing to do is ditch the run-flats and buy proper normal performance tires - then the car's true nature really comes alive and harshness/tramlining on a bumpy roads disappears. As with with all true performance cars (GT86 including:)) tire choice is crucial for handling response, cornering speed and road feel - stock factory tire choice isn't always the best option. There are only few reviews online about the 3.0si version (most are about M-version), but here is one: http://www.evo.co.uk/carreviews/evocarreviews/202574/bmw_z4_30si_coupe.html

  • See 7 up See 7 up on Jun 28, 2013

    The Fiesta can't "shake its ass". It can loss grip and slide its ass around, like any car setup to do so will. The Subayota can shake it from a standstill, like any good modern RWD car can. Its a big difference and something FWD will never achieve.

  • KentuckyRob KentuckyRob on Jul 31, 2013

    I'll lay it on the line. I drove a 1972 Opel GT in the mid 1970's. It replaced a 1972 Vega GT on which I installed one of the first sets of BF Goodrich radial TA's, 60 series. 60 series back then was what 40 series is today. Technically, the Vega cornered better, but the Opel was a HELL of a lot more fun, especially when I threw a rear axle, with European anti-sway bar (from an Opel Kadet) on it. I moved from Seattle to a small farm in central Kentucky two years ago. My commute is 122 round trip miles, most of which is on back roads and twisties. Right now I'm passing a lot of corn, soy and Tobacco on my way to work on roads that have a default speed limit of 55, which will kill you in some places. I needed to retire the Chrysler 300m at 200k miles and shopped around. I looked at the mini, the Focus ST, Genesis, even the Dodge Dart GT. I don't have TV and did not know these cars existed until three months ago when I saw the Subaru and, searching the internet, realized it had a Scion twin. I've owned a 2006 Scion xBox since it was new in 2006 and absolutely love that car. I'll drive it to the junk yard. So I read the reviews, the hype, the naysayers and everything else. Then I test drove one. Two months ago I bought the FR-S. It has been two months of absolute bliss. I kick the rear end out at least twice a day and that second gear chirp never ceases to bring a smile to my face. And yes, it is very reminiscent of the Opel GT. I'm sure I could put more sticky tires on it and get it to scream around the corners, but that was not the point. I LOVE sliding around on my way to work every single day. I also love the "Opel GT / Stingray" top fender bulges. And the interior! It's retro in just the way I like it. I absolutely LOVE this car like none I've ever owned. It's like driving a comfortable - and quiet - go-cart to work every day. If I had asked them to build me a car, this is pretty much exactly what I would have asked for. Side notes: I don't do turbos. I'm old enough to still not trust them. I like a car to be as small as possible and still be comfortable. I play bass and I can get my bass and an amp into this car and still carry a passenger. I read that the engine sounds bad at high revs, but I LOVE the sound. It's a stick and I am getting between 30 and 34 mpg, depending on how many slides and chirps I do. I have no desire to race. I did that stuff in the 70's. A friend still races 1960's Lola's at tracks around the country and, frankly, this car reminds me of those in many ways. The styling is retro in just the right way. I will do no mods to this car. I'll put 35k a year on it until it goes the way of the Blues Brothers police car, which is the condition most of my cars are when I finally trade them in, almost always for $500. All of my cars are white, so naturally I got it in white out. Well be driving it to Chicago a lot to see the grand kids and the east coast to, well, drive in the six states I have yet to drive in. :) It kind of reminds me of a review of the MG Midget I read in C&D or R&T in the 70's. They said it didn't go very fast but it FELT fast - and isn't that the point? Exactly. I can't wait to drive to work tomorrow.

    • Hgrunt Hgrunt on Aug 06, 2015

      Wonderful post! I adore the BRZ/FRS twins. I haven't driven a modern car that's been so immediately rewarding to steer around at normal every day speeds. (disclaimer: I haven't driven a Fiesta ST yet). Next to a 987 Cayman S, it feels more playful. I looked at the R&T Long Term Conclusion, and they said the BRZ was fine on it's own, but not stellar compared to it's competitors...but it's not like an FRS/BRZ owner will be hopping in and out of a fleet of shiny new cars all the time. The internet makes bench racers louder than ever before, because it's easy to look up numbers and discuss. Just because it loses internet bench races, or magazine editors who can compare them to dozens of cars at the same time, doesn't necessarily mean it's a horrible car. Ultimately, the best car to get, is the one that makes you the happiest and I think that's something people overlook. Whether it's a 600hp Hellcat stuck idling on the Long Island Expressway on friday afternoon, because you love winning internet bench races and it satisfies your machismo, or a 25 year old Miata with no power steering driving down Pacific Coast Highway during sunset, because you enjoy the act of driving regardless of speed.