By on March 23, 2015

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I’m approximately one month and seven hundred eighty miles into my twenty-four month lease of my 2015 Ford Fiesta ST. I have no desire to make TTAC my own personal blog about my car (I mean, who doesn’t have a blog nowadays?), but I do wish to keep y’all updated on what it’s like to own or lease one of the hottest cars on the enthusiast landscape today.

Today’s installment focuses on what it’s like to have the Fiesta ST as a family car. For the sake of this discussion, let’s pretend like there isn’t a Ford Flex hiding behind the white garage door in the picture above, and that I have to use the Fiesta for my daily driver for my four-person family. I did my best to simulate those conditions during my first month of leasership, but this happened:

008

For the first couple of weeks, the Fiesta ST (or as I like to call him, Zippy) spent a good deal of time in my driveway, underneath big brother Boss’ car cover. In retrospect, I think seeing the Boss in the garage and the Fiesta underneath the car cover may have inspired the SuBaruth (RIP) to commit suicide. Since I have yet to acquire any snow tires or steel wheels for Zippy, he sat like this about two weeks. Next winter, since I won’t have the Lego wagon anymore, I’ll be able to give you a little bit better perspective on how the Fiesta fares in the snow.

But, for now, let’s focus on what it’s been like since all the powder melted away in the grand Commonwealth of Kentucky. Well, let me put it to you this way—the above picture was the only time that the Boss has left the garage since I acquired the Fiesta. I haven’t had any need or desire to drive it, because the ST is simply that good.

However, we’re going to save the driving dynamics for another time. Most importantly, how has it fared as a family truckster?

Well, the suspension is tuned pretty stiffly. The potholes that appeared in the highways as a result of the winter weather are downright deadly for the Fiesta. The kids feel each and every bump when seated in the back. Mrs. Bark remarked that it was remarkably similar to riding in my old RX-8 when it was prepared for SCCA B Stock Autocross on revalved Koni Yellows.

006

Despite the bumpy ride, the kids love riding in it. As you can see, there’s plenty of room for a seven-year-old in a booster seat. Even though it lacks the pure volume of the Boss 302’s Coyote-powered roar, the turbo whine that is pumped into the cabin by the sound symposer makes them laugh and command Dad to go faster. Kevin still prefers that I pick him up from school in the Mustang, but he’s a fan of Zippy, as well.

004

How about for daily tasks like buying groceries for a family of four? As you can see above, $170 of groceries fits just fine into the cargo area, provided that you move the floor down to its lowest position (yes, we go through a lot of toilet paper). Other items that the Fiesta has swallowed quite comfortably under the hatch include my 27″ suitcase (although the carry-on has to go in the back seat—there’s no additional room), Kevin’s tri-fold posterboard for his science project, and the vast amount of materials required when one adopts a cat.

011

 

Complaints from a family hauler perspective? The rear windshield is small. Like, super small. When two kiddos have their heads elevated by their car seats, it becomes pretty difficult to see out of the back.

The side impact safety rating for the rear seats is two stars—in other words, it’s dismal. It causes Ford to have to place an asterisk on the Monroney sticker, which indicates an “area of concern.” I don’t mind putting the kids back there for 25 MPH trips to school and the grocery store, but I’d feel a bit worried about having them back there at highway speeds for any length of time.

Along those same lines, I’m simply not used to being in such a small car on the highway. Sometimes I have found myself unexpectedly making an emergency evasive maneuver simply because a larger SUV or semi didn’t see me.

The stereo is not so great. While the MyFordTouch has worked flawlessly so far, the tinny sound of the speakers makes listening to the “Frozen” soundtrack even more annoying than usual.

Could you live with a Fiesta ST as your only car with a young family of four? You could, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it, if only because of the safety concerns. It’s the sort of thing that a childless Bark wouldn’t have even thought about ten years ago, but especially after the accident that Jack had last year, in which his son and my nephew (does that clarify things a bit?) was miraculously unharmed, I can’t ignore it.

Next week, we will do a little comparison with another B segment car from an American automaker with a young lady from whom we haven’t heard in quite some time…be prepared, TTAC faithful.

 

 

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105 Comments on “Long-term Tester Update: Fiesta ST vs. The Family of Four...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Side impact is a much bigger concern on slow surface streets with intersections than the highway. Seems the Fiesta is a bit of the worst of both worlds in that regard.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick 2012

      A Yamato-class car seat like the Britax Pinnacle or Recaro ProSport could help fill in the missing side-impact protection on the FiST.

    • 0 avatar
      tmport

      I’m really glad Bark brought up the safety ratings because they’re the main thing that caused me to cross this car off my short list. It’s not just the NHTSA’s side impact test: the IIHS’s small overlap front result is worrisome, too. The IIHS gave it a “marginal,” but if you watch the video and read the test details, it’s borderline “poor.” It says a lot about Ford that they haven’t bothered to re-engineer at least the side safety structure to address this. What was the point of the 2014 refresh if not to address glaring issues like this?

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    Cute kid, nice car…but your paper products selection needs work. For paper towels, it’s Bounty or GTFO. Cottonelle is..I’m sorry, it’s for savages. The Devil’s Own TP. Dusty, crumbly paperboard. AngelSoft is where it’s at.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      I’m all about Northern, myself. Once, and only ONCE, did my beloved buy Scott tissue. I knew what it was immediately, because my buttcrack had retained the memories of dealing with my cheapskate-extreme grandmother over 25 years ago.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Viva and Charmin Ultra Soft! Nice car, too. Reminds me yet again how awful it is that there aren’t more hot hatchback options in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      “For paper towels, it’s Bounty or GTFO.”

      Agreed.

      I can’t say I’m with the commentariat on toilet paper, though. I buy Scott if only to avoid the smarmy advertising (Seriously, those @#$#ing bears? Doing what they do in the woods? WHAT THE…) and ridiculous quilting and multiple layers. It’s like wiping your butt with the inside of a Cutlass Supreme Brougham.

    • 0 avatar
      saabaru

      I choose my toilet paper by a process of elimination. -George Carlin

      • 0 avatar
        chaparral

        I just found out where the TTAC Skinflintariat spends all the money they save by driving a Camry instead of a V8 Charger, a Civic instead of a Mini, an ancient P71 instead of something decent.

        I thought it would have been spent at the autocross on the weekends, used to prepay the mortgage to be free sooner, invested in the little side business.

        No, I was wrong. Y’all wipe your butts with it.

        -Chaparral, proud buyer of John Wayne toilet paper.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      All of you poor wage slaves out there failing to follow Dave Ramsey’s sage advice as you literally flush your money down the toilet with the purchase of so-called “premium” bathroom tissue. Don’t you know that leaves are plentiful AND free?

      Then again, I pulp, dry, and roll my own bathroom tissue in my workshop. But I guess I just come from a time and family where REAL MEN knew how to provide bathroom products.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Charmin/Bounty, it’s what separates us from the savages

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        “All of you poor wage slaves out there failing to follow Dave Ramsey’s sage advice as you literally flush your money down the toilet with the purchase of so-called “premium” bathroom tissue. Don’t you know that leaves are plentiful AND free?

        Then again, I pulp, dry, and roll my own bathroom tissue in my workshop. But I guess I just come from a time and family where REAL MEN knew how to provide bathroom products.”

        It’s possible that this is the best post I’ve ever seen on TTAC.

    • 0 avatar

      I use Quilted Northern for now, but I plan to install a bidet in my toilet soon.

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    I still can’t believe that a symposer is a real thing. They should have called it a “car kazoo”. If I had one of these, I would cork the kazoo pipe about 5 minutes after I got it home.

    Plenty of room for a seven year old is damning with faint praise. What happens when the 7 year old is 14?

    I’ve never understood the small car obsession – if you are going to make a car that is supposed to seat 4 or 5, why not make it big enough to actually seat 4 or 5 adult human beings? There is not a huge savings in manufacturing cost in shrinking the car – you still need one of everything. Why would you want to drive something that is uncomfortable and leaves you in fear of being squashed like a bug? This car stickers for almost $22K in base form – for that price you could have a midsized sedan and not live in fear.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      If your driving includes “…fear of being squashed like a bug”, you are in desperate need of education in modern risk.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      My 328 (E90) fits my twelve year old daughter…but just. And the ride quality is similar to what Bark described for the ST. As suck, even though much bigger than the Fiesta, it’s still too small for my family of three. It’s technically functional, but involves quite a few compromises.

      So I’m with you on seating 5 adults. It shows you why the default vehicles are now small CUVs. Better sight lines for kids in back too (mine gets car sick, so needs good visibility, not low back seats and a high belt-line).

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Efficiency aside, there’re still some people who don’t get a sense of security out of being wrapped in 2+ tons of metal, and appreciate something that is small, fleet and easy to see out of (although it’s sad this car fails badly to the rear). There’s also the issue of parking, which is neither easy or cheap in some of the environments this car is great for. As the kids get older, you can reevaluate your needs. My dad still rues the day he sold his 2002 because he was sick of lifting me in and out of the back.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “What happens when the 7 year old is 14?”

      Or in bulky infant/toddler rear-facing seats, at the other end of the kiddo spectrum. I’ve always liked the Fiesta and this one looks like a blast, but the progeny can put a damper on it.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Every single car is tuned to sound a certain way. A sound symposer is just one of many devices used to tune the sound. Even the exotic Lexus LF-A uses a sound symposer on its air intake.

      What I’m trying to say is, even though a sound symposer might be an obvious effort at tuning the sound, there are plenty of other less-obvious features that tune the sound. Yet “the internet” only seems to complain about the sound symposers.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “I’ve never understood the small car obsession – if you are going to make a car that is supposed to seat 4 or 5, why not make it big enough to actually seat 4 or 5 adult human beings?”

      The problem with the Fiesta is that, compared to the rest of the class, it’s the one of the few that can’t fit 4 adult human beings. The Fit and Versa both do so fairly easily—better than the Focus—and even the Yaris can manage it. The Ford is pretty cramped.

      Small cars are easy to live with, but this one is a little low on the practicality side.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      “What happens when the 7 year old is 14?”

      Who cares, the lease will have been over for at least 5 years by then.

      The Fiesta is an odd duck in this segment. The Fit and Versa are cavernous and only lose to a midsize sedan in width. Me personally, I hate big cars and prefer to get cars as small as possible, so this segment has a lot of appeal. The risk of dying or sustaining serious injury in a car crash is lower than ever these days. I’d rather spend the other 99.9999999999999999999999999999999% of my time driving enjoying myself, and a small performance car is the easiest + cheapest way for me to do that.

      • 0 avatar
        319583076

        “The risk of dying or sustaining serious injury in a car crash is lower than ever these days. I’d rather spend the other 99.9999999999999999999999999999999% of my time driving enjoying myself, and a small performance car is the easiest + cheapest way for me to do that.”

        Thank you!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “I’ve never understood the small car obsession – if you are going to make a car that is supposed to seat 4 or 5, why not make it big enough to actually seat 4 or 5 adult human beings?”

      They’ll fit, maybe not comfortably. Remember when cars were actually small?

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        I am with you. Other than the sporting convertible reasoning behind the Miata, I do not get the small car. There has to be some mathematical formula for finding the line not to cross economically.
        I guess this would always be somewhere around the mid-size car. Maybe a decent compact like the Mazda3…but again ONLY if the hatch. I mean, why get a 3 sedan when the 6 is so much better and close in price.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          “I mean, why get a 3 sedan when the 6 is so much better and close in price.”

          Better how? The 3 is the quicker, more communicative, more efficient, more maneuverable, and more responsive vehicle. Easier to park, too. I’d have paid more for my 3 than the 6 in 2004, and the same is probably true now. I got the hatch but would have taken the sedan if such a thing weren’t available. The 6 was nice for its size though. If I hadn’t liked the 3 so much, I would have gone with either the 6 or an Accord. I didn’t like any other compacts at the time.

          Four of me, at 5′-10″, can comfortably fit in a Mazda3 for a long trip. That’s plenty of room for larger guys to put up with sitting back there for jaunts across the city. If four of us were going for a highway trip, we’re better off taking two vehicles anyway, because being a passenger is boring and the back seat is a depressing place no matter what vehicle you’re in. Forward visibility is poor, and you feel like you’re being transported somewhere rather than actively participating in the journey.

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      A base $22k midsize sedan and a Fiesta ST are extremely unlikely to be cross-shopped. The Fiesta ST is one of the cheapest enthusiast-oriented options out there, an Altima 2.5S is not. Asking why someone would get one over the other as if they’re interchangeable is completely nonsensical.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      Since it’s only a two year lease I guess we’ll only get to find out how a nine year old fits.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      $22.5k also buys you a base Grand Caravan, so why wouldn’t you buy one of those over a base mid-sized sedan? It’s bigger, so it’s better, right?

      As it is though, I have a similar sized subcompact, and have gotten plenty of average sized adults in it with no complaints, and if they did, they’re perfectly welcome to arrange their own ride. My wife’s uncle (6’5 and 300+lbs, I believe) was a little cozy, but was willing to put up with it for a half hour or so.

      But light weight is its own reward, mostly – less weight to push around, so a smaller, more efficient engine is adequate, less weight to fight against going around corners, and a small footprint is nice to have in tight parking. It’s not optimal for lots of highway driving, but I don’t do lots of highway driving, so it works for me.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Agree. Functionality and practicality trump all else when it comes to raising a family. A base Caravan in Canada starts at under $20k. That includes the required mod cons such as auto, A/C, power windows, locks and stow and go 3rd row seats.

        It can easily handle multiple child seats, groceries and cat supplies at the same time. Or make a trip to Ikea or Home Depot.

        You won’t worry about your family’s safety when driving in it.

        And at $20k it leaves you with enough money to invest in either your kids’ education fund or an enthusiasts’ vehicle for yourself.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      “What happens when the 7 year old is 14?”

      . . . and still uses a child’s car seat.

      http://carseatblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/PN90-fit.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      A Caving Ape

      Wow, where to start.

      First off, the “squashed like a bug” fear is most often an illusion- if you hit a tree or semi, it doesn’t matter if you’re surrounded by 1.5 tons of metal or 2. If you go off the road and roll it, it doesn’t matter. If you hit a big SUV, it only barely matters. And cars are getting safer at such a pace, even with the less-than-stellar rating, I’m sure that the fiesta will outperform anything from 10+ years ago safetywise.

      Small cars are often perfectly fine for fitting people who come in under the average American weight and waistband (yes yes I know, you and your family are all 6’3″), and while rear seats may not be the most comfortable, be honest with yourself- they’re empty 95%+ of the time the car is being operated. The tradeoff is worth it.

      In return, cost savings are significant. At automaker scale, raw materials are a huge expenditure. Having 2,500lb of stuff is going to save a ton of money compared to 4,000lb of stuff. Shipping savings too. That’s why the Fiesta can sticker for 22 even with all the go-fast stuff.

      And of course, less weight is great for the consumer. Less gas, better acceleration, better handling, fewer tires, and so on.

      I think that about covers the basics of the small car obsession. If you want to transport 4 adults on a regular basis (10%+ of the time), get a mid sizer. 5? Plenty of three row options out here.

  • avatar
    319583076

    “Sometimes I have found myself unexpectedly making an emergency evasive maneuver simply because a larger SUV or semi didn’t see me.”

    In my experience, they usually see you, but because you’re in a smaller vehicle, they take the lane anyway.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Hopefully the factory speakers are a standard size and easy to replace. I can’t live with a crappy stereo. A replaceable double-DIN radio and standard size speakers have risen on my list of must-haves, right up there with a manual transmission and air conditioning.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    That grocery picture saddens me, and really hits home. Karen and I know all too well just how little $200 gets you these days, even by shopping at Walamrt and dollar stores almost exclusively.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Need Flex Sport. Why oh why, Ford, would you sportify the Explorer instead of the Flex?!

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    Thank you for commenting on the 2-star side impact rating. I haven’t noticed this in any of the many glowing reviews I’ve read of the car, but it’s a big deal- especially in an ostensibly practical hatchback.

    My wife and I are in the market to replace her 2-door GTI thanks to our new son, this information takes the Fiesta off the list and has me checking up on the Focus ratings.

    EDIT: Which source scored the Fiesta poorly? IIHS and NHTSA both give this car good side impact ratings for rear occupants.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s right on the window sticker.

      • 0 avatar
        hf_auto

        Ahh thank you. This is very strange, cars.com (and others) show the side barrier- rear passenger rating as 5* for NHTSA, but safercar.gov/NHTSA show the 2* rating.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick 2012

        The Fiesta’s Euro NCAP side impact and (brutal) pole-impact scores are pretty solid.

        http://www.euroncap.com/en/results/ford/fiesta/10922

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          Euro NCAP uses a 2,090 pound trolley moving at 31 mph.

          NHTSA uses a 3,015 pound trolley moving at 38.5 mph.

          The NHTSA test is tougher.

          • 0 avatar
            Superdessucke

            I’m sure that’s because cars (er, SUVs and CUVs) are much much bigger over here.

            What has the world come to when a guy can’t even drive his kids around in a right sized car without being terrified for their lives? But as we speak, the government is offering incentives in the form of cheap gas and even outright tax breaks to people to drive these giant automotive battering rams. A shame.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      I recently spent a week with 2015 Focus SE hatch rental. I really liked it. Terrific trunk, even with the rear seats up. Sharp enough handling, 2.0L a hair rough but never lacking in power. Outstanding highway manners and decent seats, ate up the miles. All the tech worked perfectly. I was impressed.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Why not a 4 door GTI? I’ve come away unimpressed with current Ford’s interior efficiency relative to the size of the car outside (Fiesta.. especially with Recaros, Focus, Escape). I was stuck in the back of a current gen Focus with my wife when we went to a DC United match from Baltimore with 2 friends. It was super crowded compared to the MKV GTI I had just before that. On paper they do fine, but their measuring method as laid out by Michael Karesh explains why the feel so tiny. ( https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/11/review-2013-ford-escape-titanium/ ) Even before Ford’s accounting errors, the GTI has an extra 2″ of rear legroom over the Focus despite being a shorter car with a shorter wheelbase.

      The other place where the GTI shines, and especially on the MKVII, is width. It feels like there is a ton of shoulder and hip room in the new MKVII. Despite being an inch narrower than the Focus, it has 1″ more shoulder room in the rear.

      With today’s car seats, that extra width and length in the back seat is most welcome… particularly if you have a rear facing seat. My daughter is front facing now and I put her in the back of my FR-S frequently. Front facing is generally a cakewalk, though. I didn’t buy my FR-S until well after she was front facing because rear facing is the pits with a tight back seat.

      • 0 avatar
        baconator

        FWIW, I’ve driven both the current 4-door GTI and the FiST and the Fiesta is *way* more fun to drive. The GTI is very nice – legitimately a competitor to the 320i IMHO – but the Fiesta is one of the those cars that you want to drive even when you have no reason to drive anywhere.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Surprised by the poor side impact rating. Should be noted that this is the NHTSA rating. The IIHS still gives the Fiesta its highest grade in side impacts. Usually, the IIHS is harder to pass, they use a heavier ram at SUV height rather than car height.

    The best side impact protection is looking both ways before going through an intersection. Last week there was a drunk red light runner that creamed a midsize sedan with excellent safety ratings. Bumper hit right on the driver’s door as if there was a bulls-eye on it. Driver didn’t live. Safety ratings only get you so far.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    I must be in the minority of people who care not one bit about safety ratings. I go with the odds that I will not be in a crash, and certainly not one serious enough to cause injury. Each time my car has been hit, it’s been in a parking lot.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Count me in that minority that understands the risk of a fatal car accident is vanishingly small and thus, does not factor into my automotive decision-making process.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    A friend of ours got smashed between two very large vehicles while waiting for a light in her 1st gen Fit. Something along the lines as she was hit head-on by someone running the light and pushed into a commercial box truck or something. She was alone in the car, if her daughter had been in there, she would have been killed. Our friend was badly injured too.

    It’s not that I don’t love small cars and that our friend suffered a rather rare kind of accident. But her accident and having our twin boys has made me consider safety more than in the past. My last accident was one in which I was rear ended by someone while sitting at a light in the low afternoon sun. I couldn’t go anywhere, so I saw it coming and had to brace for impact.

    I was in an 04 Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback and was hit by an early 00’s Impala. The impact bent the structure so much I couldn’t open the rear doors. My license plate was imprinted on the bumper of the Impala. The car was in great shape, but due to the miles and severity of the damage, it was totaled. Which was fine, I was sick of it anyway. The car did what it was supposed to do, deform to protect me. But that longroof took much of the impact, I could only imagine if I had been in a Fit, Fiesta or even my 01 Focus that I traded on the Mitsu.

    My point is that I don’t worry about me, it’s the other person. And with distracted driving being the worst it’s ever been, I feel the safety rating is more important than ever.

    But I love these kind of cars, so it’s tough to put so much emphasis on something that might or might not happen. Thanks for the write-up on the “family truckster” aspect though.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      The risk is extremely small – so small that human beings have no intuition and little experience with such small numbers. A fundamental problem of modernity is innumeracy with very large and very small numbers which leads to sub-optimal resource allocation.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Denver

        I don’t think it is “vanishingly small” . There are still over 30,000 highway deaths per year in the US, which is like a Vietnam War every two years. In the past it was upwards of 50,000 and the cumulative total of deaths over the last 50 years is around TWO MILLION. Two million dead is not “vanishingly small”.

        Now, in commercial aircraft, on a worldwide basis, there were 265 deaths in total in 2013. THAT is a vanishingly small risk.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          How many people have died in the last 50 years?

          Compare that to your 2 million and tell me whether or not it’s vanishingly small.

          You argument is absurd.

          The fact is – 1-2% of Americans can expect to die in motor vehicle accidents. Compared to the number of people transported, and the number of miles travelled, that is a vanishingly small risk of death.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            One thing I’ll point out here is that the woman who was my passenger in the January 2014 crash is still undergoing corrective surgeries and she’ll have one or two more this year. She’s been in constant pain for the last fourteen months and she’s spent over sixty days in the hospital.

            She’s not part of the death statistics, but a car with better side impact protection would have changed our lives for the better and you can rest assured that I examined the side impact ratings of every car we considered to replace the Town Car.

            Cue insightful comment about an army always being prepared to win its last war.

          • 0 avatar
            gearhead77

            It might be a small risk, but it’s still there. And numbers are numbers until it affects you personally. It’s a fairly remote chance to be sure, but I’ll take a slightly less engaging drive if it means me or someone I’m close to can live a normal life again.

        • 0 avatar
          Funky

          Thank you (Jack Denver), for reminding us of these numbers. These numbers and the comparisons help to provide perspective.

        • 0 avatar
          S2k Chris

          30k highway deaths per year, but I remember reading about 66%+ of those are related to people who are drunk, unbuckled, or both (or hit by a drunk, which is more common when on the roads after midnight).

          With very little risk mitigation you can vastly decrease your chances of being killed in a motor vehicle.

          That said, if I was cross shopping two vehicles (say a FoST/FiST and a GTI) I might use the safety ratings as a tie breaker absent any other preference. I am not THAT concerned with safety (I DD’d an S2000 for 4 years fer crissakes) but it would seem to me not getting “abysmal” safety ratings shouldn’t be too high a bar to clear.

        • 0 avatar
          Kevin Jaeger

          In our modern safety-nannied existence those 30,000 traffic deaths per year is one of the few real risks young kids are actually exposed to. Yes, the risk has declined a lot but it has been accomplished by buyers demanding safer vehicles.

          This vehicle is still much safer than my 20 year old Miata, but it is perfectly reasonable for people to want something better for hauling their families. It is a small but still very real risk that can easily be reduced.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Small cars are great for cities where commuters generally wont be going that fast, not that great on the open road beyond a few certain models.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The Five Hundred was a D-platform car. How bad could they mess up Volvo’s design? The current D-platform vehicles all have 5 Star side impact ratings, along with every other rating.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      > My last accident was one in which I was rear ended by someone while sitting at a light in the low afternoon sun. I couldn’t go anywhere, so I saw it coming and had to brace for impact.

      I’ve had 2 accident’s like that in the past decade, they’re the worst. The first one I was blindsided and the girl plowed into me with her civic doing at least 30-40, it seriously jarred me. The second one the impact speed was lower as the lady actually tried to brake, but her car was that much more massive (Saab 9-7X). My wife saw that one coming and warned me to brace at the last second, I still felt like crap for a few days, and I was wearing flip-flops and sliced one of my feet open on a pedal.

      I guess what I’m getting at is increases in safety only do so much, as that force has to go somewhere. I honestly think there’s not much more automakers can do at this point to dissipate the kinetic energy in a crash, they’re just that good now. Money would be better spent in collision avoidance systems like auto-brake radar. I know at least one those 2 accidents wouldn’t have happened to me had those systems existed at the time.

  • avatar
    AK

    I wanted to get a Fiesta ST.

    But I just couldn’t deal with the size and the interior quality so I ended up with a 2015 Focus ST.

    Definitely curious to read more about how it is to live with the Fiesta.

  • avatar
    GMat

    seem to recall that statistically you are more at risk of an accident while putting around the neighborhood.
    If you are going to be involved in an accident, chances are it will happen close to your home. Progressive Insurance polled 11,000 of its policyholders who experienced accidents in 2001. They found that 52% were involved in accidents within five miles from their home and 69% were involved in accidents within 10 miles from their home. Only 17% of those polled experienced accidents beyond twenty miles from his or her home. Is this a suburban legend?
    This probably speaks to the frequency of our near-home travels, as even cross country trips start near home.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Uhhh. All of your trips save the very first and the very last with one automobile will begin and end at your home – thus, the high percentage of accidents near home.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “seem to recall that statistically you are more at risk of an accident while putting around the neighborhood.”

      You are statistically more likely to have AN accident near your home, but if your home, like many, is surrounded by suburban streets and 35mph speed limits, the chances of that accident being severe are pretty low given the low speeds.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    Your backyard must get really windy.

    Cool little car!

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’ll bet it does get windy. I do like the driveway, and the big door garage…very nice !

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    This article reads like an advertisement for a Focus ST. As the Focus is an IIHS top safety pick for 2015, that’s just another reason to buy it over the Fiesta. My daughter usually rides in the safety tank MkFlex, so I worry even less.

    • 0 avatar

      Depends on what you’re looking for out of the car. If you want a family car, I agree. Driving dynamics? Not even a contest. The Fiesta wins, hands-down.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I agree that the Fiesta is a better drive. Like you, I wouldn’t have reservations buying one because you and I have a similar primary family vehicle. I don’t remember the last time my daughter was in my C-Max other than the 5 miles between home and daycare. I could drive a CRX and probably be okay (25 MPH max speed limit).

    • 0 avatar
      Nedmundo

      I agree. “My” car also has to be a family car, and I’ve ruled out the Fiesta ST because of two issues mentioned here: (1) ride over seriously rough pavement, which we have in abundance in Philly; and (2) the safety factor. It’s not just side impact, but the minimal space behind the rear passengers. An otherwise minor rear-end collision could have serious consequences. I also do considerable highway driving, where the Focus ST would probably be a better choice. I have little doubt I’d prefer driving the Fiesta ST much of the time, but I have tested the Focus ST and love it anyway, so that’s how I’d roll. I think its suspension is just compliant enough to be an urban enthusiast’s daily driver.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Wow, both of these cars look like better value AND luxury propositions than the Cadillac–or should I say CadiLAME–ATS and its not-much less awful CTS.

  • avatar
    alexndr333

    An ATS is so much better than this.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      You must be trying to summon DW by posting the same comment on four different articles in a row. I’m torn between asking you to stop and egging you on.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Talk about TROLLING.

        Even I’d take an ATS over a Fiesta (if the ATS cost the same)

        He and Phil are on a troll-lol-lol journey.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          DW I just realized something, you might be in cahoots with JdN to PROMOTE the ATS and cause a general social stir on the model.

          GUY1: I agree with DW, this model has X problems. Maybe I should take a test drive just to experience it..

          GUY2: DW is a loon, the ATS is a great car because of X features. I’m going to check out the ATS…

          You put the ATS into the minds of polar opposites and now have both intrigued for different reasons.

          YOU BLEW MY COVVAAAAA

          http://www.wildsoundmovies.com/images/total_recall_you_blew_my_cover.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            I realize your post is in jest, but as you know, I really dislike JdN and his management style, and I think that he’s the closest thing to a fraud that any existing automotive brand has as its chief executive.

            Everything Jack Baruth poster about the ATS & CTS back in 2012 has some to fruition.

            I’m not saying Jack is some sort of infallible seer (I disagree with him often), but if you read his 2012 article predicting the absolute failure of the ATS (and CTS by approximate extension), it’s stunningly eerie as to how closely things have panned out.

            Ergo, Cadillac should fire JdN with haste and hire JB.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I did read that 2012 article and I think I was promoting him as a presidential candidate afterward. Yes it was an eerie prognostication come true. I think its also worth mentioning Niedermayer posted a similar article I think a year earlier where he cited anonymous sources within GM explaining how F.U.B.A.R. the Alpha project had become by that time.

            Actually, instead of someone sensible like JB for the gig, I would prefer Cadillac to go from JdN to batsh*t crazy: I believe BTSR might be available.

          • 0 avatar
            Jack Baruth

            Listen, I’m no Bertel Schmitt but I’d play that Melody with both hands, amirite?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            instantrimshot.com

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            Hmm, Cadillacs with SRT engines? I could get behind that.

          • 0 avatar
            PeriSoft

            “…go from JdN to batsh*t crazy: I believe BTSR might be available.”

            I LOL’d and confused my son.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @PeriSoft

            Nice.

  • avatar
    wmba

    They sell a lot of Fiestas in the UK. My friends, true middle class types of the old school, use theirs as a runabout. One or two adults, nobody in back. For family duty, they use their Passat wagon.

    A Fiesta ST is just a sports car, not a family car, so why on earth bother to cram a family in it? Horses for courses and all that. Might as well see if you can fit a Chinese peasant family from the depths of rural China on a Peugeot racing bike. Makes as much sense.

  • avatar
    S197GT

    i think it was automobile mag whose long-term fiesta st had 3 bent wheels. good luck! roads are getting worse…

    • 0 avatar

      Roads may be getting worse, but the trend of selling cars with rubber-bands as tires isn’t helping… I swear tire companies pitch OEMs these mega-sizes so people have to spend $700 every time they replace tires, and since there’s less sidewall there’s more $$$ to be made in damage repair.

      I think the new Civic SI is currently the worst offender. The newest model may as well be a donk!

    • 0 avatar
      IHateCars

      I remember that C&D had the same issue with a new BMW 5er that they had on long term test as well, bent two of the wheels twice! Apparently, BMW (and other lux manufactures) off “wheel protection packages” that warranty bending of their crappy wheels.

      Not sure if that’s more of an indictment of our crumbling infrastructure or the OEM’s ability to charge us more for warranting a crappy spec part that shouldn’t fail in the first place!

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    An interesting note about car accidents and how theyve affected my family and I. This is a long post, youve been warned. :)

    In 1992, my oldest brother (in high school at the time) was driving my younger brother and his friend home from school in the 1985.5 Ford Escort 3 door my parents had bought new (and was replaced in 1990 by a new Aerostar, thus given to my brother when he got his license). They were T-boned by a Chevy crew cab going an estimated 60 mph. The impact sent the Escort flying into a Pontiac Grand Prix (that wasnt moving) and from there it landed up against a utility pole. The passenger in the front (inital impact occured on the pass side) suffered two broken ribs and was released from the hospital in a few days. The rear passenger suffered no injuries. The driver was injured by one of the two secondary impacts and had to have minor facial reconstructive surgery (as “minor” as something like that could be). Both healed and have no long term affects (well, my brother’s eye on the side that was damaged can appear slighy more closed than the uninjured eye, IF you really stare and know what to look for). Nobody involved in that accident has had any lasting issue as a result.

    In 2002, I was driving a friend’s 1991 Honda Accord LX sedan, he was a passenger (he had lost his license so thats why I was the driver). I was in the slow lane of a 3 lane, undivided highway (two lanes on one side going up the hill, one lane going down the hill, this is the area known as Clearview Hill along Highway 9 in Snohomish county, Wa). A Chevy half ton next to me in the “fast” lane verred into the oncoming lane and struck a dump truck head on. The impact threw the pickup back into the Accord. The only damage that the Accord suffered was a basketball-sized dent in the 1/4 panel from the truck’s rear tire (the truck then rolled back into a Ford Tempo that was behind me, both driver and passenger of that car were basically uninjured, except the passenger, who had Downs Syndrome, had slightly bitten her tounge).

    However, upon impact, the Accord was pushed hard towards a steep embankment on the side of the road. I was able to react and keep the car under control, but the price I paid was two fractured vertebre that have been a major thorn in my side (or, rather, my back) ever since, casued when my body twisted over the seatbelt during the event, as I was attempting to control the car. I was misdiagnosed as having “lumbar strain” for years, given some Ibuprophin (sp?) and told to ignore the pain. Some people who saw the Accord said they doubted that anyone in the car was injured at all. I just wish those who say that could walk in my shoes for a day.

    As of 2009, I have lost the ability to work a traditional 9-5 type job. My back issues have grown into degenerative disk disease, bulging disks, pinched nerve(s?) and so on. I have been told that my issues are related to the fact that the fractured vertebre went undiscovered for several years and had therefor healed improperly. If I try to perform manual labor and ignore the pain, my feet, face and hands go numb and eventually start this horrible prickly feeling that I can best equate to being stabbed thousands of times at once by needles. After being unable to sustain employment, I lost my apartment, had to sell my Integra GS-R (or let it get repoed), and have been forced to move back home.

    The point is, being in a larger, “safer” car does not mean you will not be injured in an accident (even a minor one by comparison, although not from the driver of the half ton’s point of view), or that if you are, youll recover quickly.

    Looking at the damage to the Accord and the Escort, you might guess that the people in the Escort would have life-long, dibilitating injuries whereas those in the Accord might not have even felt the impact. Im living proof that injuries from car accidents are not always so cut-and-dry.

    Im happy that my Taurus is a pretty safe car (by the standards of the early 1990s), but Im no longer under the assumption that a horrible injury from a relatievely minor impact is impossible just because the car is a safe one.

    Would I buy a Fiesta? Well, let me put it this way: I wouldnt let the crash test ratings stop me if thats what I wanted/needed. Hell, Id still take a CRX (or similar) as a second car (I require an automatic and a decent ride quality in a d/d, but I still love driving a manual when I get the chance and am up to it). Its not that I dont care about safety, I just now realize that $h!t happens, and usually, there is little or nothing you can do about it. If youre scared, stay at home in a padded room. Risk is a part of life.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Bark, you need to get that driveway crack (full across) seam sealed with a full penetrating material soon.

    If not, it’s going to double in size by next spring given the freeze-thaw cycle, and you’ll get spalling, too.

  • avatar
    ctowne

    I’ve got 20k miles on mine. Family of four? Check.
    It’s perfect for my needs. It is great on gas, and my 62 mile round trip commute is made tolerable by it. I can put 10 bags of mulch in the trunk with the seats down, load it up with camping gear for 2, fit 200 boxes of girl scout cookies in the back, and be grinning like an idiot any time it’s in motion.
    With the seats up, my kids fit fine in the back. My son is 12 and is tall-ish, and there are no issues. However, we do rarely take it anywhere as a primary vehicle.

    It is mainly my commuter, and runabout, and can fit 2 kids in the back with room in the trunk for groceries.

    For long haul family trips, we still use the minivan.

    So a Fiesta ST vs. a family of four as your only car? um, i don’t think really that is what it is good at. it *can* be done, but it’s far better as a primary vehicle to run the kids to school on your way to work, or the occasional home depot trip where you aren’t hauling anything longer than 8′ home.

    And you’ll need to leave whichever kid you displaced by putting the rear seat down sitting out front of the store. So pick the louder one to leave behind.:)

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