Ace of Base: 2019 Ford Fiesta ST

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

It’s August 2019 and your author is pouring one out for little Blue Oval hatchbacks with mouths to match their trousers. Soon to depart from our shores (North American-market production has already ceased), the Focus and Fiesta represented bite-sized bits of fun that weren’t overly expensive and looked a bit derivative. Alas. At least we still have Honda, and it must be noted that Hyundai is stepping up its game in this segment.

For now, one can configure a 2019 Fiesta ST even if it is getting difficult to find them on dealer lots. Today’s post assumes the ST trim is a base car, insofar as we will be adding $0 in options to the sticker price.

We’ve played this game before ⁠— over two years ago, before Jim Hackett took the reins at Ford and decreed that all cars must be placed in the corporate dumpster. Back then, a no-frills Fiesta ST cost $21,140. Two years later, that price has risen by just $200 … and you can bet incentives are a lot higher these days. Any sane dealer will move one of these things post haste to make room on the floorplan for a high margin truck or SUV.

The hues of Orange Spice and White Platinum remain $595 options, so we’ll stick with the Magnetic shade shown here, especially since we chose Shadow Black last time. With 17-inch aluminium wheels, a zoomy spoiler jutting from the roof, and an angry slash down its flanks, this is not a bad looking car. It will avoid sneers given to racy new Civics by those who think they look too aggro and escape the guffaws directed at fast Golfs by people who deride them as too milquetoast. Ford designers walked a good line here.

Inside’s a similar story, with a Sync3 system replacing the button-laden base model infotainment that looks like Worf’s forehead. That tilt and telescope wheel is leather wrapped with red stitching and the cloth sport front buckets are adorned with the ST logo.

That’s a six-speed manual, of course ⁠— the only available transmission. It stirs the pot on a 197 horsepower 1.6-liter EcoBoost mill that also heaves out 202 lb-ft of torque. To say that’s a lot in a car weighing about the same as an amoeba is cruelly understating the situation. The Fiesta ST’s penchant for alert and happy handling is well known.

Options are few and you should leave them all on the table. Recaro seats and a moonroof cost $1,995 and $795 respectively, with the latter simply adding weight up top and the former forcing the huskier driver to contemplate their breakfast choices. Neither is a necessary burden to carry through one’s life.

The phrase “you’ll miss it when it’s gone” gets thrown around a lot. Here, it actually applies.

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

[Images: Ford]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Aug 14, 2019

    The only serious beef I have with mine is that I leased it so I could hopefully get the new one. It isn't coming so I'll have to buy mine. There is really nothing like it out there.

    • See 6 previous
    • NG5 NG5 on Aug 15, 2019

      @Art Vandelay Oh yeah, I had 15" wheels for winter tires and I honestly looked forward to them going on. If I were keeping one forever, I think I would downsize summer ones too.

  • Cprescott Cprescott on Aug 14, 2019

    I've mentioned before that I was a devoted Ford customer since my first car in 1980. I've had exceptional service from each car save for a 1988 1/2 Ford Escort GT that was a very very early production model that had pathetic assembly quality with a pinched harness and a bent strut that wore out tires and other suspension parts on the passenger side too quickly. Thanks for a dealer from whom I did not buy the car originally and with 60001 miles on the odometer with a 60k warranty, they noticed the service history and voluntarily repaired what was causing the issues and the gremlins never came back. My last Ford was fantastic - Honduh quality - exceptional gas mileage (45 mpgs per tank) - and went 178k miles before gremlins started a family and a cascade of impending repairs loomed overhead. I had not had a car payment in nearly 20 years and it was a big step to take on such an obligation. Ford could have had my business. But they abandoned me. I wanted a manual transmission, a small car (Focus sized), but I hated the new Fords with a passion (save for the C-Max). Terrible room utilization and bland and weird interior design. There was zero chance of me going to a CUV or SUV. A hybrid might have worked but they were too expensive. Being frugal, I chose to eschew a new car and cross shopped cars (even gagging at the thought of looking at Honduhs and Toyoduhs). After months of preparation in research, the car that kept me coming back to it was a 2016 Hyundai Elantra with 21k miles from CarMax. While I've thought CarMax to be expensive, since my car choice was a manual, it was $1k less than automatic versions and the car I chose had been a fleet car (not rental) from Massachusetts. Somehow it ended up in North Carolina and was eligible for a free transfer to Virginia where I live. This car looked even better than the pictures and after my own automotive (anal) detailing, it now looks brand new. I've had over 6k of trouble free miles and it gets 46 mpgs per tank (measured by miles traveled by gas pumped). The vehicle is quieter, more roomy, and even more stylish than the Focus I could have chosen. Ford lost me perhaps for good because this Hyundai is giving me great value for the money and I'm not ashamed to say I own a Hyundai. Because this brand lacks the Honduh and Toyoduh tax of their "perceived dependability", I can get what they offer for substantially less.

    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Aug 14, 2019

      This could be me almost verbatim. I don't want a Mustang. Other than the F150, which I will replace with another one every decade or so, they just don't build anything else that interests me. Hyundai lost me because my wife's 2017 Santa Fe has been no where near as good of an appliance as her old 2007 Tucson. Barring a Fit SI that is actually good, when I decide to replace the Fiesta ST it will likely be with a GTI or something like that if I still need the back seat. Otherwise I'm thinking Alfa 4C if they are still around. Otherwise maybe a Lotus Elise or even a 124 Abarth.

  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.
  • Grant P Farrell If you floor it in the new model (the only way to experience the extra horsepower) your not getting anywhere near the best fuel economy. So you can get the same mpg as a 20 year old car, or drive fast but not both at the same time.