Ace of Base: 2019 Ford Fiesta ST

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.

Read more
Ace of Base: 2020 Ford Explorer XLT

Let’s get one thing clear: it is my opinion that the 2020 Explorer XLT is not the best 2020 Explorer. Powered by a 2.3-liter Ecoboost four-pot, the XLT falls far short of the 400 horsepower 3.0-liter Ecoboost V6 found in ST trim. As a proponent of acceleration, your author will always select the biggest engine.

Not everyone will, however. Scads of buyers, many of whom lie directly in the target market of Ford’s new Explorer, will think the 300 horse mill is more than suitable. In that frame of mind, let’s find out what $36,675 buys you at a Ford store these days.

Read more
Class Warfare: Ford Appends the Word 'Elite' to Its Titanium Edge

Apparently running out of precious metals with which to name their fancy crossovers (and not yet ready to bring the Vignale badge across the pond), Ford has created a Titanium Elite trim for the freshly revised Ford Edge.

And they say the world of crossovers isn’t exciting.

Read more
What Will Ford ST Next?

Ford has teased that it will be giving something the ST treatment next week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

It hasn’t said what, at least not publicly, as of yet. We may or may not know, but embargoes are something we abide by here at TTAC, so we’re not spilling any beans. That is, if we know, which we might, but might not.

Read more
Piston Slap: For a Cleaner EcoBoost, Install a Catch Can?

Mark writes:

Sajeev,

I’ve had my 2015 Focus ST for 15 months and 14,000 trouble-free miles so far, and I’m really enjoying the car. The car is still 100 percent stock, but I’ll likely contact Torrie for a tune before long.

As much as I like the car, I’m really alarmed to read about the intake valve “gunk” issues with Ecoboost and other direct-injection engines. It seems as if DI engines have a real problem that the manufacturers really aren’t willing to acknowledge or address (if it even can be addressed).

What’s your opinion on oil separators and/or catch cans? Are they a good preventive measure, or should I just resign myself to funding a cleaning via walnut shells or other similar clean-up tactics when gas mileage starts to dip, power drops, or misfires develop?

Read more
Piston Slap: Focusing on Turbo 93 Octane Tunes?

Mark writes:

Sajeev,

Thanks for the recent advice on winter tires & wheels for my new Focus ST. I took delivery of the car two weeks ago and I’m having a blast. The first thing I did when I got it home was take Bark M’s advice and sign up for the Octane Academy.

So here’s another question: What’s your take on fuel octane and the ST?

Read more
Long-Term Tester Update: Fiesta ST Plus Track Night in America Equals Hella Fun

I was once told that it’s good to start any piece of writing with a curious introduction – you know, something that makes the reader want to click through and find out more about the story. The more controversial the statement, the better. Well, here goes nothing.

You no longer have any excuse to not track your car. Want to find out more? Of course you do!

Read more
Long-Term Tester Update: FiSTing Around at the Autocross

Ever since I wrote this post about autocross back in November, there’s been something that has really bothered me about the way a lot of people responded to it. People seemed to have read the headline, reacted immediately, and then actively and somewhat irresponsibly made my post into something it wasn’t – I never said autocross was easy, or that it wasn’t a heck of a lot of fun, or that I was any good at it. I never said autocross was a bad idea, or a waste of time, or even that wheel-to-wheel racing was better. I just said it wasn’t racing – a statement, by the way, that the SCCA agrees with (they prefer to call it a “driving skill contest”).

Read more
Piston Slap: The Fiesta's Rocky Road Ahead?

Clark writes:

Hello Sajeev,

I currently drive a 2007 G35S that works great and has been dead nuts reliable since I bought it lightly used a couple of years ago. It also works just fine for my duties of pickup/drop off of my toddler at daycare. Despite being plenty quick, it’s kind of dull. I really miss having a daily driver that doubles as an autocross/occasional track-day car.

A few weeks back I attended a ford ecoboost event and got to hustle a Fiesta ST around an autocross course. I was pretty impressed and now I’m strongly considering switching over. I also like that it gets ~50% better fuel economy and the 17″ wheels mean cheaper replacement tires than the staggered 18″ setup on the G35 (plus, I think I may be harder on tires than most). Lower running costs wouldn’t hurt my feelings one bit.

Read more
Ask The Best And Brightest: What Would You Pay For This Feisty Fiesta?

Although Ford has been relentlessly hyping its US-bound Focus ST, there’s been nary a word of a hot Fiesta coming to the states. And even if we do get the 180 HP (or thereabouts) 1.6 Ecoboost-powered Fiesta ST, seen here screaming around a certain ubiquitous test track, it probably won’t be in the three-door trim you see here. Still, if US-market Fiestas start at $15,500 and top out around $22,000, what would you (hypothetically) pay for an extra 60 forced-induction ponies, some nice wheels and the ubiquitous go-fast appearance bits? Or is there simply no reason to sell a hot hatch in the US that’s smaller than the forthcoming, 250 HP Focus ST?

Read more
Piston Slap: What's a Ford Employee to Do?

TTAC Commentator tresmonos writes:

OK. So I used to work for Ford and am now gainfully employed by them (again). My dilemma is as follows:

I am rolling on a Z24 cavalier that I bought brand new in 2001. It has 160K on the clock and the only thing I can see that’s wrong with it is a AC compressor that’s been on limp mode since 2007 (bearing), bad drum brakes due to my laziness (LMAO – SM), and interior fan’s lowest two resistors being shot. The twin cam has a bad coil as it misses at idle, but I could care less. The car’s exterior filth has literally out lasted my marriage. It’s been a hell of a financial savings for me. But we all know the twin cam dream won’t last much longer.

I temporarily moved to SC and blew my car savings load on a 100% rust free 1984 lincoln continental turbo diesel. I repainted it and have slaved over some wiring nightmares on it. I’ve got 6K invested in the thing. And I need a new mode of transportation. Foolish purchase, I know… but if you would look at the clean, rust free body, and sit in that Corinthian plush leather seats whilst romping on the gas to behold two dual plumes of diesel particulate whooshing in the rear view, you’d understand.

Read more
  • AZFelix This article does not appear to address non-functional exhaust tip segments attached to the muffler body. When stopped behind certain cars (especially at night), I have noticed that in some cars with dual tips projecting from a single muffler unit, one is fake. The functioning one is dark and sooty while the other has a clean and shiny inside with the solid back panel of the muffler being visible. I have seen this on a Camry and possibly an Accord and BMW if I recall correctly, and am certain these were all OEM exhausts. Feel free to chime in with other confirmed sightings. I also recall reading somewhere that Ford designed an exhaust system where the gasses were vented downwards through a hole proximal to the end of the tail pipe. This prevents discoloration of the metal and soot from building up on the exhaust tips. It was done to address complaints from owners.
  • Ajla Fair enough. He could have used more precision in his words.
  • ToolGuy I AM PLACING [sic] NICELY. There is NO NEED TO BAN ME. Personally I do lots of things which DON'T MAKE SENSE, sometimes to myself, often to others. WHO ELON MUSK ENDORSES is really kind of NONE OF MY BUSINESS. It is a FREE COUNTRY, in some ways, still. I wish I knew how to FORMAT MY COMMENT better. I USED TO KNOW HOW, maybe I am losing it slowly (lot of that going around, JUST SAYING).
  • Aja8888 I can't read those whole thread without throwing up....
  • ToolGuy Maybe I will GIVE IT A LISTEN. Probably when I'm MOWING THE LAWN. Probably with a BATTERY OPERATED MOWER. (There are also batteries IN MY HEADPHONES. And IN MY PHONE.) Does anyone remember how to make a NEW PARAGRAPH?