Christopher Little

2014 Ford Fiesta ST: Short Drive

Ford has had great success with the release of the Focus ST. Now the smaller Fiesta is getting the same ST treatment. Despite being on the market for just over a year, Ford has learned a lot of lessons from the Focus ST. First, they found they could make the Fiesta ST even more performance oriented than its big brother. Second, they found that a majority of ST buyers opted for option up their cars with things like the Recaro seats. Therefore, the new Fiesta ST arrives even stiffer and with more features included as standard than the Focus ST. We were invited down to Manhattan to get some hands-on experience with the new Ford Fiesta ST. Don’t be too jealous, though. Ford says that its newest hot hatch is on the way to dealerships now.

Update: Read our full review of the Fiesta ST here.

Ford Fiesta ST 1

Getting out of Manhattan is priority one for a driving test. The ST’s electric steering is light and quick. It makes the car feel nimble as it darts through traffic, rivaling the Fiat 500 Abarth in agility. As speeds increase, the steering requires a bit more effort but retains its quick and direct nature thanks to new front knuckles for quicker steering response. On the parkway, the Fiesta ST quiets down with minimal road noise and a hint of exhaust sound. It’s not nearly as much drone as the Abarth. The suspension is composed and on the edge of being too stiff. The new front knuckles allowed for stiffer springs and dampers to be fitted, resulting in a 15mm lower ride height. In the rear, Ford developed a stiffer twistbeam setup unique to the Fiesta ST. Overall, this makes the car 36% stiffer in the front and 20% stiffer in the rear as compared to the standard Fiesta. While definitely firm, it proved to be more comfortable than the Mazdaspeed 3 on rougher roads. Finally off the parkway, we found ourselves on some excellent back roads. This is where the Fiesta ST really shines.

As we worked our way through the ever-changing topography of the Hudson River Valley, the ST’s stiffer suspension and chassis inspired confidence. Beyond suspension upgrades, the ST is the only Fiesta in the range to be fitted with disc brakes on all four corners. It also gets Torque Vectoring Control (TVC), which uses the brakes to help prevent understeer in high-speed corners. The extra braking and TVC assistance allows a higher entry speed, even if those corners weren’t designed with that in mind.  And when the road suddenly comes to a stop around a blind curve, those brakes bring all 2,750lbs to a stop quickly.

Ford Fiesta ST 4

Of course, these upgrades wouldn’t be as fun without more power. Ford delivers here as well, starting with the 1.6L Ecoboost engine found in the Fusion. More air is fed through a new induction system. This gets compressed with the help of a new engine calibration which includes an overboost feature. At full throttle, the turbo spools from the usual limit of 14psi up to 20psi for 20 seconds. To get all this extra air out, Ford also fitted the ST with a hi-flow exhaust system from the headers all the way back to the unique dual exhaust. The result is 197hp and 202 lb-ft torque . There’s no learning curve to be quick in this car. Power is linear enough that you don’t have to be overly concerned with staying in the boost. The transmission’s throws are long but precise. The car also rewards spirited driving with excellent feedback. The Fiesta ST is fitted with a sound symposer to feed induction and turbo noise into the cabin. It blends well with the sport exhaust for aural gratification as we powered out of the corners.

Unfortunately, all those upgrades are felt and heard, but not seen. What is visible are the honeycomb mesh grille, full ST body kit, 17” wheels, and added rear diffuser. These more aggressive features are highlighted in the Fiesta ST’s unique and attention-grabbing paint colors. Ours was aptly named Green Envy while the photographed car was the exclusive Molten Orange metallic.  The pack of 6 brightly-colored hatchbacks clearly caused a scene as they buzzed through the countryside. Inside, the ST steering wheel, aluminum pedals, and optional Recaro seats add to the experience. The Recaros, available as part of the $1,995 Recaro Seating package, do an excellent job at being both comfortable and extremely supportive. Visibility is excellent, and rear visibility is far better competitors like the Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Before we wanted to, it was time to head back towards the city.

Ford Fiesta ST 5

The Fiesta platform is at its best in ST trim and our drive left us wanting to push the car even more.  We didn’t have any time to get the Fiesta’s chassis anywhere near its limits.  We also didn’t get put the ESC in Sport or disable it completely.  Hopefully more seat time is in our future.  Even if that doesn’t happen, we can’t be disappointed with the taste we got.  The Ford Fiesta ST wears it’s Sport Technologies badge with pride as the complete package qualifies as hot-hatch material.

-Christopher Little

Related:
Fiesta on Fire: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST

Opposites Attract: Ford Fiesta ST vs. Subaru BRZ

2014 Ford Fiesta ST
$21,400
Green Envy paint $595
SYNC w/ Sony Audio & Navigation $795
ST Recaro Package $1,995
Destination Charges $795
As Tested MSRP $25,580

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