The Ford Fiesta is the vehicle of choice by rally car racer, and RedlineNorth favourite, Ken Block. You can see him in his Fiesta ripping around various urban race tracks in his immensely popular Gymkhana racing series. While you can’t go out and buy Ken’s version of the Fiesta, you can get a street legal ST version that gives you almost as much fun.
Thanks in part to Ford’s movement towards a global platform, North American buyers are now able to purchase the ST version of the Fiesta. While not a three-door as in Europe, on this side of the pond we get a five-door hatch-back version sporting a 1.6 litre turbo charged engine. The Fiesta ST has a trifecta of performance, ability and style making it a fantastic choice for those looking for a city vehicle, with perhaps a day or two at the track thrown in.
The ST version of the Fiesta comes well equipped as the top of the line trim level with a base price of $24,999. Our RedlineNorth test vehicle also included a power moon-roof, 17 inch premium painted wheels as well as a navigation package. All told the additional options brought the final price to $29,577. While thirty grand might raise some eyebrows for a sub-compact vehicle, the ST is packed with performance enhancing features and well worth the sticker price.
Those looking for a pure luxury vehicle should look elsewhere, as this car is built for performance. However, attention to detail has not been lost on Ford engineer’s and the Fiesta does provide a number of nice touches. Heated front seats and mirrors along with a push button start, rear seat heat ducts and 12-volt auxiliary power outlets for both front and rear round out some of the nice to have features.
Legroom in the Fiesta ST, as to be expected in a sub-compact, is somewhat limited with 42 inches up front and 31 inches in the back. Cargo space is adequate for trips to the grocery store and the seats split 60/40 when additional storage is required. While the Fiesta ST may not be the first choice of vehicle for long road trips, that’s not what it’s designed for either. The first hint are the Recaro seats that suck you in and keep you in your place while cornering. These seats are big and perhaps look just slightly out of place in the ST, however, that’s the price you pay for race track type performance. Seat adjustments, even for the driver’s seat are manual reinforcing the enthusiast nature of the ST model.
The 1.6L turbocharged EcoBoost Engine delivers 197 horsepower and 202 lb.-ft of torque when using 93 octane fuel. The 6 speed manual transmission is silky smooth and an absolute pleasure to shift throughout the whole gear range. The shift ratio is short in the low end utilizing the 202 ft.-lbs of torque bringing you up to about 75 kilometers per hour by the end of second gear. The ratio smooths out in the upper gears providing some fuel economy savings.
At highway speeds the Fiesta provides a firm, but comfortable ride. With its twist-beam rear suspension, that reduces under steer and increases rear roll stiffness, a low centre of gravity and its sport suspension the Fiesta ST grips the road well. It provides the driver with full control of all the power from under the hood. In short, the Fiesta ST is an absolute blast to drive.
Unlike its larger cousin, the Focus ST, the Fiesta ST does not require premium fuel, however, there are additional performance gains when using 93 octane which is important to note. The US EPA rates the Fiesta ST at 26 mpg city (9.0L/100 km) and 35 mpg (6.7L/100 km) highway. We experienced slightly higher numbers than this during our test period, however, we weren’t necessarily driving with a conscious effort towards fuel efficiency.
ST offers some nice exterior and interior styling to match the performance under the hood. On the outside, wide wheel arches, dual chrome exhaust tips, an airfoil and 17 inch alloy wheels all contribute to a more aggressive style than the stock Fiesta. While on the inside, buyers can choose from a variety of colours for the interior ambient lighting found in the foot wells and cup holders, which is a nice touch. The leather accented Recaro seats and the race-inspired aluminum pedals also contribute to a very pleasing interior.
The Fiesta ST offers some nice exterior and interior styling to match the performance under the hood. On the outside, wide wheel arches, dual chrome exhaust tips, an airfoil and 17 inch alloy wheels all contribute to a more aggressive style than the stock Fiesta. While on the inside, buyers can choose from a variety of colours for the interior ambient lighting found in the foot wells and cup holders, which is a nice touch. The leather accented Recaro seats and the race-inspired aluminum pedals also contribute to a very pleasing interior.
The Sony branded audio system provides a good sound experience. We especially liked the ability to adjust the audio balance for the driver only, or for the whole car at the touch of a button. The center media stack uses SYNC currently running Microsoft Windows. While Ford recently announced they will be switching over to a Blackberry QNX based operating system for the next generation SYNC, the current Windows powered SYNC performed well in the Fiesta ST. We found the summary start up screen displaying information in four quadrants both helpful and convenient. The 6.5 inch LCD screen, 2 USB ports, SD card reader and voice-activated communications all provided an intuitive in car interface which we felt was better than average. As an added bonus a six month subscription to SirusXM satellite radio comes with the purchase of a new ST in Canada.
At around $30,000 CAD the fully loaded Fiesta ST does command a somewhat premium price, however, its value is significant based on its stellar performance, and range of features. Its smooth 6 speed manual transmission and great handling characteristics are complimented by some slick interior features. The Fiesta ST, is a great car to consider for around the city that will make your drive to work or to the grocery store a lot more fun.
Key competitors to the Fiesta ST are the Fiat 500 Abarth, Ford’s own Focus ST, along with the Honda Civic Si and the Chevy Sonic RS.