Updated 10.18.14 With New Videos
They are the cream of the crop.
They are the CTS-V's of the world, the M5s and the Lancer Evo's. They are freaky specials that are the product of pure driving joy, allowed to slip into showrooms every now and then. For car guys, they are the holy grail. Rare. Special. Excellent.
From the moment you sit in the Ford Fiesta ST, you know that it is going to be a hugely fun drive. The seats are packed with support bolsters and the engine start button kicks the Fiesta into life with a snort from up front and the exhaust out back.
This car is easily the most-hyped machine to arrive from the TopGear UK universe since the original Focus RS a decade ago. The pro-quality English car journalists love this car so much that it makes you curious about its actual merits. Will it work in the US -- and will it be priced competitively? That means: much cheaper than any WRX or even Civic Si?
After a week and a road trip with the 2015 Ford Fiesta ST, the smile is still on my face regarding this little cracker. We absolutely love it.
For any skeptics out there who cannot get on-board with its hatchback shape -- the first block of your test-drive will have you singing its praises, zinging its turbo engine to redline, and doing burnouts like a drag-strip Mustang GT pilot. The Fiesta ST on American roads proves our English chums correct: this car is an absolute riot of fun handling, great power and overall sports-car bliss.
The Fiesta ST is really sexy and aggressive in its design, with the dark-tinted grille, lighting and $375 optional wheels making for a seriously aggressive style on the road. For those concerned about the Fiesta ST being mistaken for a regular Fiesta, do not worry. The ride is lower, the entire nose is unique, and the body-kit with huge lower sills, deep rear diffuser and twin-pipe exhaust will never be mistaken for anything but the ST. The huge rear wing on the tailgate is the final tweak to the design and really slams home how special the car is.
The ST is in another world of visual aggression versus the standard Fiesta and its chrome grille.
The Molten Orange paint on our test car is an ST-exclusive, and confirms that the car is part of the ST club with its big bro, the Focus ST.
Besides the Rado Grey wheel / Red brake calipers option mentioned above, the exterior options are limited. Racing stripes are available for true boy-racers, and they are convincing.
Overall, the design of the Fiesta ST is fresh and cool and will make you smile. This is a grown-up plaything and one of the best performance upgrades ever offered at its $21,000 base price. Driving the Fiesta ST -- as we touch on in the above video -- confirms you are part of the TopGear fanbase and the true car-guy fraternity.
Dynamic racing silhouette mirrors the styling of the Fiesta World Rally Championship competition car
Wide wheel arches
Dual chrome exhaust tips
Center airfoil and unique diffuser in Black
Body-color side rocker moldings
Body-color front and rear fascia lower extension
Okay, the cabin of the ST is where some options come into play and bump the price a bit. The Recaro seats shown here are a $2000 option that we consider one of the car's best features. But even with the standard black cloth seats, the engine and power and snorty exhaust note will all still make their fun known.
Recent cabin tweaks to the Fiesta include a 6.5-inch SYNC and MyFord Touch control interface as standard. Adding 3D navigation is an $800 option -- and once included, the car is as loaded as it gets.
The six-speed manual transmission is the only option and it is a peach. Easy to use and geared short enough to rocket the ST off the line with a big squeel, the manual is a gem. Along with the incisor-sharp steering and wheel control, the box allows you to keep the handling balance pure through hard corners and tight sweepers. Keeping the ST in a lower gear and holding revs while coming around corners eliminates any sense of front-drive washout. The ST is perfectly tuned for a pure four-wheel drift when it does lose traction, which is a rare feat for any front-drive car.
ST RECARO Package
The ST Recaro® Package combines style with functionality. Features include:
Recaro partial leather front seats
Heated front-row seats
Heated exterior mirrors
So why, exactly, is the Fiesta ST so much more fun to drive than cars like the Nissan Juke NISMO? It comes down to the heavy and awesome steering feel, pure handling and almost zero TCS or stability-control cut-ins.
At cruising speeds and in top gear, the ST is chill and smooth and mellow at 85-mph. A really surprising aspect of this turbo engine is its pull and torque at low revs. The ST will gut up and go even in high gear if you give it the beans.
This is thanks to the overboost of the 202-pound-foot of torque in the engine. This brings max boost to the engine even at part throttle.
The final piece of pure bliss comes from the engine compartment, where the Fiesta ST has an eager burble on throttle. It growls at low revs and howls up high. A true delight and something that will make your right foot itchy to toe deeper into the pace at any sign of open road ahead. It makes you smile and reminds you how special the ST is. When driving hard and at high revs, the pitch and intesity of the engine sound symposer helps bring the entire car to life -- making you push harder and harder while grinning ear to ear.
When cruising at a constant speed, the engine chills out life we mentioned. But the temptation of throttle is intoxicating and you will become a master heel/toe racing driver with this machine in your driveway.
Exhaust with Sound Symposer Box
Muscular high-performance exhaust system
Designed to enrich the natural sounds of the vehicle
Captures engine-generated frequencies from the intake system and transmits them to the passenger compartment
Okay, so with a base price of $21,000 -- the Fiesta ST is flawless out-the-door. It needs no options to be a footlong fun-fest of burnt rubber. The $2000 Recaro package, $800 navigation and $400 grey wheels are very nice to have, but definitely not make-or-break. As set, the Fiesta ST comes in at $25,000. This compares well with the Focus ST -- which with the ST2 or ST3 package nudges past $30,000. Any Mustang that looks masculine will be about $35,000 out the door, for comparison.
Limited production numbers make Q-car performance upgrades like the Fiesta ST a solid investment; they will always be in demand and hold their value well.
Another option one might consider after a year or so with the ST are some of the turbo tuning programs -- which liberate about 30 horsepower and 30 pound-feet of torque electronically. For the COBB AccessPort I used on my 2005 Subaru Legacy GT, this was a $600 investment that takes 15-minutes to transform the car completely.
Writing this feels like I might be writing advertising copy for Ford. So it must read like a two-penny shill wrote all this stuff. All I can say is that this is the honest truth. A total joy of a car, and one that is as grown-up-fun as any five-door hatch has ever been.
In fact, we feel the Fiesta ST is actually more fun than even the rear-drive poster-boys the Scion FR-S and Subaru BR-Z. It is that good and that cool on the road.
Driving this Molten Orange Fiesta ST around the USA is --- to borrow a Jimmy John's slogan-- is simply
Freaky fast. Freaky good.
Check out the colors and book a test drive via the below link. You will thank me later.
See how the Fiesta ST did on the autocross at Road America over here!
FIESTA ST COLORS