Does the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST have the original “hot hatch” spirit? What is the hot hatch spirit? Volkswagen first introduced the masses to the concept of the “hot hatch” back in the 1980s. The idea was to take a basic small car and add a fun-loving performance package. The car happened to have a rear hatch and was based on the original VW Golf (or Rabbit). Thus the GTI was born. There are several must haves in the hot hatch recipe. The car needs to be small, simple, light-weight, have a powerful engine, handle great, and also be affordable. Does the new Fiesta ST hit all the marks?
|STATS||Starting Retail Price||As Tested Price||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2014 Ford Fiesta ST||$21,400||$25,390||197 / 202|
|EPA Rating MPG||As Tested MPG||Curb Weight Lbs|
|Rating: BUY IT!||26 / 35 / 29||28.8 Avg||2,720|
This Fiesta ST is based on Ford’s smallest car entry in the United States lineup. So it has the size element taken car of. It has a powerful turbocharged engine and most modern conveniences short of the sunroof and backup camera. Result is a car that weighs in at just 2,720 pounds at the curb. This is a big achievement as most current performance or sporty cars do not weight under 3,000 lbs.
Motivation comes from the direct-injected 1.6L turbocharged EcoBoost four that is good for 197 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 202 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm. There is a slight catch. The maximum power rating requires 93 octane fuel, and the highest octane available in Colorado is 91. Still, this motor has gobs of torque throughout the rev range and the close gear ratio spacing makes the most of it. There are six gears that you have to row manually, and it is the only choice. The shifter feels tight and precise with relative short throws. This engine likes to rev and it make maximum power near its redline, so you have to keep it mind if you will use it on the track.
I was fortunate to drive this tiny ST on the High Plains Raceway last month, and came away very impressed. I had just three or six laps to get acquainted with all the vehicles. I timed myself in seven cars, and the Fiest ST was third fastest for me. I felt so confident, that I went two-tenths faster in the ST than I did in the 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker.
The confidence comes from the great balance. The Fiesta ST has very minimal understeer (practically non-existent). The suspension is tuned for sport and the performance Bridgestone Potenza (205/40R17) tires have lots of grip. The car’s light weight also help a lot in the corners. If you do overcook a corner, the car will understeer in a predictable fashion and you can save it without much trouble. The electrically assisted steering has good weight and feel, but can be a little vague on center during regular driving. Ford is near the front of the pack when it comes to tuning electric steering. The tight suspension does bounce you on regular roads, and this is the price you have to pay for all the fun.
The Fiesta ST has decent utility for such a small car. I was able to fit my family of four (wife, a six-year, and a three-year old) and several bags for a Sunday drive. The interior space is tight, but all of us still had fun. The optional Recaro seats are great. They have aggressive bolsters and make you feel like you are sitting in a baseball glove. They hold you nicely during aggressive cornering.
It’s not all kittens and rainbows. I am still not a big fan of the SYNC with MyFord Touch infotainment system. I found that the screen sits a little too high on the dashboard, the touch-screen buttons are a little too small, and the physical buttons and the dial below take a little while to understand and get used to. On the other hand, the A/C control are more straight forward.
|Starting Retail Price||MPG City / Hwy||HP / Lb-Ft|
|2014 Ford Fiesta ST||$21,400||26 / 35||197 / 202|
|2014 Chevy Sonic RS||$20,325||29 / 40||138 / 148|
|2014 Fiat 500 Abarth||$22,195||28 / 34||160 / 170|
|2014 MINI Cooper Countryman S||$26,100||26 / 32||181 / 177|
|2014 Nissan Juke NISMO||$23,110||25 / 31||197 / 184|
|2015 VW GTI||$24,995||25 / 34||210 / 258|
If you take the less powerful Chevy Sonic RS out of the equation, the Fiesta ST is the most affordable and most efficient. It also has more power than the rest with the only exception of the VW GTI. The Sonic RS is a very good car in its own right, but it does not quiet have the same punch as the Fiesta. The little Ford is in good company, but it also comes out as one of the most attractive in overall value and performance.
On the TFLcar scale of:
- Buy it!
- Lease it!
- Rent it!
- … or Forget it!
I give the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST a Buy It!
When the car makes you smile, it’s becomes an easy decision. The Fiesta ST gets an easy Buy It! rating. The only hint of doubt was raised by the slightly bouncy ride of the sport suspension. However, the car delivers fun and that trumps all.
Check out this full TFLcar review of the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST with Emme Hall.
Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFL since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or simply ‘going for a drive’.