2014 Ford Fiesta ST review: Super performance on a smaller scale

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

So your GTZLHE500MI1-R can do zero to sixty in naught-point-whatever seconds. OK, then, what are you going to do with the rest of your day? Seriously.  As enthusiasts, we at CarBuzzard are as much G-force junkies as anyone, but sometimes too much really is too much. And for those times, might we suggest the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST.

The Fiesta ST is, to get to the point, Ford’s homegrown hotrod version of its subcompact five-door sedan. We’ve been impressed with the Fiesta since its current generation arrived on our shores for the 2011 model year, finding it not only economical, which was its reason for being, but also truly fun to drive in a sporty-car-on-winding-roads sort of way. We liked in top-of-the-line Titanium trim as well.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

There were more versions of the Ford Fiesta than were brought to our shores. We just got one engine and a choice of manual or automatic in either a four-door sedan or five-door hatchback. Overseas the line-up included a three-door hatchback and even a three-door commercial version with opaque rear side windows. And engines there run the gamut from diesels to performance. The Fiesta as available in the U.S. comes with the standard 1.6-liter engine in the sedan and hatch, and with the SFE package, the 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine we recently tested.

But it was the high-performance Ford Fiesta ST that had sport compact enthusiasts lusting for things across the seas. The ST, short for Sport Technologies and engineered by Ford Global Performance Vehicles Group, was introduced for Europe for 2005, but we didn’t get it here. And that’s spelled “frustration.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, welcome to 2014. Prayers have been answered, at least as much as a car company is responsive supplication. The Fiesta is now available in the good old U.S.A. and we were delighted to drive it.

Delighted? It left us with a case of the giggles and qualifies as One Of Those Cars We Don’t Want To Give Back.

Here’s what makes a Fiesta a Fiesta ST. First, it’s powered a 1.6-liter EcoBoost (turbocharging with direct injection) four-cylinder engine rated at 197 hp (not quite the output of the 2011 Ford Fiesta ST Concept), and you’d better be able to shift at stick because it’s only offered with a six-speed manual transmission.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is also available here only in five-door hatchback format. Up front the grille and chin spoiler are different from lesser Fiestas, the black honeycomb grille really standing out.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST spoiler

The spoiler over the hatch of the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is much larger than the ordinary Fiesta’s and has twin slots. (click to enlarge)

The back end has a new rear diffuser and fascia extensions, and a rear spoiler is a lot larger than that of the ordinary Fiesta, and has slots presumably for aerodynamic effect as well as make the Fiesta stand out from the ordinary Fiesta. And perhaps the dual exhaust really isn’t necessary for performance—maybe a bigger single pipe would do—but a car can’t be a performance car without dual exhaust. There’s a rule about that somewhere.

From the side, the 17-inch wheels dwarf the standard Fiesta wheels, and that, along with the 205/40WR20 summer performance tires, fill up the wheel wells.  The effect is enhanced by the ride height lowered by 15mm—about 0.6 inches. The suspension is stiffened for better handling and Ford gave the Fiesta ST a quicker steering ratio for improved response. The ST also gives the performance driver a choice of stability assistance. Three-mode electronic stability control – standard, sport or off – is standard.

The look must work. The driver of every lowered Civic with a fart can exhaust went full throttle when he saw the Fiesta ST.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST grille

The turbocharger’s intercooler is visible below the hexagonal grid grille of the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST. (click to enlarge)

Inside the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST gets a sports steering wheel and genuine Recaro seats with tall bolsters to keep the driver and front passenger in place when the STI is being driven the way it was born to do. Skinny butts only need apply, however. Everyone else will feel the pinch.

Everyone will feel the firm suspension, however, and that means everything that comes with it. The Fiesta ST stays flat in the corners, it’s confidence-inspiring at higher speed sweepers and quick responding in tight slalom-type maneuvers. But yeah, it jiggles. Fortunately, it also comes with four-wheel disc brakes versus the disc/drum setup of ordinary Fiestas, so it will stop whenever you want.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST interior

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST has genuine Recaro seats. (click to enlarge)

The six-speed manual is quick and accurate bur surprisingly, the 1.6-liter EcoBoost hits its rev limiter at about 6500 rpm. Torque peaks at 4200 rpm—it’s not a bottom dweller in terms of torque—but it maxes out at a healthy 202 lb ft. With a relatively light 2,742 lb curb weight, the Fiesta ST has a lot of zip.

We don’t have performance numbers to back that up, but the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST isn’t about drag racing anyway. Find a winding road, put your foot in it and twist the wheel. There’s some feedback through the steering wheel in first gear but in second, it scoots.