The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST begs to be thrashed. I’m surprised I didn’t go to jail during my month of amusement with our Four Seasons hot hatch. I can’t remember the last time I complained about a weak handbrake compromising my ability to initiate spins on dry pavement, and the ability to jump over railroad crossings is something I haven’t tested in a car on a routine basis since I owned a Subaru Impreza WRX over a decade ago. The Fiesta ST is that kind of car. It makes you drive like you’re 16-years old again.
The eager, turbocharged 1.6-liter engine is a big part of the fun. It makes gobs of power and pulls strongly, especially in the midrange. Torque steer is kept pretty well in check, which is something that can’t be said about the Fiesta’s older brother, the Focus ST. Speaking of the larger 4-door performance hatchback, I ran one for a few months last year. I prefer the way the Fiesta ST drives to the Focus ST. The smaller Ford is more fun, and has a better balance between power and chassis dynamics.
The pure hooligan nature of the 2014 Fiesta ST is all good and fun, but the car does have some shortcomings. First, let’s start with the seats. The optional perches come packaged with the $1,995 Recaro option package. These prominently bolstered seats hold you tight as a duck’s ass but they aren’t exactly welcoming. The chairs simply don’t fit me, and I’m not an overweight individual. Unfortunately the alternative standard seats offer very little support. A sport seat that lies somewhere in the middle would be a perfect setup for this small, high-performance Ford.
The shift lever for the slick six-speed transmission is a little too far forward on the center console for me, plus the fixed center armrest sits a little too high so it gets in my way during gear changes. The indicator and wiper stalks are too far away from the steering wheel. The standard MyFord Touch setup uses a very small screen and is not very intuitive to me. Toggling through music is frustrating, not to mention a bit scary given how long you need to take your eyes off the road to pick an album or artist. Voice-activated control helps, but there are far better systems offered by other manufacturers (although for more money).
Additionally, the Fiesta’s cargo area is too small and it doesn’t need to be. Ford North America decided the Fiesta ST needs a 16-inch spare tire and this takes up valuable space. The standard Fiesta features a cargo floor setup that is some six inches lower, and this delivers a useful amount of additional space for luggage and gear. For a high-performance car like the Fiesta ST, a small donut spare or tire inflation kit would a better choice.
Despite these niggling faults, I love driving the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST. With so much dynamic ability and tons of cornering grip, this car is a blast to drive around town. But I have to say that the Fiesta ST’s price tag of $25,015 makes me think that I’d rather spend similar money on a 2015 Volkswagen GTI. My ideal GTI would come in at a price of $28,305, and while the VW doesn’t include navigation at this price, it offers more room for both people and cargo, a limited-slip differential, Xenon headlights, nicer seats, and far better level of comfort, refinement, and interior quality.
Of course the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST still wins as a driver’s car, trumping the GTI’s breadth of capability. So we wouldn’t fault you for picking the Blue Oval’s small high-performance hatchback. Just don’t expect us to post your bail.
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