During its 19,000 miles in our (less than cosseting) care, our Four Seasons 2014 Ford Fiesta ST has seen plenty of abuse, from track days to ice racing to rallying. And yet, as I’m inching up to the starting line at the Detroit SCCA’s opening autocross event of the season, I’m not worried.

In fact, it’s the scrappy, never-say-die attitude of the Fiesta ST that gives me plenty of confidence as I stare down the cones set up in the parking lot at Michigan International Speedway. If this little blue hatch can survive a hardcore rally in the snow and a slippery ice-racing course on a frozen lake, then a simple autocross on warm pavement should be no sweat, right?

As we’ve found before, this 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is completely at home threading through the cones. It’s small, quick, nimble, and easy to drive quickly, which is exactly what you want for the explosive intensity of an autocross lap. We’re not the only ones who have figured this out either. Three other Ford Fiesta ST hatches are in my class, and I’m hoping to at least make a respectable showing among them in the H-Stock category.

The starter waves me on, and I rev the engine to about 4,000 rpm before letting out the clutch. With the traction and stability control in Sport mode, there’s a fair bit of wheelspin at launch, but the car quickly grabs hold as I approach the first right-hander. The next 44 seconds are a blur, and I’m constantly aware of the ST’s sharp turn-in that makes quick work of the slalom and the midrange turbocharged torque that helps the car squirt out of the 180-degree hairpin with gusto.

As I line up for the second run, I’m optimistic about improving my time. Now that I know the course better, I’m hoping to push the car a bit harder while still keeping things controlled and smooth. I brake later and use a bit more throttle, trying my best to keep the car just shy of its limit. The effort pays off -- my second lap is 2.5 seconds faster than my first.

On my third run of the day, my overconfidence gets the best of me and I decide to let go and push even harder. I brake too late, turn in too sharply, and pour on the power too aggressively. The Fiesta responds with plenty of wheelspin, some front-end push, and even a little bit of oversteer in a few corners. It’s clear that I’m overdriving the car, but I’m having a blast. No surprise, this lap is much slower than the second run, but autocross is supposed to be fun, right?

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST encourages you to cut loose. Its playful nature dares you to push the car to the ragged edge. So even though my fourth and final run starts off controlled and smooth, I can’t stop myself from really getting on the power as I near the end of my day at the races. The front wheels are clawing the ground for grip as I exit the hairpin full-throttle, and I throw the car too hard into the final left-hander. I’m not even thinking about my time as I go through the timing gates. (Turns out it’s almost as quick as my second lap.)

As we near the end of our Four Seasons test, this final autocross with the Fiesta ST serves as reminder of how much fun you can have in this $25,000 subcompact. It might not have the most horsepower or get from 0 to 60 the quickest, but the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is all about that excitement you feel when the boost kicks in or the smile on your face when you take a corner a little bit too quickly. It’s tremendous value for money, and one of the most fun cars on sale today.

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