By Frank S. Washington
DETROIT – The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST was firecracker of a little car.
Under the hood was a direct injected1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that made 197 horsepower and 202 pound-feet of torque. Mated to a six-speed manual gear-box, the four-door hatchback was very stylish, very powerful and very fast.
Power is not only about horses it is about weight. And at 2,742 lbs., the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST had a power ratio of almost 14 horsepower per pound. That’s hefty and according to Ford, the Fiesta ST has more punch than any of its direct competitors.
The Fiesta was the kind of car that changes a driver. It makes you take curves far faster than you normally would. It was small enough and fast enough to shoot the gaps in traffic; maneuvers that never would have occurred to you in a less athletic vehicle. And while adhering to the speed limit, it seemed like the Fiesta was moving in slow motion.
Its performance was matched by its very sporty look. The 2014 Ford Fiesta had a unique grille and chin spoiler with new rear diffuser and fascia extensions. Bright tipped dual-exhaust pipes and high-mount spoiler along with unique 17-inch wheels were the first things that signaled this was not an average car.
The Fiesta really looked aggressive. Normally, subcompacts don’t get second looks, not even first glances on the street. But the Fiesta ST had an élan that onlookers picked up on right away. From its very sporty look, it was obvious that the ST was a very special Ford Fiesta.
But Ford engineers say the Fiesta is more than just pretty sheet metal. Of course, it had a sport tuned suspension, read stiffer. But the brakes were bigger, thus, stronger. A modified front knuckle gave the car a steering ratio of 13.6:1. Thus, the car reacted to driver input almost instantly.
Steering was almost as quick as a Go-kart. The rear axle had increased roll stiffness. That allowed the Fiesta to stay stable while cornering aggressively. And it eliminated rear wheel skip while traversing a really ruddy patch of road here at speed.
The Fiesta ST was also 15 millimeters lower than a base model Ford Fiesta. Torque vectoring control reduced understeer during the hard cornering the car was put through and the subcompact also had a three-mode electronic stability control: standard, sport or off.
Engineers didn’t overlook the way the 2014 Ford Fiesta sounded either. The sound symposer fed directly into the cabin of the car and it was rhythmic.
The interior was that kind of no nonsense straight to the point layout expected of most performance cars. The steering wheel and the shift knob were wrapped in leather as was the heated Rocaro seats.
There was a smart key, SYNC with MyFord Touch with a 6.5-inch screen, a navigation system, Bluetooth, satellite radio, a tire pressure monitoring system and voice controls. Although the test car did not have a sunroof, one is available.
Ford doesn’t try and guilt trip drivers of the 2014 Fiesta ST with the premium fuel recommended advisory label on the inside of the fuel door of its capless fueling system. Why bother? The car had an EPA rating of 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
Best of all was the price. The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST started at $21,400. Add on the ST Recaro Package, the navigation system and freight charges and the total came to $24,985 for the test car. That was astoundingly reasonable, from a relative standpoint, for an awful lot of car.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.