2015 Ford Fiesta ST
MPG (as tested): 27 mpg city/35 mpg highway, 33 mpg combined.
0-60: 6.7 seconds
How Fast Is That? The most fun sort of fast there is.
How Much? The sporty ST starts at $22k. Nicely loaded for $24k.
As an automotive journalist, I’ve driven a lot of expensive sports cars. And I’m not kidding when I say that the $22,000 Ford Fiesta ST hatchback is one of the most fun production vehicles I’ve driven.
Here’s why. There’s a difference between cars that are fast and cars that feel fast. Like the Mazda Miata and Volkswagen GTI, Ford’s new Fiesta ST feels fast. In fact, the Fiesta ST (not to be confused with a normal Ford Fiesta. More on that, below) feels wicked fast. This car whips around turns and rockets out of corners with go-cart like precision. Its growling, torque-happy engine slingshots the hotrod. I’m not joking when I say that I repeatedly laughed out loud, giggling like a schoolgirl at the raw fun-production of this little hatchback.
Am I saying that this car is more fun to drive than a Porsche or a Corvette? Well, if you’re remotely law abiding, then, yes, this car is way more fun to take through the turns and to launch from stoplights.
Please let me explain.
When you’re reading 0-60 times in a magazine, crazy-fast sports cars sound fun. And, if you have access to a closed course race track, they are fun. But, if you don’t want to go to jail for doing 100 in a 65, then you quickly learn that 0-60 in three seconds goes, well, really fast. Then what do you do with your $100,000 car? I guess you valet it at the Country Club.
After years of driving the world’s fastest production cars, I’ve concluded that very few folks who buy those cars ever get to push them to their limits. Really push a car like that, and you’re likely to end up in a jail cell, or in a cemetery, depending on how long you get away with it.
Additionally, the best of the fast cars make fast feel slow. Near my house is a twisty road with 21 hairpin turns. The posted speek limit is 25. You can whip through the hairpins at 50 in a Porsche 911, and you don’t feel like you’re going that fast. Until a motorcyle cop passes you going the other way. Then you are going fast—to the county jail.
Here is where pocket rockets rule. Whether its Mazda’s Miata or Volkswagen’s GTI (which birthed the pocket rocket genre in the early 1980’s), these little cars whip around turns and rocket from stops. Their lightweight bodies and tuned suspension handle like true budget cars. They can’t hit 60 in three seconds, though. And that’s great. As a result, pocket rockets feel from the driver and passenger seats, faster than the Porsche 911. Even though they’re slower to 60 than a Toyota Camry.
The Ford Fiesta ST gets 35 miles for every gallon on the highway, and it averaged 27 mpg during my city driving. Not bad for a car that’s more fun than a Porsche.
If you’re looking for genuine driving excitement and pleasure, there is no vehicle with greater fun-per-dollar than Ford’s pocket-rocket Fiesta ST. Don’t get me wrong. I do not recommend the sleepy, base model Fiesta. But, in the boredom of frumpy economy cars, the sport-tuned ST Fiesta is the life of the party.
If you’ve been considering a Mini Cooper or another sporty pocket rocket, do yourself a favor and test drive the Fiesta ST. It may save you about $10,000—and generate as many more smiles.
© 2014 John Dickerson and John Kehlenbeck, Horsepower Auto Reviews