I only drive fun cars. I used to drive a '06 Audi S4, my wife drives a BMW 335i with the sports package, and after reading so many glowing reviews of the Fiesta ST, I decided to give one a spin and then easily decided to replace my Subaru WRX STi. The Fiesta ST is not only better than all those cars but also far cheaper. There aren't many instances where you can replace something more expensive with something less expensive and have a better product in the end, but this is one of those times. The Fiesta ST actually does live up to its hype - it is that good. If you enjoy driving and love fun to drive cars, there is no more fun that can be had in any other car - no matter the price.
First a little background. I am 47 yrs old. I have owned and driven many so called performance vehicle, many of which have been Fords. I still own a 2001 F-150 Lightning which I purchased in 2001 and has around 500 rwhp. I was driving a MKV GTI with stage 1 as my daily driver for the last 2 yrs.
The warranty was almost up so I started looking. Since I have an hr. Commute each way to work, my main priorities were fun to drive and decent gas mileage. My price range was around 30k. My first choice was the Focus ST. Then got my car & driver mag and see the Fiesta ST received 6th place. Time for another test drive! That was all it took! A little less room but 4k cheaper and more smiles!! SOLD
First, I will preface this by saying that I traded a Miata for the Fiesta ST, so yes this car feels MUCH larger than it is.
I bought the ST with the Recaro package, and I can understand how some people would say that the seats are uncomfortable, especially if the person is of larger size (I'm 5-9 and 175lbs). These seats grip you like velcro in ALL situations, especially hard cornering - try them BEFORE you buy the car. I love them, but I drive "enthusiastically". They take some getting used to in the getting in/out process and I can easily understand how some would hate them. I'm 54, and after a Miata they are really NO problem.
The 6-speed manual transmission shifts like rowing a knife through honey, with very smooth clutch action although it does engage a bit close to the floor (this might change with more wear). The 8-speaker stereo does sound a bit tinny or thin on sound, but money spent with Crutchfield will fax that eventually. The exhaust note, while louder than lesser Fiestas, is not quite as "racy" as it could be given this car's mission, but that is entirely my opinion. Handling is top-notch (again, I came from a Miata), being extremely smooth and predictable. Corners can be taken at MUCH higher speeds than you think the car will handle due to the roll stability control (which can be switched off); you would swear it was rear-wheel-drive with gobs of grip.
The car car has numerous safety-related add-ons, none of which I will address here - I didn't buy the car for being safe. If you're considering it, check out Ford's website or Edmunds for the list of standard safety equipment.
The best thing about this car? Turbo power. The rush from the Ecoboost engine is absolutely ADDICTING. That, combined with the engine sound coming into the cabin will have you feeling and driving like you're back in high school (and I mean that is a good thing).
Bottom-line, if you want some "civilized" performance while being able to carry three passengers and you want to buy a domestic car (yes, I know the Fiesta is assembled in Mexico) with top-notch quality, your search ends here.
First off, if you're looking for affordable performance with practicality, this car is difficult to beat. The passing power of this thing will surprise you - it surely surprised me. Not of caution: 1) it's small, so don't get it if you need the space; 2) its ride is on the harder side, so beware if the roads in your area are crumbling and take it for a test drive first; 3) also test drive the Recaro package before you buy it - it doesn't work for everyone as in my case it was very uncomfortable.
Biggest gripe: Reliability & Fit an finish. I try to remind myself that this is, basically, still a Fiesta econo-box, but some door gaps are wider than others, paint defects are present from factory, multiple visits to dealership for warranty work. Unacceptable for a less than 2 year old car.
The big question: would I buy a new one after the current one I have has run its course? I'd say it's not likely.
I wanted something that was more fuel efficient than my lifted '05 Wrangler (which I traded in for the ST) that would be fun to drive, practical, and would not cost me a fortune. After extensive research and test driving 32 different cars over the span of a little over a year, I chose the Fiesta ST. This car really hits the sweet spot of efficiency, performance, and practicality. If I want to drive it hard this car is more than willing to play. If I want to be efficient, this car has no problem taking it easy. I particularly like the 6sp manual transmission feel and the VERY responsive brakes. Although my car is not tuned for greater performance, the aftermarket is booming for this car as well. In mixed driving I get 32.6mpg with 93 octane. Although I have not had the opportunity to take it on a long road trip I'm very confident that if I use the cruise control and drive it intelligently, I could easily hit closer to 36mpg. I drove similar competitors from Subaru, VW, & Fiat...the Fiesta ST was the clear hands down winner. I'm currently at 7K miles and am stoked anytime I get to drive this car anywhere. Truly outstanding in the hot hatch 4cyl turbo class! Strong suggestion: try out the Recaro seats before committing to buy the vehicle. I tried both Recaro & regular ST seats and opted for the regular seats. While Recaro makes excellent products, the seats in these get tight from side to side if you are normal to above normal width.