The Ford Fiesta ST, although carrying that ridiculous name, is by far one of the best designed vehicles for the dollar i have ever driven. The Car's designers wen in on Day 1 and said OK how much do we have? OK! Lets put it all in the Handling, Transmission, and Engine, and whatever's left we will add into the interior. The ST has the shittiest door handles you;ll ever see, and the pedals are missing a dead pedal which is absolutely essential for a manual drive car. The Cup holders are ridiculously close to the Handbrake, and the rear view mirror reminds me of my 87 300Z. Here is where the 5 stars come in. The Controls are all fully purposed and perfectly designed. The nav is amazing! I would even say it is better than Google maps in some respects. The handling is both fully responsive and light, and the car just pulls forever with that clean running turbo. The transmission pulls you towards the next gear but doesn't fight you when you try and force it down one. All this handling, power, and responsiveness, and still has a really good Sony Stereo. The optional recaro seats are a complete must as they hug and comfort you every turn you take. My previous car was a 350Z and this car is much more fun to drive, and feels so much lighter on the turns vs having to wrangle the car into them. I highly recommend the ST to anyone who is looking for a fun commuter, but doesn't want to lost the sports car fun.
Now that I have driven the ST 10,000 miles I am more in love with it then when I first bought it. I have also driven the new Mazda Miata during this time, and through that test drive I realized why I like the ST so much. No other new car of this size, seating position, handling abilities, and power exists. To get the handling of the ST you usually have to get a car that is lower with a lower seating position. I have driven the Focus ST and have sat in a Focus RS and both seem to big to me now. There is a dynamic that exists in this car that is hard to explain, you can have fun without speeding because of the way it handles. You can actually see out of this car because the beltline of the car is lower than your shoulder for the average size person. I would buy a 2nd one just to keep the miles down on both of them. It is hard not to drive a lot of miles.
1) You don't need a ton of space for passengers or cargo. It's perfectly reasonable for everyday use, but 4 adults won't be comfortable for more than an hour, and it doesn't have the kind of cargo space to pack more than for like a couple's long weekend. 2) You can put up with a stiff ride and some wind noise. The suspension is very firm; the ride isn't crashy, but it is firm. If you open the windows above about 60mph, there is buffeting. That's it. This thing is a riot, start to finish: energetic, fun, easy to drive, agile beyond its competition, and surprisingly connected and cohesive. It performs with a lovely balance and sort of cleanliness to its handling. The shifter isn't good, but it works well and a shift kit is easy to install. The steering is actually communicative, and is well-weighted with a nice ratio. The engine is charming: revs hard into the limiter and always wants more, with an adorable medium-pitched bellow under throttle. There's a bit of lag and torque steer, but nothing that detracts from the experience. The handling is as good as the magazines say it is: great turn-in, and puts the power down well coming out of a turn. Brakes are strong and easy to modulate. You'll get mileage in the high 20s even if you drive like a maniac. Base seats, by the way, are fine, or at least not bad. I didn't feel bad about saving the $2k by skipping the Recaros. Update: After 6 months and 9000 miles, it is a reasonable commuter (30 miles one way); no issues other than the brake discs will corrode on their surfaces and make some noise. It's a little creepy, but performance does not degrade, and my pads and rotors still have plenty left in them. I had snow tires on it for the winter, and the car was surprisingly eager to rotate on them, especially in the wet. It's very friendly / communicative / controllable about oversteering, but an inexperienced driver should be warned. Otherwise, I stand by all my previous comments. It still makes me laugh every time I drive it.
It's a subcompact and the ST model only comes with a manual transmission. Surprisingly lively and more fun to drive around town on a daily basis than my 2015 Corvette and a 2014 Mercedes AMG. Ride is choppy because of the short wheelbase. Instrumentation and entertainment controls took a while to get used to. Great mileage in traffic and on the open road. Purchased as a lease, but now I fully intend to buy it when the lease expires if it continues to perform as it has so far.