Small has recently been getting bigger in popularity, but not necessarily in terms of size. The popularity and influx of ever-smaller cars into the North American marketplace is the big issue and not the size of the vehicles themselves. Several factors are contributing to this increasing trend: the miniaturization of technology; urbanized population growth; the growing importance of sustainability; and the noticeable reduction of conspicuous consumption. Small is smart. The Ford Fiesta first became available on North American shores in 2011, making it a truly global vehicle. Prior to that, it had been on sale in foreign markets, ranking as Ford of Europe?s best selling car for several years, and the number two best selling car in Europe. Nearly 700,000 Fiestas have been sold globally since the car was launched in late 2008. The North American version of the Ford Fiesta is available in two forms: a four-door sedan; and a 5-door Hatchback, the Ford Fiesta ST comes in Hatchback form.
Power comes from three sources: a 1.0-liter three-cylinder 123 horsepower EcoBoost engine for the four-door sedan; For the 5-door hatch, a1.6-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, Ti-VCT inline four-cylinder engine with sequential multiport electronic fuel injection, that produces 120 horsepower at 6,350 rpm, while developing 112 pound feet of torque at 5,000 rpm. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard with the optional availability of a PowerShift six-speed automatic transmission, that blends the responsive performance and fuel economy of a manual with the convenience and ease of operation of an automatic in one advanced, dual dry-clutch transmission. The engine is transversely mounted forward and drives the front wheels. A third powerplant propels the Ford Fiesta ST ? a High-output 1.6-liter Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection (GTDI) EcoBoost inline four-cylinder that cranks out 197 horses while generating 202 pound feet of torque.
In terms of its visual appeal, all 2014 Ford Fiesta versions employ a kinetic styling, which displays a sense of forward movement ? even when parked, reflecting an ?energy in motion? ideology. The Fiesta leads off with Ford?s global face, centering the blue oval badge above the trapezoidal grille over the signature inverted trapezoid lower grille opening, subtly engendering a familiarity across the vehicle portfolio, while providing an aesthetic link between the Taurus, the midsize Fusion and the bold Fiesta. Sweeping, elongated headlamps that frame and connect the hood seem to add eyes to the Fiesta face flanked by muscular, sculpted front fenders. Fiesta provides ample space for occupants and their gear in either body style. Moving to the rear of the car, several styling elements merge, including the chamfered liftgate glass, a low roofline that sweeps into an integrated spoiler, and unique taillamps with honeycomb detailing mounted high in the corners of the five-door model. Tightly wrapped rear quarter panels display a muscular quality, drawing the eye to the wheels and the car?s athletic stance. Further enhancing Fiesta?s design is a choice of vivid colors.
The interior of the Ford Fiesta continues the dramatic theme portrayed by the exterior styling. There are boldly sculpted surfaces, contrasting colors and aesthetically pleasing, materials that render the interior in an ambient flavor. The instrument panel centerstack is the focal point of the new interior ? it was designed to feel as useful and familiar as the keypad on a mobile phone. The North American Ford Fiesta features first-row bucket seats with a 60/40 split second-row seat. Cloth or leather seating surfaces vary by trim level offering comfort, style and individuality. Uplevel Fiestas also offer leather with sporty contrast accent color piping. Intuitive switchgear placement, comfort zone seating and available ambient lighting that allows the driver to maximize his or her mood with various complementary colors ? switchable among three levels of intensity ? for interior accent lighting. 25 percent of volume-series SE seat fabric inserts are comprised of recycled content.
The four-door Fiesta is distinguishable by a 3-bar grille and comes in three levels of trim: S; SE; and SEL, while the 5-door hatch features a Euro-style grille panel and is available in SE; SES and Titanium trim levels: The rear spoiler treatment differs between the 4 and 5-door configurations. There?s now also a special Ford Fiesta ST high performance model.
My test 2014 Ford Fiesta ST featured a Green Envy Metallic Tricoat exterior, while the interior was finished in Smoke Storm partial leather seating. The base price was set at $21,400. While the as tested price totaled $25,580. After factoring in the metallic paint, Recaro Package, Navigation and Destination and Delivery charges.
SUMMARY: A big plus for this latest iteration Fiesta, is that it is capable of delivering projected best-in-class highway fuel economy of up to 40 mpg, while maintaining a Fun-to-Drive quality, and with more than adequate acceleration. Forget about that economy with the 2014 Fiesta ST model as the estimated fuel economy is 35-mpg highway. No Matter, the Fiesta ST packs in more driving fun. The ride is quite stiff, but results in exceptional stability, although there is some torque steer to be experienced when prodded with gusto, so one needs to be prepared.
The appeal of all Ford Fiestas is of a youthful nature, but they seem to draw the attention of more mature age groups as well. It just looks fun and sporty. The ride quality is compliant, but leans to the firm side of the equation. In terms of a choice between the 4 and 5-door models, I preferred the look of the 5-door hatch over the 4-door ? plus, it provides a higher degree of versatility and functionality.
Essentially, the Ford Fiesta ST is loaded with a host of standard features and equipment, including: Ford?s SYNC system that integrates a driver?s mobile phone with Fiesta?s onboard, voice-activated communications and entertainment system; an available keyless entry and push button start; tilt-and-telescoping steering; adjustable cup holders; and Ford?s Easy Fuel? Capless Fuel-Filler System.
While small in stature, the Ford Fiesta ST is big on safety features, including:?AdvanceTrac? with electronic stability control; dual-stage first-row airbags;?driver knee airbag; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; four-wheel ABS;?LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children); Tire Pressure Monitoring?System; child-safety rear locks; anti-theft engine immobilizer; and improved side?impact safety.
The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is distinguishable with the addition of these noteworthy features: a new ST grille and hood treatment; a unique leather =wrapped steering wheel and leather shift knob; Leather-trimmed seats, power moonroof, LED parking lamps, heated mirrors and ambient lightoig system with seven color choices; dual chrome-tipped exhaust; MyKey? programmability, limiting speed, audio levels and stability control; and SYNC? with MyFord Touch 6.5-inch screen. Additionally, a Sound Symposer amplifies engine sounds to enhance one?s driving experience which proves to be a great feature. A new ST grille and hood,?unique leather-wrapped ST steering wheel?and leather shift knob.
In the final scheme of things, the Ford Fiesta ST comes with all the right attributes to compete strongly in a growing and highly competitive market segment. In case there is any doubt as to the Fiesta?s global stature, it will be built at Ford?s Cuautitlan assembly plant in Mexico, with the engine coming from Bridgend, U.K. The 1.0-liter engine comes from Craiova, Romania, and the base 1.6-liter engine is manufactured in Ford?s Taubate? Engine Plant in Brazil.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST 5-Door Hatchback [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$25,580.|
|Engine Type and Size:||High Output 1.6-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, GTDI inline EcoBoost four-cylinder with sequential multiport electronic fuel injection.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||197 @ 6,350 rpm|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||202 @ 4,200 rpm|
|Transmission:||Six -speed manual.|
|Drive Train:||Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.|
Front – Independent MacPherson strut with coil springs and 19-mm stabilizer bar.
Rear – Twist beam with coil springs and gas-charged shocks.
|Brakes:||Power assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with four-wheel ABS and three-mode AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control.|
|Tires:||Bridgestone Potenza 205/40 R17 84W mounted on 5-Geo-spoke silver painted aluminum alloy wheels.|
|Length Overall:||160.1 inches|
|Curb Weight:||2,742 lbs.|
|Fuel Capacity:||12.4 gallons|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||26 mpg city / 35 mpg highway|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested.|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles as well.