Review and photos Jeff Wilson

Every once in a while, a car comes along that sets the entire automotive industry on its ear. The sort of car that captures the awe of the general populace and becomes mainstream news. The sort of car that manufacturers dream about for their powerfully positive impact on sales stats and corporate profit sheets.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is not that car.

Quite the contrary. It is a car that is predicted to sell in fairly minuscule numbers and contribute little to Ford’s bottom line. It’s not a halo car for the marque and will never be the inspiration for bedroom poster artwork. In fact, to many, the Fiesta ST is a grossly expensive rendition of Ford’s smallest North American subcompact offering; a car appreciated for its efficiency in space and consumption.

So why is it then, that motoring enthusiasts internationally are giddy at the sight of the car (and its specs) and hungering for more seat time after a spin behind the wheel?

2014 Ford Fiesta ST2014 Ford Fiesta ST2014 Ford Fiesta ST
2014 Ford Fiesta ST. Click image to enlarge

It’s simple really; Ford has given enthusiast drivers an absolutely magnificent, affordable and fun car offering with the Fiesta ST.

The basic Ford Fiesta is a decent enough car in its own right. It’s economical and about as stylish as they come in the small-dorky-hatchback group, and it starts at a very reasonable $14,499. Spend 70 percent more and the Fiesta hits the gym and grows a manly beard of aggressive ductwork and chin spoilers.

That $25,000 starting price gets a happy driver not only the most expensive Fiesta by a fair chunk, but an honest and legitimate performance car.

The ST has undergone a series of suspension tweaks and earned a set of disc brakes all-around (lesser Fiestas have rear drums) as well as some sticky 17-inch Bridgestone Potenza RE050 tires. Together these upgrades produce an abusive ride but truly formidable handling. Grip is especially impressive with the little bean-on-wheels staving off understeer until the driver pushes well beyond sensible limits.

2014 Ford Fiesta ST2014 Ford Fiesta ST
2014 Ford Fiesta ST. Click image to enlarge

Once those limits are surpassed, the ST will cock its inside rear wheel and even drift a bit with a sharp lift from the throttle. Such fun! Looking for a cool new car to take to an Autocross event right out of the box? You could do much worse than this.

The steering is wickedly sharp and requires only a couple of wheel rotations to go from lock to lock, which provides a lively and nimble on-road feel. If you want to swap lanes, you barely need to tickle the steering to make the change happen. The Fiesta’s short wheelbase certainly contributes to the frenetic nature of the handling too. With all that said, the ST’s 205-width tires and front-wheel-drive format conspire for a wide turning radius for such a small car.

Despite looking comically tiny behind the airy five-spoke wheels, the brake rotors – rears especially – provide strong, immediate and consistent braking. Such trustworthy binders cause the driver to push the willing ST harder than they might otherwise and the happy little car keeps performing.

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