Caught in the classifieds: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST
In this week’s “Caught In The Classifieds”, we’re highlighting one of the most exciting hatchbacks money can buy: a Ford Fiesta ST. Ford’s hot hatchback first made its debut back in 2002, with the fifth-gen Fiesta. Although it was a great little car, it wasn’t until 2012 and the sixth-generation Fiesta, that the ST edition took off. Automotive journalists praised it for its amazing chassis and the driving experience, something very few hot hatchbacks manage to achieve. To this day, if you’re after cheap and affordable performance, it remains one of the safest choices.
The normal Fiesta is a great-looking car to begin with, but the ST treatment really makes it stand out. Compared to a regular Fiesta, the ST has bigger and more aggressive bumpers, a slick side skirt, and bespoke ST wheels. It’s also noticeably lower than a standard Fiesta, as well as slightly wider because of the flared arches. It’s not flashy or shouty by any stretch of the imagination, but petrolheads know what it is as soon as they see one.
Most STs you’ll see on the road are either blue or white, but we’ve intentionally highlighted this red example because it’s rarer and a lot more vibrant. Traditionally, sedated colours like black and grey look good on saloons and SUVs because they’re considered to be ‘grown-up’ cars. The Fiesta ST is a hot hatchback, and a striking one at that, so it looks great with vibrant and exotic colours. Blue suits this car really well, but you don’t see many red ones driving around, which makes this one quite special.
Inside, the ST isn’t that different from an ordinary Fiesta. It’s got the same dashboard layout and it uses the same materials, so if you were expecting an AMG or an M treatment, you’d be disappointed. Most people understand that the ST is just a faster variant of the Fiesta, so the extra money goes towards enhancing the engine and the suspension, which is practically the appeal of the ST anyway.
That being said, the ST manages to nail a few things better than a lot of cars costing two or even three times as much. The driving position is superb for instance. You can get nice and low in the ST, and the seats themselves are wonderfully supportive and comfortable. They encourage sporty driving and hug you tightly as you start piling on the G-force.
The steering wheel is a great size and shape. It isn’t particularly exciting to look at but it feels amazing to throw around. The dials are clear and simple, but being an older car, they’re two analogue circular clusters. One for the speedo and one for the rev counter. The pedal box is perfectly designed for heel-and-toe, so much so that this is one of the best cars to learn how to do it in.
The infotainment display is rather small and it doesn’t hold a lot of actual information, but it gets the job done. This isn’t a car you buy for its amenities or premium materials, but it feels tightly screwed together. You can tell Ford designed and built it to last, so they paid extra attention to the fit and finish.
The front seats are roomy and spacious but the rear ones aren’t as generous. You can fit two full-sized adults in the back, but they won’t be comfortable on longer trips, especially if they’re taller. That being said, they’re great for kids and shorter adults. The boot space is more than enough for most people, but if you’ve got a family of four or find yourself carrying a lot of stuff quite often, you should check out the Ford Focus ST.
Engine and Performance
If you judge the Fiesta ST purely based on its exterior and interior, you might think it’s massively overrated. Spend five minutes behind the wheel though, and you’ll quickly see what all the hype is about. The Fiesta ST is one of the most involving cars you can buy, and I’m including things like Ferraris and McLarens when I say that.
The steering wheel is sharp and precise, to the point where the front darts almost telepathically wherever you point it. The gearbox is super smooth, with a gearstick that has both short throws and an incredibly satisfying shift. Short of a manual Porsche 911, the Fiesta has arguably one of the nicest shifts of any car.
The engine up front is a 1.6-litre EcoBoost turbocharged four-cylinder, putting out 180 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but the Fiesta doesn’t weigh anything compared to most modern saloons and hatchbacks. It’ll sprint to 62 mph in a shade under 7 seconds and go on to a top speed of 136 mph. For something so small, economical and cheap to run, that’s more than enough.
Outright speed isn’t what the Fiesta ST’s about though. If you’re after sheer speed, you’re better off looking someplace else. The Fiesta ST is a great driver’s car because it rewards good driving and good technique. It won’t rev-match or downshift for you, it won’t steer for you… you have to do all of that for yourself. It offers a pure, unadulterated driving experience, wrapped up in a great FWD chassis with incredible poise and balance.
Why you should buy one
The Fiesta ST is incredible value for money. No other car currently on sale manages to be as fast, practical, economical, and cheap to run, for so little money. Not only will it make you a better driver, but it’ll genuinely keep up and even embarrass some expensive machinery on a British B-Road. Reading up online you’ll find plenty of people who own a Ferrari or a Porsche in addition to a Fiesta ST, and most of them will tell you the Fiesta is just as much fun if not more than their supercars. It’s all about how much enjoyment you can have on a public road within the speed limits, and for that, the ST really does reign supreme. For around £8,500, I struggle to see how you can have more fun in a car. Find a wonderful array of used Ford Fiesta cars for sale on DesperateSeller.co.uk right now.
Rating: 9.5 out of 10
View the car here: 2014 Ford Fiesta - £8,349