Street Talk gets the inside track from Ford on one of the year’s hottest upcoming releases!
The Ford Fiesta ST has arrived…almost. Fiesta enthusiasts should expect no less than the following this summer: 197-horsepower with 214 foot-pounds of torque, all rolling on ultra-shiny 17’s. To top it off, it’ll be available for the first time in the USA in the coming months.
While the Fiesta’s no stranger to the import tuner crowd or fans of drifting—having been reintroduced in these parts in 2010, and adopted by Ken Block and Tanner Foust as their rally car that year—don’t confuse that Fiesta with the new 2014 Ford Fiesta ST.
“The Ford Fiesta ST has a completely different target customer than [the traditional] Fiesta, which is a young, millennial-generation female or male who is driven by different purchase reasons than the ST buyer,” explains Liz Elser, Fiesta/Fiesta ST Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company. “The [traditional] Fiesta’s target customer is a city dweller that loves being where the action is, and they are constantly out and about. They see the vehicle as an extension of themselves. They appreciate the prized fuel economy, value, and quality when making their purchase decision.”
All well and good, if you’re into that kind of thing, but sounds a little tame for my high-octane blood.
The Fiesta ST’s target customer, in comparison, is “a 24- to 28-year old single male who’s always wanted to own a true performance car—and now can—thanks to Fiesta ST’s affordability,” adds Elser.
Did someone mention performance? Now I’m listening.
Perform it does. The new Ford Fiesta ST specs begin with a 1.6L Ti-VCT EcoBoost I-4 engine featuring a single turbo for the power of a V6, with the fuel efficiency of a four cylinder. Sustained torque output is achieved through an over-boost feature that extends peak torque through a higher RPM range. Keeping all this fun under control are four-wheel disc brakes with high-performance pads, a sport-tuned suspension, and 17-inch wheels flaunting Bridgestone Potenza 205/40R17’s that are W-rated (168 mph) high-performers.
Ford is targeting drivers who have an interest in performance and drifting, who are younger and might consider themselves part of the import tuner crowd, while at the same time, are price conscious. The Ford Fiesta ST starts at $21,400. As for what makes Fiesta ST so appealing to this demographic, Elser says “there’s a new generation of enthusiasts emerging and they define performance differently.”
“Fiesta’s history and heritage as a performance vehicle in Europe is one factor driving demand [among the import tuner scene],” Elser explains. “The target customer for Fiesta ST in the USA is savvy—they want fuel economy and performance with a European-inspired performance pedigree. The shift to small, fun-to-drive performance cars is happening now and will only continue to gain momentum when you consider the growth projected for the B- and C- car [size] segments globally.”
Helping the Ford Fiesta ST deliver on the “fun-to-drive” reputation that Elser promises, is a 6-speed manual transmission and three-mode AdvanceTrac electronic stability control that allows drivers to select the degree of intervention they want. Even when backed into a corner, other Ford Fiesta ST specs are equally impressive, namely its enhanced Torque Vectoring Control.
Yeah, I know, that’s a mouthful, but it gets the job done.
“G-forces in a corner transfer more traction to your outside tires than to your inside ones,” Elser explains. “Our Torque Vectoring Control exploits that by transferring torque to the wheels that have the most grip, virtually eliminating understeer and forcing the front end to hug the inside of each curve.”
And, while we all know that actions speak louder than words, what’s performance without looking and sounding good? Ford achieves what it’s calling the “desired Fiesta ST sound” inside the car through an “engine sound symposer” that uses “good” engine-generated frequencies from the intake system and transmits them to the passenger compartment.
As for looks, the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals are all clad in racing-inspired aluminum, while the shifter knob and steering wheel are leather-wrapped. Headliner and pillar trim are black and standard seats are outfitted in charcoal black sport cloth with the ST logo or upgrade to RECARO partial leather-trimmed and heated sport front bucket seats.
For added style, the ST logo is emblazoned on the front door sill plates, while exterior mirrors with the RECARO package are heated—so you can see exactly whom you’ve left in the dust.
The Fiesta ST is capitalizing on a trend toward downsizing, to deliver a higher power-to-weight ratio and better cornering, and “is seen as replacing Ford’s SVT Focus as the consummate Ford tuner vehicle in the USA,” Elser says. “When Ken and Tanner migrated to the Fiesta from their previous vehicles, it gave the Fiesta the ultimate validation in the tuner community.”
That validation, coupled with the ST’s buzz, specs and style enhancements, should help drive major sales when it finally becomes available this summer. I’m saving up as we speak.
Editor’s note: As you’re gearing up to test drive the hot, new Ford Fiesta ST, be sure to visit Advance Auto Parts for great deals on parts and tools for just about any project you can dream up.