The Ford Fiesta ST: if there’s a list of the top ten cars that captured the minds of automotive enthusiasts in the last ten years, this would be on it. Granted, the love felt more like a flash in the pan than something more long term. So what’s owning the FiST like five years after it hit the scene? And how is it as my only car? Well, let’s get into it.
(Full Disclaimer: Ford Canada wanted me to drive the Fiesta ST so bad that this was the only one in Saskatchewan for sale, $8k cheaper than the WRX STi I wanted, and they took my money without hesitation.)
I’d go in and list the specs, but I think everyone knows about the 2015 Fiesta ST at this point: 197 horsepower at full boost (yeah, it’s actually only 180 horsepower most of the time apparently, but no one cares), some torque, gas mileage, 2700 pounds-ish probably, whatever whatever. It’s light, it’s got some go, and it’s got good fuel economy. Any review can give your stereotypes about on rails handling or fighter jet like acceleration, but this review is going to ignore all of that, and talk about living with it.
Everyone has one of two remarks: holy crap it’s green, or holy crap it has racing stripes. Does it look aggressive? Not really, as much as it tries to. I feel like the big grille, spoiler, thin sidewalled tires, they’re all more goofy and silly than coming off as threatening. It’s a Fiesta with a bit of a costume on, trying to be quirky and fun at a party, with who is underneath being clearly obvious. They don’t care you know, they’re just here to have fun.
It’s polarizing, but I think I like it more days than I dislike it. Plus, I’ve never lost it in a parking lot.
Gonna be honest, it’s a plasticy hell in here. Fit and finish is adequate, the fan constantly makes a ticking noise, some of the windows work sometimes. You know, it’s fine. You bought at its core a cheapo Ford, if you expect something super high quality, that’s on you.
The Recaro seats are comfortable for long trips, as I’ve done loads of 300 kilometre drives in them. Plus, they hold you pretty well in place, and my 300 pound buddy said that they were comfortable even for him. The back seats exist. No one has done too long a trip in them, and that’s probably for the better. As a whole, it’s pretty good.
The trunk isn’t that big on its own. Good for a few bags of groceries and a suitcase or two. Four people would not be going on a weekend trip in this thing. The centre console can hold about ten CDs and an emergency knife. The glovebox can hold a DSLR. And there’s door cubies in the front which usually hold nothing. Not really that much space to hide things.
But, fold the seats down, and you’ve got a winner. I’ve moved three times with it filled, moved a queen size bedframe, a lawnmower, tires, whatever. With the seats down, it’s solid to cart stuff around in. Not a truck, but hey, what can you really expect? It works in a pinch.
Yup, a dog can sit in it. He liked it.
Easy to drive, fairly economical, everything is fitting for the size. Probably the best car you could learn to drive stick on. Took me a week to get into it after a simple lesson several years prior. Plus, it’s a lot of fun pounding through the gears to get up to speed. The car is quick – not lightning fast, but definitely enjoyable. The exhaust makes silly pops on downshifts. And really, do you need anything much faster when you’re on the road?
Gravel Road Driving
Not recommended. The paint chips easily, and the 205/40R17 tires are probably just about ready to kill themselves as soon as possible. However, spinning the wheels and taking the dipped turns quickly are a hoot and a half.
I live in Saskatchewan, so I’ve had one chance to drive it like a hooligan. However, it’ll take on ramps and off ramps well above the recommended speeds, and stays planted when swerving around wildlife deciding to play chicken in the road. Steering is direct and you always know where it’s going to go. On the track, it’s the same story: steering is quick and light, easy to throw from one direction to another, and it’s just a silly amount of fun.
Solid. They’re red, so clearly they’re performance brakes, and so far I haven’t hit anything in a panic stop. I’d call that a win.
With a good set of winter tires, it’s unstoppable. Didn’t get stuck once here in rural Saskatchewan (motto: the snow fills in the potholes, why would we plow?), managed to get me through loads of snowstorms safely, I was honestly impressed. The heated seats are wicked, the heater works quickly, and it came standard with a block heater. I was also able to start it after it was unplugged in -40 overnight with no problems. It’s a great winter car, to say nothing of the fun drifts it’ll do in the snow.
It’s Sync 2 probably. You know how it is. It exists, but it’s hooked up to a bangin’ Sony sound system, so I’m willing to give it some leeway.
It’s a solid car. Would I buy it again? Absolutely not. But thing is, I’ve been driving for eight and a half years now, always other people’s cars. This is my first car that I’ve owned myself, and it hasn’t needed any major work so far. Is it a compromise owning it? Yes, absolutely. Do I regret buying it? Some days, but that’s how I usually feel about things, so I’d know I’d regret buying anything else. Do I think the Fiesta ST is a great first car? 100%. I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Although I talk about replacing it all the time, most likely I’m going to be hanging onto it for the next two and a bit years. I’m definitely looking forward to more adventure in it.