Oppo, talk me out of FiSTing myself

Oppo,I need some opinions to aid me in my car search—and I’m considering a Fiesta ST. This Fiesta ST, to be specific. Am I insane?

Any input from those possessing experience with or without the FiST is welcome (be it reliability, long-term musings, etc.), but the CliffsNotes on the example that interests me is a 2016 model year, 21,000 miles, and the dealer wants just under $15,200, no haggling. This seems bang-on with what Kelley Blue Book suggests, and the sales team is salary rather than commission, so it seems laid back and doesn’t throw the ‘buy here, pay here’ red flags of stuff coming from auction and being a roll of the dice. Largely because of the low mileage, everything felt solid and well-sorted in the car, I suspect it won’t need major repairs for a while as long as I follow whatever maintenance is recommended. Points in its favor: I’m smitten by the action of the shifter, the eager, playful nature of the chassis, and the down-low growl of the engine right before the bit of lag sorts itself out and the turbo comes online with a noticeable shove. The hatchback practicality isn’t bad since I haven’t taken more than one passenger on trips in years, so the back seats are essentially trunk space. The gas mileage is acceptable, and the seats felt pretty good; I didn’t hate the ride—if the car had the optional Recaros, I’d still be waiting for a rescue team to help me climb out over the bolsters, so I don’t miss them. I have a modified “fun” car already (with harnesses, high compression, stiff coilovers, and a droning exhaust), so this thing would stay bone-stock, save for some snow tires on different wheels.

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I know the interior and ride don’t match say, a GTI (and it’s been suggested to me that several people have traded up from the Fiesta to the GTI), but against what I’m used to, the Ford feels close to a Lexus. Some background: my beater 2005 Ford Focus has some lingering transmission problem (from the previous owner, I swear) where the gearshift argues when asked to engage certain gates, it’s not on speaking terms with first or second especially when the weather’s very cold. I could throw money and time at trying to find and fix the issue, but factor in the car’s perpetually broken air conditioning, the junk shocks/springs, and the clinically depressing plastics in the interior, I just want to be done with it. After I offload it on Craigslist for cheap, I’ll have spent a grand total of 4k or less in purchase price/fixes. This is standard behavior for me, and I find that to be an acceptable cost for years of inexpensive transportation. Similarly, I’d intend to keep this for years even after it’s paid off, and try to keep it in better condition, accordingly.

So my current point of comparison for whatever replaces the dying Focus is that I require functioning a/c, average ride and interior comfort, and to meet or beat the 26 mpg combined which the worthless POS has given me. My other criteria are no stick/no care (sorry, I’m one of those), four doors or hatchback is a must for any ungainly shit I can’t fit in a sedan’s trunk, a bit of fun when commuting to keep me sane, and light-ish curb weight is always a plus. By that meager bar of measurement, the Fiesta passes with flying colors, but it’s a substantial amount of money, which is really the only major ‘con’ which I don’t want to simply overlook on impulse. I can swing the car payment, the extra $200 a year in insurance, and the premium gas, but I’ve never had to previously, since I mostly bought shitboxes in the past.

Thoughts?

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