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Fiesta ST First Drive

Illustration for article titled Fiesta ST First Drive

A new 2019 Fiesta ST. I wanted to like it. In some ways I did.

In other ways I didn’t. The main issue for me was the transmission. I realized I’m spoiled having been driving the Miata 5 speed around for the last 5 years. It felt very loose and undefined. It felt a bit like rowing with a broken plunger. This I’m sure you will tell me, could be alleviated with a short shift kit, but I just can’t see how much it could really be improved to feel direct and sporty. Please tell me otherwise Oppo as this was my main deal breaker.


Second issue was also in line with the shifter and was on the placement of arm rest. How am I supposed to shift with my elbow constantly hitting the arm rest Ford? Now I was able to help with that by opening the lid, but that issue brings me to my next: The seating position. With the standard ST seats lowered all the way I felt too high up. So I would need to Replace with a lower seat, but then the arm rest would be even more in the way even with the lid up! So then I would need a higher shifter to alleviate that.

Now these gripes so far are in part because I am 6' 4" and have trouble fitting in smaller cars that aren’t designed with ergonomics in mind. I expected some fitment issues, but didn’t expect a more awkward seating position than a stock Miata. The foot well was a little had to maneuver with my seat in a good position for the steering wheel. There was no heel towing for me, but to be fair I only can “heel toe” with the ball of my foot on the brake and the posterior side for rev matching in most cars, being that I have long legs. I also felt the clutch was a bit heavier than necessary for a 1.6l turbo and the release point as I have heard is a bit vague. Maybe they were expecting idiocy from their customer base, which makes sense and brings me to my next topic.


The turbo. It was pretty awesome. It made me smile every time. I could just hear it kick in and it made me want more of it. There was not any noticeable lag. Power felt linear. It was still a very subtle boost and in terms of power, didn’t really feel any quicker than my modified Miata (1.8l non-turbo). There was noticeable torque steer coming out of corners, but I don’t really see that as a bad thing as some do. However the steering felt twitchy and that coupled with torque steer made it a little odd coming from rear wheel drive. I’m sure I could get used to it given more time.

The suspension felt very sorted out. Flat cornering and comfortable ride whether going at it on back roads or the highway. Shifting economically and cruising along: it felt like any newer comfortable grocery getter. I could see this being a pretty solid road trip car with the excellent fuel economy and comfortable ride. In addition it had pretty solid interior storage and adequate (being lenient here) rear passenger seating. I couldn’t get the seats to lay flat though.


All in all the FiST seemed like it would be a solid sporty daily with a few modifications, but I really wasn’t looking to buy a car I would have to modify immediately. I guess I have more to think about and to be honest after driving that and a 2017 WRX (which felt better in every way because it was more inline with my driving style), I have more appreciation for my miata. That or maybe I just don’t like change.

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