The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

December 11, 2013

Cargazing: Ford Fiesta ST is fast, fun, affordable

High-performance cars often come with high price tags, but the Ford Fiesta ST is proof that the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Not only is the Fiesta ST a remarkably quick and thrilling car — with nearly 200 horsepower on tap in a compact, lightweight, nicely tuned chassis — but it’s also surprisingly affordable with a base price of $21,400.

Granted, that’s a big premium over the ordinary Fiesta’s $14,000 price tag, but it’s also perhaps the best bang-for-your-buck performance car on the market today. It’s a faster car than its legendary competitor, the Volkswagen GTI, for around $3,700 less.

And, from a raw performance perspective, it’s not like you’re skimping. The Fiesta ST is tuned brilliantly for precise, neutral handling, which is difficult to do in a front-wheel-drive car.

Ford’s engineers did such a good job removing the nasty understeer that so often plagues cars like this. I couldn’t even discern much torque steer, that irritating feeling of the steering wheel pulling to the side when accelerating through corners.

Like the best sports sedans in the world, you can point it into a corner and tweak the angle of attack with your gas pedal, only you’re dialing in understeer in the Fiesta rather than oversteer like in rear-wheel-drive cars.

Power from the 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is equally impressive. It makes 197 horsepower and 202 pound-feet of torque, which are huge numbers in a car that weighs just 2,742 pounds.

The only places I can discern some cost-cutting are in the cabin materials, which aren’t quite as upscale and refined as the best cars in this class, and the small digital display on the dash.

Using the Microsoft Sync system was a whole lot easier on the bigger screen in the Ford Fusion I drove last week. The smaller Fiesta’s screen meant my fat fingers were hitting the wrong digital buttons most of the time.

Text Only
Features
  • dog-sunglasses.jpg Do animals have a sense of humor?

    Right now, in a high-security research lab at Northwestern University's Falk Center for Molecular Therapeutics, scientists are tickling rats. Their goal? To develop a pharmaceutical-grade happiness pill. But their efforts might also produce some of the best evidence yet that humor isn't something experienced exclusively by human beings.

    March 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140317-AMX-DESIGN-FOOD178.jpg Fun and beautiful maps of the world made from signature regional foods

    Food stylist Caitlin Levin and photographer Henry Hargreaves have collaborated on a series of food-based country maps composed of signature national ingredients.

    March 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • AvengerExt.jpg Avenger an American value

    If you’re someone who appreciates the golden age of domestic sedans — those big, comfortable, heavy-feeling cars with a uniquely American sense of style — this one ought to pique your interest.

    March 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen shot 2014-02-27 at 4.27.26 PM.png The glitz, the glamour and the movies: 3 apps for Oscar weekend

    With the Oscars approaching, this is a weekend for movies. Download these apps, then watch a few movies, create your own and settle in for the awards show.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140218-AMX-DESIGN-HOTEL182.jpg The rise of the hotel bakery

    One of the key trends in hotel design in recent years has been a sharp focus on creating a hotel lobby that is a destination, not just a pass-through.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • How the U.S. government spends millions to get people to eat more pizza

    WASHINGTON - It all adds up to a lot of calories: On an average day, the report notes, pizza provides 6 percent of the total caloric intake for American children and 4 percent for American adults.

    February 18, 2014

  • Mazda3Int.jpg Redesigned Mazda3 among best new small cars

    Mazda must be dabbling in black magic.
    How else can you explain the fact that this relatively small Japanese company is doing what no one else in the car industry seems to have figured out? They’re building cars that get amazing gas mileage and are exhilarating to drive at the same time.

    February 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • SoulExt.jpg Soul is still stylin’

    Starting under $15,000, the Soul has always pegged its success on buyers who want a trendy, contemporary, eye-catching car without spending a ton of cash. And now that an all-new Soul is out for 2014, it shows that Kia is doubling down on this recipe of combining funky looks and an affordable price.

    February 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 01.jpg US News names its 'Best Cars for the Money'

    WASHINGTON - U.S. News & World Report Wednesday announced its annual Best Cars for the Money list on its Best Cars website.

    February 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • You're doing it wrong: how to make better ramen

    NEW YORK — The finer points of instant ramen preparation may be up for debate, but the noodle cakes and flavor packets bequeathed to the world by Momofuku Ando are un-mess-up-able.

    February 10, 2014

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results