Boston’s historic Fenway Park has the “Green Monster,” an immense wall meant to taunt big-league sluggers.
Ford has now created a “Li’l Green Monster” of its own. Glowing in Green Envy, the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is that hot hatchback that will taunt boy-racers and pedestrians alike.
But to forgo an ode to the Ford Fiesta ST is to miss out on some of the most entertaining automotive magic, priced starting at just $21,400.
Factor everything we liked about the regular Ford Fiesta hatchback to the 10th power:
The kind that lightly pushes front driver and front passenger into the molded Recaro sport buckets. A 20 second over-boost period of 21 PSI from the BorgWarner intercooled twin scroll turbocharger calls for piston to crank connecting rods made from sintered forged steel.
It’s incredible how the small 1595 cc forced-induction powerplant lacks perceptible boost lag. It’s a neat trick the Fiat 500 Abarth ought learn. Squeeze the Fiesta ST throttle past 3500 rpm and the Sound Symposer intake resonator imitates moaning with the mouth closed. The torque curve has already hit 90% of its full twist at 1800 rpm, without relenting until 4300 rpm.
A six-speed manual is the only transaxle choice. Widely spaced gears make urban slogging less herky-jerky. It offers as little slop as possible from a non-short throw lever. One drivetrain concession: a heavier clutch which disengages way up the longish pedal travel. ABS torque vectoring subs for a true limited slip differential, and it staves off squabbles between front wheels. In a clutch disc sparing effort, too many hole shots automatically re-engages the fully defeatable ESC.
Just three minutes on a any halfway challenging autocross course:
In the Ford Fiesta ST that is long enough to persuade you that the standard suspension is no longer. Linkage geometry is revised for more precise cornering attacks. Springs lowered by 0.6″-inch , stiffer bushings and faster rebounding dampers allow for faster exits. Despite a 61/39% F/R weight allocation, a slight tail shove can be answered by a bit of counter-steer.
Three minutes worth of chassis crashing dilapidated Midwestern pavement is cause for a loose dental filling check. Over 7500 miles on our Green Envy Metallic tri-coat tester’s clock without notable interior creaks or rattles is a testament to build quality coming from the Cuitatlan, Mexico assembly line.
An overly large “ST” emblazoned steering wheel, that tilts plenty but could stand some more reach, requires but 2.4 quick spins from lock to lock. Wind-up occasionally hiccups. The Bridgestone Potenza RE050As track road-ruts. Yet the electric assist doesn’t require over-exertion. A welcome surprise: tire grip is transmitted to the helm.
No big brake kit here. Disc calipers are single sliding piston jobbers all around, and rear rotors are solid. Longish pedal travel can be trusted. Low-metal content pads are hard biting and fade resistant as evidenced by dust and a some cold squeal. Especially useful for track days are properly spaced standard aluminum covered pedals. Combined with high thigh lift of the aforementioned Recaros, they are very heel-to-toe suitable.
The civilized side to the Ford Fiesta ST:
Standard fare includes power windows and mirrors, automatic climate control, remote keyless entry and push-button start, heated front seats, and everyone’s (meaning “OUR”) favorite hands-free voice command infotainment system, Sync by Microsoft with the mini version 6.5″ touch LCD 4-quadrant center stack Ford My Touch infotainment screen.
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Is it unfair to far more expensive sporty cars that the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST supermini can hit 60 mph in just over 6 seconds, can deftly power slide through corner apexes all day and return 27 combined mpg? That it is free of any of bigger brother Focus ST’s fun-robbing torque steer? Or that it requires less work to wring out more precision than a Fiat 500 Abarth? Would we have this rhetoric, had we forgone this Ode to the inspired Ford Fiesta ST?
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