The concept of a performance minded front-wheel-drive hatchbacks has been around since the 1970’s. This category of car has been called the “Hot Hatch”. Some would say that Hot Hatches are dead, with today’s hatchbacks being larger, slower, and too focused on pleasing the EPA rather than on driver fun. Well I’m here to tell you that the hot hatch ideals are alive and well, in the Ford Fiesta ST.
The Fiesta ST is the top trim level for the Ford Fiesta, offering a 1.6L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine, and a six speed manual transmission. There is no non-turbo or automatic options. This puts the pep in the Fiesta’s step, making 197hp at crank, and making the Fiesta a blast to drive. But before I continue my praise of the ST, let’s get the downsides out of the way.
The interior is certainly the downfall of the Fiesta. You can tell just by the outside that it’s a small car, and that idea is reinforced when you step inside. The Back seat is manageable, but not for much longer than a short drive. Leg room is sparse, and if you try to fit a third person in the middle seat you’re going to have a bad time. The front seats are Recaro’s which are fantastic at holding you in the corners, if you’re under 200lbs. The front seats are not kind to heavier set folks who are looking to get their Hot Hatch fix.
Now let’s talk about the advantages the ST brings to the table. The engine is peppy enough to bring joy to your commute. No, it’s not going to blow the doors off your neighbor’s Corvette, but for a twenty-something thousand-dollar car, it’s impressive to say the least. The transmission is wonderful as well. The shifter throw is short, and the clutch is light. The interior features are adequate, again considering the price I’m impressed. But the thing I like the most about the Fiesta ST, is the size. It’s small and nimble, and quick on its feet. That’s what makes the Fiesta ST the true continuation of the hot hatch tradition. Manufactures have been putting great engines in hatch backs forever, but they’ve grown to be as large as a family sedan. The Fiesta is small, quick, and nimble just like the hot hatches of yester-year.
See my video review below: