Sub-compact cars are the fastest-growing segment in the Canadian car market, and sports models aren't far behind. So Ford's Fiesta ST, which makes its North American debut at the Los Angeles auto show, seems ideally suited for market success.
A high-performance hot-hatch first launched in Europe in 2005, the Fiesta ST has an established reputation on that continent. But the 2014 model will be the first to be available in North America.
In addition to a sport-tuned suspension and an improved braking system, the ST packs considerable punch under the hood that separates it from other Fiestas.
A new high-output variant of the award-winning 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine pumps out an estimated 197 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque – more of both than the Mini Cooper S and way more than the Chevrolet Sonic RS.
"With 177 lb-ft. of torque available from just 1,600 rpm and 214 lb-ft by 3,500 rpm, Fiesta ST gives the performance and feel of an engine twice its size," says Mark Roberts, Fiesta calibration supervisor. "There’s no waiting at all for the power to just push you back in your seat."
It will be available exclusively as a five-door hatchback with a six-speed manual transmission in North America.
Visually, the ST is distinguished by a unique grille and chin spoiler with new rear diffuser and fascia extensions, bright tipped dual-exhaust pipes and high-mount spoiler , and unique 17-inch wheels.
A unique suspension with modified front knuckle enables a quicker, 13.6:1, overall steering ratio. The rear axle gets increased roll stiffness to improve stability through fast corners, while the Fiesta ST body sits 15 mm closer to the ground than the base model.
The increased mechanical grip provided by the suspension is enhanced with electronic Torque Vectoring Control to reduce understeer during hard cornering maneuvers.
Three-mode electronic stability control – standard, sport or off – enables the ST driver to select the amount of electronic aid he or she choses.
The Fiesta ST also features the mechanical version of the sound symposer first used on the Focus ST, which feeds engine sound directly into the passenger cabin to accentuate feedback quality and response.
Fiesta ST is the result of the combined efforts of Team RS in Europe and SVT in the United States.