ST’AGGERING FAST FIESTA

Published on April 28th, 2015

I was chosen to test drive and review the Ford Fiesta ST because I drive and owned a Ford Fiesta S and they say it is a test of my inclination in my reviews. I don’t mind such task as I do welcome the challenge.

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And after driving the the Renault Clio RS and the Peugeot 208 GTI, the Fiesta ST will complete the holy trinity of hot hatch that we can get hold of here in Malaysia. Although I would love to include, the Minis, the fast numbers from Volkswagen, Audi and Citroen in the mix simply because they do have their version of the hatchbacks and but I was told they are in a different category altogether. But if it’s a hot hatch, I personally think they should be tested equally. Oh well, moving on.

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Now back to the Fiesta. Let me tell you a paragraph about me, owning a Ford Fiesta. I was actually in the Mazda showroom in Kota Damansara to check out the Mazda2 back then. All this while I have never own a Japanese car and decided to make the Mazda2 my first as I have some modding ideas to it in my mind already (never leave them unmodded they say).

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I pretty much like on how it looks on the outside. And surprisingly Ford shared some space in the showroom as well and the Fiesta was there side by side to the Mazda. Long story short,  I fell in love with the interior and its other awesomeness and straight away placed a booking for the S variant without even giving it a test drive.

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Asked for a manual gearbox but they only have it on the base 1.4 model and not liking the specs to begin with so it is a no go for me. Days after that, a friend dropped by to my house with the 1.4 manual and let me have a go at it. The drive was pretty punchy at the revs and I was regretting my order with the 1.6 auto DSG already.

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And since I have received the car weeks after, I have to live with the auto DSG and wishing it was, at least, the DSG that I can shift gears at my own will. Although it is not a bad thing after I have gotten used to it, but deep down, I still prefer the manual stick shift over the auto.

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And when I sat in the ST, started the engine, I’ve already knew this will be going to put smiles on my ugly mug for every shift of the manual six speed gears when it pushes the miles. Yeah, I miss the manual gears too much.

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The ST comes with manual six gears (there, I said it again, too much love in it) and mated to the 1.6 turbocharged engine at 180 horsepower with maximum torque at 240 Newton metres. That amount of power in a small car means that it can do lots of fun stuff on the road.

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Like, seriously fun stuff driving on highways and B roads, even during traffic jams when you play around with the new and improved Ford Sync 2.0.

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It responds better than the one I have on my car due to the better voice recognition. Tried fooling around with my Manglish and Malaysianised Cockney, it understands well to my surprise. The trick is to say out loudly than you are used to. I do get stares in traffic jams but heck, I am the one having fun in here, can you talk to your car, Mr. Vios with fake tiny Vossens?

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The ride seems to be a little bit harsh due to its tuned chassis and harder suspension setup. It still have the twist beam at the rear though but it contributes to the fun of it when you drive hard, going tripod at corners and all that.

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And that torque vectoring, it helps you stay planted most of the time so that you have the confidence in negotiating corners for the rest of us folks here who drives sanely fast as well. Pretty grippy little car. And then, I love the fact that is it has that overboost function.

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The ST offers a period of additional torque delivery where all of us petrolheads names it overboost or overtorque (overboost sounds cooler). The engine calibration broadens the RPM range of the peak torque curve, improving its performance especially during overtaking or launching. It is built into the engine calibration and it is engage accordingly to the parameters.

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All I have to do is just floor the pedal to the metal. This overboost function pushes the car for another 10 horses or so and believe me, it does make a difference when you are already pushing it to the max. Not to say that it goes with neck-breaking speeds, but it does have that traditional turbocharged feel to it. Not the linear turbo like you have in the other new age rides I shall not say their names (pun intended).

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The dashboard seems to be the same as any other Fiesta with a few sporty enhancement such as the black materials they used to differentiate the ST and the other variants. The pillars, roof lining are in the sexier and darker shade of grey.

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The Recaros are not to my liking in terms of design but it does it job well and comfy too for the long cannonball runs. Other that that it is pretty much the same as any other Fiesta, only that it has that extra premium feel and equipped.

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Which is, I think it pretty much brilliant. It’s just a faster Ford Fiesta that gives you joy in driving with all this little extras. Be it in subtlety for the weekend date or the hard on race mode with the other boys.

Speaking of the other boy and a girl, the Peugeot 208 GTI and the Renault Clio RS, I for one, without a doubt will choose the ST over the other two. The Peugeot GTI has the stick shift gears too but when it comes to handling and beauty, I like the ST over the performance it gave, the overboost function and the handling.

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It is so focus as such you only have the three pedals, the steering wheel and the awesome chassis to play with and that is all about it. You and the car. Straight forward and no other nonsense. And of course the styling. The Fiesta was once codenamed the Bobcat when it was planned in the 70’s so was Peugeot, this is the long-lost cousin you are going to hate.

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Other than that, the Fiesta has proven itself as the weapon of choice in many rally races and they have exceeded well enough to make it your favourite too. As for the Clio, yes it has more horses underneath compared to the Fiesta ST, yes it has its own beauty externally although subjective, but on the circuit,

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I’ll go for the manual anytime. You can jump gears from 4 to 2 in a flick of the wrist while in a Clio, you have to drop it sequentially, and that if it allows you to. Although I have to admit, it is rather practical to have the Clio RS for the wife or girlfriend as it is in auto with the pedal shifters to go through the traffic congestion in Kuala Lumpur.

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We love our women so we want their calves to be pretty and evenly toned left and right. So yeah, I’ll buy the Clio RS for my girl if the need arises. Long story short, the Clio is practical to have a fast hot hatch for daily driving fun but not manly enough like the Fiesta. Beside, it bears the name Clio, what can I say more.

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Underneath all this amazing package the ST is not perfect either. Due to its sporty nature, it only comes in the three-door variant. Sometimes when I drive this hot hatch, you tend to get friends that wanted to go along the ride to a few cool places with the cool car.

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Having extra two doors would certainly ease the hassle of going in and out of the car. Therefore having the ST engine in the five door variant would certainly be a hit amongst the fans like me. All in all, the two and half day driving the ST was a dream come true to have the Fiesta in manual guise again.

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Not only that, it comes with an awesome turbocharged engine. Handing it back to Ford means that I have to go back to my auto tranny DSG again. Not that it is a bad thing, its just that, if i were to have a pocket rocket in the near future, the ST is a no brainer for me. It is the car that brings back the joy of driving with a stick shift again. The ST is definitely a man’s hot hatch for now.

Words: Jeo

Photos: Haznajims

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