Riding with a Hoonigan

2014 Ford Fiesta ST

So there I was minding my own business in the Ontario Place parking lot of Toronto when this crazy driver comes drifting past in a rear-wheel drive Ford Fiesta ST race car, spewing rubber and tire smoke with little concern for me or my nice clean shirt. The nerve!

A few minutes later I was strapped inside the car, helmet banging against the roof and heading out on the circuit at breakneck speed with none other than Ken Block, DC Shoes co-owner and professional rally driver with Hoonigan Racing. We were about to smoke our way around a closed circuit track. A clean shirt was no longer my concern, if you catch my drift.

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST is in many ways a compact version of the 2014 Ford Focus ST. It looks as if someone put the Focus ST in the dryer and left it on high a little too long. This is good thing, because not only are the Focus and Fiesta pleasing to look at, they are amazing and fun vehicles to drive.

Power comes in the form of a 1.6-litre 4-cylinder turbocharged direct injection EcoBoost engine. It produces 197 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and an average of 202 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. The maximum available torque reaches a heart pounding 214 lb.-ft. at 3,500 rpm.

There is no need to wait for power in the Fiesta ST, just mash the gas pedal to the floor and let the good times roll. A slick shifting 6-speed manual transmission is easy to execute without incident and clutch pedal travel is just right. Four-wheel disc brakes with high-performance brake pads reel in the available power with ease.

A commanding engine is nothing special if it isn’t connected to the right suspension. Here too the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST shines bright. MacPherson strut front and Twist Beam axle rear suspension has been tuned to work especially well with the taut exterior dimensions of this 5-door hatchback.

Add to that the benefits of AdvanceTrac Electronic Stability Control and Torque Vectoring Control and you have the makings of a superior sports car capable of keeping up with much more exotic and expensive automobiles. If you’re in the market for a fast car with reasonable space for all your stuff, this is a bargain pocket-rocket you need to take seriously.

Exterior improvements over the regular Ford Fiesta include a unique trapezoidal grille with honeycomb mesh, front spoiler and lower diffuser with fascia extensions. Chrome tailpipes and large roof spoiler round out the body mods, while special 17-inch Sparkle Silver aluminum wheels fill the wheelwells with purpose. Our test vehicle highlights Molten Orange, a tri-coat metallic paint and the first Fiesta to be showcased in this colour.

Inside, the race car DNA continues with heated Recaro seats in front trimmed with partial leather in one of two distinct colours; Smoke Storm or Molten Orange. The Fiesta ST comes standard with unique gauges, a sporty 3-spoke steering wheel, bright metal foot pedals and more. A mechanical sound imposer, first used on the Focus ST, brings the sounds of power into the passenger compartment. It may not be the fiercest engine I have ever heard, but given the price point, it sure sounds sweet.

Seating and storage space is generous for its size. This is a five-door hatch and does offer surprising rear seat leg and head room as I was able to experience firsthand. With the back seats folded down, there is more than enough room to bring home all your latest garage sale finds, or pack in an extra set of tires just in case Ken Block calls up and asks for a ride.

Back on the track, it takes approximately 2 minutes to loop around the course a countless number of times. I lose track after the first pass as we spend most of our time sideways and in a cloud of smoke. A set of tires seems to last 3 trips, but that’s what happens when you leave your mark so perfectly on the pavement.

His dexterity and car control is uncanny, no twitching of the steering wheel, just fluid movements in slow-mo. As we start to decelerate, Ken opens the driver’s door to allow the smoke to clear. And my head, though I don’t mention it when asked how the drive was. My shirt seems fine, a little wrinkled and sweat stained, but none the worse for wear. As for my other concern when it comes to clothing stains, all is good. It’s just another day in the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST and I made it through unscathed.

2014 Ford Fiesta

Trim level: ST
Configuration: front-engine, front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.6L turbo 4-cylinder / 6-spd manual
Power/torque: 197 hp/ 202 lb-ft
Fuel (capacity): premium (47L)
Fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 7.8 city, 5.6 hwy
Warranties: 3 years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Fiat Abarth, MINI Clubman

Related links:
Ford Canada
Hoonigan Racing

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