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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have had my car for a week now and have some exposure to it so this will be a good first impression thread. I am generally unbiased by my purchases, I am not one of those guys who everything I have is the best ever. In the last 11 years I have owned a new 2003 wrx(decent), new 2011 sti(scam), used 2008 saab 97x aero(ok for a truck), a used 2003 Z06(solid so far) and now the new 2014 Fiesta ST. I live in Milwaukee so have significant snows and winters. I still have my vette it is used as a summer car; try to get it out maybe 100 days a year. It is also my track car. I bought the saab before I knew which way I would go with a track toy as it has towing capability, but I have decided that I will over all be more happy and save money with something sportier for a winter/dd vehicle. I can drive the vette to track days and just pay to have it towed back if it blows up vs dealing with keeping a tow rig in towing condition. So that is how I got to shopping to replace my dd.

How I choose the Fiesta ST.
So after dealing with 12.5mpg average for 2 years I was set on the path to get something smaller and sportier. Sure the aero was very fast for a nearly 5000# vehicle, it was more scary than fun to drive. The biggest thing I ever put in my truck was my vette wheels so that was the only space constraint. I always liked the veloster turbo since they were announced, my brother ended up buying one 12-18 months ago so I had a chance to drive it a bit. Relative to how it looked on paper it wasn’t very sporty, but it had nice enough seats and some fancy infotainment. It was the benchmark for my eventual dd vehicle. I was very unhappy with the rear suspension in the veloster other than that it wasn’t a bad vehicle outside the fact that I felt it wasn’t as sporty as it could be. It didn’t engage me enough to make me feel like I had to buy one.

Enter the Fiesta ST. Same form factor, same paper stats, but in a package that truly feels sporty. Better gearing, more aggressive seats (Recaro’s), good tires out the door, over all torquier feel of the motor, didn’t have the terrible feeling rear suspension travel/spring rate. With the warranty on my Saab ending, and finally finding something that felt enjoyable, I bought my Fiesta ST on 2/27/14. It has all options but the caliper/wheel paint. I got a good deal on it as the dealer wanted it gone.

Below I will break my critiques into a few chunks relative to what I have noticed so far in use.


Steering
Wow really great. Very comfortably yet sporty ratio. When I am pulling into a parking spot the wheel turns effortlessly and it feels nice and tight at speed. Bump steer and random nonsense in the wheel is suppressed but you still seem to get some reasonable feedback in cornering. There is no dead spot in the center of the wheel, which is great. And the steering wheel itself is thick and very nice feeling. Though the horn button center area feels fiesta cheap. Turn in is exceptional, specifically for a front wheel drive car.

Braking
I am unsure how I feel about the brakes so far. The pedal is exceptionally tight and high. It feels very sporty. My limited exposure and the fact that its winter has limited objective testing, so far I am undecided if the pads are too grippy or if the brakes are just too front biased. The brakes on first use feel great, but there is nowhere near enough braking occurring relative to abs. I suspect it may be too much forward brake bias, but it’s my DD so no idea if I will ever care enough to try different compounds to see what it really is. The brakes are very good for normal daily use, no idea if their sporty feel truly will translate to track functionality.

Heel toe/revmatch
A necessary component to any stick sporty car. The pedal spacing along with the stiff high brake is perfect for side foot heel toe that I prefer. The throttle response is much slower than I am used to with the vette so it takes a bit of thought for me at the moment but it will be plenty good once I learn it.

The upshift rev match is pretty cool for this level of car. Really makes the tranny feel smooth. It seems rather passive, it doesn’t seem to force rpm down just holds them up at the shift point of the next gear so if you shift fast you won’t get a match, but as a DD it works very well and is a nice addition that I hadn’t really read about anyplace.

Suspension
The suspension is tuned well over all. It is what I would consider over dampened at normal speeds, which is how I like my cars setup. The rear beam isn't brutally apparent in normal use unlike the veloster turbo setup, which I appreciate. Overall the ride is quite firm but not overly jarring for a sporty car with a tiny wheelbase. I did notice some resonance in what felt like, the chassis, though it could have been the rear beam when going over the big vrrpp strips getting off the freeway. Roll is acceptably controlled. I can only imagine the car is going to be a rattle trap in 2-3 years as it already makes some rattles on the terrible winter roads.

Power
Overall the biggest shocker. Having driven a veloster turbo and brz a few times each, I thought I had a pretty good idea what to expect. Ford did a great job of tuning the turbo on this car to make some torque down low even in second. The car really feels pretty quick up to about 4-5k. Like all turbo driven cars, it runs out of steam fast and tapers out of top. But the torque is pretty surprising on the bottom end. Makes the car very drivable. I am still getting used to low rpm driving. The motor likes to bog/chug with too much throttle in the higher gears even beyond 1500 rpm. I am not used that, more than surprised by it. By the time you are at 2k the power feels pretty good, even on the freeway or in 6[SUP]th[/SUP]. I suspect there would be significant gains from a limited slip diff of any type. SI has had one forever, I am sure other cars in this market do too. For a DD I would rather live without it to keep wear and tear down, and turn-in up, but for many it would be a big bonus, surprised ford couldn’t fit it in the car at this price. With the cold weather I have yet to feel all the engine has to offer as I have always lost traction at high throttle. Also the throttle tuning feels adequate. It isn’t at 100% throttle plate angle at what feels like 50% throttle pedal angle like many cars feel these days.

Tires
I have a few points here. I wish there was an option for a normal tire. If they put the 050 on the painted rim and an all season on the non-painted, or something along those lines. They could still use the 050 numbers for magazines and at the same time appease people who plan to use the car as a dd. It would have made the car $900 cheaper for me, though having real summer and real winter tires will be much more fun I am sure. The 050 is a proven performer though so a reasonable choice. I also wish that the car ran a more standard 24”-25” diameter tire. These are super small tires and I hope they don’t become impossible to get in 3 years, or more likely limited to very few choices.

Mileage
Still on the dealers gas. Could be 87 for all I know, likely is. The dealer wasn’t all that close to me, about 20 miles away so I have done much more freeway driving than normal. Also been going a bit easier on it than normal. I am at 25.8 now on the dash meter. Pretty reasonable assuming that once I change out the initial oil and get through break in it should be a noticeable amount higher.

Radio
The infotainment/nav/speakers all seem pretty neat. I had a big Bose system in my Saab and it wasn’t any much better than the stock Sony system. The system could use a bit more bass for my liking but all of them could. I do think the veloster sound system is a bit better, as it had a small sub in the back, but I can slap a sub in all the damn free space under the trunk board if I decide I need it.

Interior Fit and Finish
The car is tricky cause depending what direction you look the finish does a 180.
If you are referring to the Recaro’s, as expected, excellent. I don’t really know how you could design a stock seat for the masses that is any much better. Maybe a bit more reverse rake in the front for me, but I think my long legs always cause me to want more from seat bottoms. The seating position feels high. Would have been nice if they adjusted the Recaro’s design to accommodate the fiesta chassis’s lack of sporty seating position, but it isn’t terrible.

The dash isn’t terrible; it’s real rubbery and has a weirdish pattern on the leading edge then harder with a different pattern higher up. Very econobox but looks ok as I am not very demanding of form.

The door panels are cheap, along with the carpet and center console. Lack of a dead pedal is concerning when added to the cheap carpet. $26.5k car, $8 floor mats. Could have made some decent cloth ones for the ST that were logoed. I hope someone makes cup holder armrests like my buddy got for his brz. Would really go a long way I think to alleviate the whole shifter position weirdness. A bit of redesign or adjustment in that area is likely needed.

My window rattles if it’s down less than 1“. Pretty damn annoying. Good thing the car has a sunroof at least I can vent a little that way. Hoping that it’s actually just an issue with my car and they will be able to fix it at the dealer.

No garage door opener, SERIOUSLY! I get that it’s a fiesta with a 45 cent plastic visor, but seriously my car had a 26.5k msrp. I would think they could find $50 for a visor with a button in it to open my garage door. Silly oversight on fords part imo. I imagine in a year or 2 they will be available either as a visor or a rearview, possibly with dimming.

The interior lighting thing is sort of neat, nice little addition to allow color changes.

The seat heaters are HOT, wish there was an adjustment but better to be hot than not hot enough.

The dash light dimming is sketchy and the speedo is crap, too small and too hard to read. All cars should have huds though imo so possibly I am just spoiled.

The fact that we don’t get the gauges that the Focus ST gets is somewhat disappointing. I am used to monitoring gauges for everything in the vette, though in reality it’s not necessary in a DD it is for anything you are planning to track.

Exterior fit and finish
Wheels fit into the body VERY well. Better than the vette I think actually. Not only do they fit the cutouts well around the circumference but the offset actually looks like some thought was put into it. Makes for a car that looks like it was engineered and is a very welcomed sight.

Bumpers really don’t match up well. After seeing all the nitpickers on corvetteforum bitch about the c7 I have begun to appreciate this. It isn’t a deal breaker but would be nice if the lines matched up better. I can’t imagine it’s impossible or that it would cost all that much. Maybe it really does?

I have the molten orange paint and I really like it. I haven’t had a chance to hand wash it yet to really get a good look at it, but the paint seems smooth and I like the color and the flake quantity and color. It’s sporty and out of the norm but not something that I would imagine will cost me money at trade in like a lime green could. Specifically when matched to the orange Recaro's.

The 2 piece mirrors are very weird to get used to but once you do they work really well. I think they are generically a ford thing on many of their cars. They did a nice job with that, I like them a lot but I still look to the side because I don’t trust them yet.

I am glad they put a decent projector housing on the low beams, HID’s may be an easy and cheap retrofit. As I generally won’t put HID’s in a reflector housing, but these lights have a nice sharp cutoff so with a bit of adjustment should work well, and safely with an HID. After looking at the lighting assemblies themselves, there aren't projector housings on the low beam but there is an exceptionally crisp cutoff for reflectors. Will be a matter of seeing how far down they can be adjusted to see if HID's will be an option or not. :(

Why are the wheels so heavy on this car? Having done wheels and rotors on cars in the past to gain lap time, this car would be noticeably better if they would have used a 17#ish wheel which they could have made for no more money than the beefy 22# stockers. The stock 18x10.5 on the rear of my vette weighs less than the 17x7 on this car. Maybe they were concerned with the exceptionally low profile tires?


I think that is about all I got for initial impressions though I am sure I will come up with more eventually. So far still happy with the car, it has exceeded my expectations for a sporty econobox though it isn’t without fault.
 

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Nice review, love the color. I wish i had the orange Recaro's.
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I can't help it...Veloster...ooh I feel better now...
HAHA I didn't even realize that is how it was spelled. I called my brothers car "the craptor", lol, just to mess with him. (little brother) I actually thought that is how it was spelled never looked close enough to realize haha. Hell i spent a fair ammount of time on their page and reading reviews. Shows how well I pay attention I guess. Thanks
 

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Good review!!

I actually bitched about the visor as well, no homelink in a 25k car....really? It has navigation but no homelink? Not a deal breaker but still odd.

I actually don't mind the interior, I wasn't expecting the world. I just wanted light and nimble.

Like I said...excellent and honest review.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Honestly never looked at the light housings. The lights have a very sharp cutoff so i just assumed. Will be interesting to see if they can be adjusted down far enough to work for an HID or not. Figure the car is lower than my previous dd but the cutoff is in a simmilar place (on my garage wall) so I am still hoping there is enough adjustment to make it workable.
 

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Nice review. I agree with you on the seat rake. I could adjust my old car (Audi S4) to perfection. It also had a homelink visor, which I also miss. I'm with you on the interior as well. Not as nice as my Audi, but half the price, too.

I've washed and waxed my car once. I have to be more careful - I'm still trying to get wax out of the honeycomb trim above the rear diffuser.

I would also move the ambient light LED from above the glovebox to inside the center console. I get a reflection off the passenger window at night. Also, my Flex has ambient lighting in the center console, and it makes it easier to find things in there.

Enjoy your Fiesta. I love mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That site and all others are bullshit. It is very simple, if the cutoff is clean there is no difference. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. I just ordered some ghetto ass hids for $45 shipped if they don't work its the same bulb in the fog light, ill use them for flash to pass., :D or throw them in the garbage for $45 cause who cares.

The guy i bought my vette from put HID's in that. No one ever flashed me cause the lights are so damn terrible they still weren't blinding. Mind you it gets driven very rarely in the dark. I ordered regular bulbs for it as well cause i just need lights that work to get me to track days without hassle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Read his reports.
1. failure for color. (why do i care?)
2. Failure for amount of light emitted above 0 degree point.

So if you read his reports and ignore all the nonsense he says, if you don't care about light color or order 4300 kits, the cutoff isn't crisp enough to pass inspection. A car with no cutoff like my vette just throws light all over the damn place and is a nusance. This car has a cutoff, I think if i can adjust if to 1-2 degrees below level it could work.

I am not saying that these headlights are crisp enough but they are WAY crisper than most reflectors i have seen. Mind you, I understand i may totally lose the cutoff when i move the light source with an HID. I am saying its worth a shot, so ill try it. I will save the cardboard from my tires so i can project onto something straight and take some measurments to set the light angle. I will report back when completed.

I think its foolish to measure a few, TERRIBLE, halogen housings and from that draw conclusions about all housings.
When I put hids in my bugeye wrx they cost $300 for a set. Way to much to risk not working specifically at that time for me. I spent the $600 on some hella projector assemblies and had awesome lights. For $45, its worth a shot.
 

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Nice review. I agree with you on the seat rake. I could adjust my old car (Audi S4) to perfection. It also had a homelink visor, which I also miss. I'm with you on the interior as well. Not as nice as my Audi, but half the price, too.

I've washed and waxed my car once. I have to be more careful - I'm still trying to get wax out of the honeycomb trim above the rear diffuser.

I would also move the ambient light LED from above the glovebox to inside the center console. I get a reflection off the passenger window at night. Also, my Flex has ambient lighting in the center console, and it makes it easier to find things in there.

Enjoy your Fiesta. I love mine.
We do have ambient lighting in the center console, it's in the cup holders. But I get your point. I think that on all of these small iteams that everyone is talking about.At some point we must realize that these casr are built to a price point. I came from a JCW Mini, that cost a great deal more ($35,000 out the door) with less equipment. Like Recaro's and Nav + Sunroof, seat heater and more. just my $.02
Ron
 
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HID's in reflector housings are a terrible idea, they are blinding and don't emit good lighting. If you insist on getting HID's do it the right way and get projectors to do a retrofit.
 
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