What’s It Like Living with a Ford Fiesta ST? 5,000-Mile Long-Term Update [Video]

A great little car, but you do need to compromise to own one

It’s a fun car, but…there is a but.¬†

We’ve had our long-term Ford Fiesta ST for nearly six months now. Since then, it’s defended its honor against every type of car on the track. Our game show, “Is It Faster Than a Ford Fiesta…ST?” has seen the Fiesta square off against the likes of the an all-wheel drive Volkswagen Alltrack, as well as a Mustang Bullitt and a Dodge Challenger Hellcat. And…it lost, pretty much every time.

Tuned Ford Fiesta ST vs. stock Fiesta ST - Game Show
If the normal Fiesta ST doesn’t have enough oomph, there is always the tuning route. [Photo: TFLcar]
Here’s the rub: while the current-generation U.S.-spec Ford Fiesta ST packs a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine, it’s not all that fast in a straight line. It does have 197 horsepower and 202 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed manual transmission. It also weighs just over 2,700 pounds. That, in addition to sticky summer tires sport-tuned suspension¬†makes¬†make the Fiesta zippy around town. It’s a fun car, to be sure, but with a 9.79 second 0-60 run in the video above…yeah, it’s not fast. And passengers? Forget it – its performance is dulled even further by bringing your friends along.

Mind you, at least when you’re driving alone, the Fiesta is great fun to drive. One important feature is Sport Mode, which you hit by disengaging the traction control. Hold the button, and the Fiesta actually turns the system off, so you can have some tire-chirping fun. When you’re not in the mood for fun and games, the Fiesta will return over 30 mpg. All that for under $18,000 isn’t a bad deal.

2001 Ford Mustang Bullitt vs. 2017 Ford Fiesta ST - Is It Faster Than a Hot Hatch?
The Ford Fiesta ST facing off against a 2001 Mustang Bullitt. [Photo: TFLcar]

Buy it, lease it, or forget it?

As far as reliability is concerned, the Fiesta ST hasn’t gone wrong in its first 5,000 miles. It does need some new tires after its dozens of stints on the track, but mechanically speaking, it’s still in good order. However, while the Fiesta is cheap, its interior reflects some cost-cutting, particularly in the dash and how the seats have worn. Still, its willing engine, exhaust note and snappy transmission make it a blast to drive.

New Fiesta ST - 2018 Ford Fiesta ST (European model)
The new Ford Fiesta ST packs a 1.0-liter turbocharged engine under the hood…sadly, we’re not getting that one. [Photo: Ford]
Whether you’d want to live with this Ford Fiesta ST depends on what you’re willing to compromise. If you can put up with a hard ride, not too much speed and tight quarters, it’s definitely a fun proposition. If you’re looking for size, comfort or more performance, you might want to size up to a larger car.

What do you think of the Ford Fiesta ST (not the new one with a three-cylinder turbo engine)? Let us know in the comments! Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more news, views and real-world, unfiltered reviews.