2014 Ford Fiesta ST
Here at MotorWeek, we’re always looking for cheap thrills…performance wise that is…and while they have become somewhat more readily available of late, many options are still a little too watered down for our tastes. That brings us to the Ford Fiesta ST. Is America ready for a world class high performance subcompact from Ford? Well, we sure are!
Performance oriented versions of existing cars are nothing new and usually come with a 20 or 30% boost in power. Well how about 65%? That’s what we’re talking about here in the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST.
Its 1.6–liter turbo I4 sees numbers climb from 120–horsepower and 112 lb-ft. of torque to 197 and 202 respectively! And while those aren’t supercar high, they are certainly high enough for a good time. And, with the engine’s instant response, the numbers feel even higher.
Just about everything has been major upgraded here, including suspension, brakes, and steering.
The humble Fiesta was already a solid handler for a bargain basement subcompact, but now it’s gone full on Go-Kart. With a firm feel that’s more like a mid-size sport sedan than pocket rocket.
We’re talking true point and shoot fun here! This car yearns for you to get on it and stay on it. It even has a very pleasing exhaust note, inside the cabin, thanks to a sound symposer; powerful, but not too loud at all.
Off the line, torque steer is surprisingly minimal, despite big hits from the turbo, accompanied by some cool waste gate noise that put smiles on our faces. A strong clutch aids the launch, and you hit 60 in 7.1–seconds. Again, nothing for purveyors of exotic cars to lose sleep over, but in this little car it mean just plain fun, as you grin your way to the end of the ¼-mile in 15.3–seconds at 93 miles-per-hour. The shifter is fast and direct.
The ST…Sport Technologies…engineers added Torque Vectoring Control, but weren’t able to dial quite all of the understeer out. But just about, as it sticks really well and feels exceptionally neutral for a front-driver, with very little roll.
The interior is spiffed up with aluminum trim, enhanced gauge cluster, and well bolstered Recaro seats. Ford’s MyFord Touch screen is here as well, and most found words on the display too small for easy use, and ended up using voice command.
Rear seats are more spacious than many other pocket hot rods, and you can fold them down to expand the 10.1 cubic foot cargo bay to make the ST a purposeful hauler in more ways than one.
The last Sport Technologies effort we sampled was the Focus ST, and as much as we loved that, the Fiesta ST has the same amount of awesomeness in a smaller and lighter package. It’s just simple, pure, driving fun. Sure a Corvette can beat it in every performance category, but is it more enjoyable? Well that’s doubtful.
So yes, the Fiesta ST is a lovely piece of work and we liked just about everything about how it goes. But, many of our staff were less enamored with the exterior design.
The 5-door hatch-only ST is definitely tricked out, though; sharp and evil looking from most angles. But, with way too much grille up front; like a stupid grin showing way too many teeth. Poor rear visibility from the thick C-pillars didn’t help either. And some thought the brake calipers would benefit from some bright paint to sport-en the look up even more.
But cosmetics aside, this is the most pure joy we’ve ever extracted from a front-wheel-drive car. All while doing fine on gas. Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 26-City, 35-Highway, and 29–Combined. We fit right in a 29.1 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
And all for an amazingly low price starting at $22,225. High performance on a budget, that’s what a lot of us are looking for, and the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST delivers that best.
So much so we delivered it our Drivers’ Choice Award as Best Subcompact of the year. We love it!
Along with the Focus ST, Ford has got quite a great thing going and should really promote the ST lineup more, as they could be real halos for the brand. We think that most Americans are well beyond the rear-drive only bias when it comes to performance cars. And while putting more spunk into an existing model is not a new idea, this one is as well executed as they come.
- Horsepower: 197
- Torque: 202 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 15.3 seconds @ 93 mph
- EPA: 26 mpg city/ 35 mpg highway
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style
What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!
While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.
It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.
This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.
It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.
That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.
It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.
With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.
We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.
Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.
The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.
We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.
Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.
Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.
For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.
Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
- Engine: 5.5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 670
- 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
- EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
- Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
- Torque: 460 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph