A new level of budget car
by Mike Schlee
The term hot hatch is painfully over used. Any time a small five-door gets larger wheels, a mild bump in horsepower, or a slapped on body kit, people begin referring to it as a hot hatch. So what exactly is a hot hatch? Wikipedia claims a hot hatch ‘is a high-performance derivative of a car body style consisting of a three- or five-door hatchback automobile.’ That definition is broader than describing Ayrton Senna as a ‘driver’.
That said, I’ll take a stab at my own definition. To me, a hot hatch is an otherwise pedestrian three or five door vehicle with enough performance to match that of a sports car within the same price range. Some hot hatches that come to mind are the Ford
Focus ST, Subaru WRX STi and Mazdaspeed3. And now, there is one more, the Ford Fiesta ST.
THE BABY ST FINALLY IMMIGRATES
After years roaming European streets with a swarm of other high performance subcompact competitors, Ford is finally bringing the Fiesta ST to North America. As if the compact Focus ST wasn’t enough, the blue oval wants everyone to know that the manufacturer is serious about hot hatches; and we are all better for it.
The ST Fiesta features Ford’s 1.6-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, jacked up with overboost to achieve an impressive 197 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque. That is a serious amount of power for a vehicle only weighing 2,742 lbs.
In fact, that’s more power than a MINI Cooper S and more torque than a Scion FR-S. The only vehicle in the Fiesta’s price and weight range that can beat it on power is the Hyundai Veloster Turbo. However, the supposed power deficit exists on paper only as the ST feels far more powerful throughout the rpm range than the little Hyundai. There is no lag in the Fiesta as the power builds up; an issue that plagues the Veloster Turbo. And it is not just compared to the Veloster that this motor feels punchy; it pulls just as hard as the far more powerful, albeit heavier Focus ST.