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eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
2/14/14 2:09 p.m.

Been thinking about the Fiesta ST as a future (year or more down the road) purchase.

Just checked, and in my area, truecar is saying a base model should be able to be had in my area for $20,915. Out of curiousity, I checked a few other cars. Fiat Abarth was $20,876 and a Base Focus ST was $21680.

Must be some incentives on the Focus, to keep it less than $800 more than the Fiesta, or its just not selling well. Is the extra 50 HP, more room, and slightly lower fun (according to reviews I've read) worth the small price increase?

xflowgolf
xflowgolf Dork
2/14/14 2:12 p.m.

I've found in my limited test sitting that the interior design of the Focus lends it to not feel any bigger than the Fiesta from the drivers seat.

At that price difference, it's negligible, I'd just go with whatever car you like better. For me, the technically slower, but lighter weight Fiesta is more appealing.

In either case I'd option up to get Recaros. :) ...unless you're a bigger guy. They're very snug.

yamaha
yamaha UltimaDork
2/14/14 2:20 p.m.

What xflow said, I like them both, just the fiesta a bit more.

ScreaminE
ScreaminE Reader
2/14/14 2:20 p.m.

Heard this from more than one person. There was a guy on the galant forum that bought his high option leftover Focus ST for less than a Fiesta ST.

ScreaminE
ScreaminE Reader
2/14/14 2:20 p.m.

+Juan Pablo Montoya on the Recaros.

nderwater
nderwater UberDork
2/14/14 2:23 p.m.

I was able to autocross them both back to back — I thought the Fiesta ST was pleasantly racy and entertaining for an econobox, but the Focus ST had noticeably better power delivery and plenty more handling refinement. I've not driven either one on the street to see how that translates to normal driving.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
2/14/14 2:28 p.m.

On either car, I'd probably go for the Recaros, and opt to not get the moonroof. Which probably means I'd be scouring lots near and far, or doing a custom order, which means I probably wouldn't get as good of a deal.

Of course, if the fanboys all still hate the 2015 WRX in a year, maybe its transaction price will be similar...

Its all moot for now, but I figure I might as well do a little preliminary "research" at the car show next weekend

I think I'd lean towards the Fiesta myself, since I don't think I'd need the extra space. It would be unlikely for me to autocross it, but it might get rallycrossed after the warranty is up.

Jarod
Jarod Reader
2/14/14 8:55 p.m.

I was really bummed out when they released the pricing of the Fiesta. They need to separate the two a bit more in my eyes.

N Sperlo
N Sperlo MegaDork
2/14/14 9:14 p.m.
Jarod wrote: I was really bummed out when they released the pricing of the Fiesta. They need to separate the two a bit more in my eyes.

Not that I'm willing to spend more than 1k on a car right now, but I fully agree!

beans
beans Dork
2/15/14 12:48 p.m.

Power can be added, interior nice-ness and features not so much. After sitting in both at the Detroit auto show, I'd much rather spend my time in the focus.

Still hate how busy the interiors are in new cars. I like simple and high quality.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
2/15/14 1:09 p.m.
beans wrote: Power can be added, interior nice-ness and features not so much. After sitting in both at the Detroit auto show, I'd much rather spend my time in the focus. Still hate how busy the interiors are in new cars. I like simple and high quality.

Took me a while to figure this out, but I personally fit better in the Fiesta. Barely, but it's better. I grew used to the more tight fit of my Miata, and both cars try to be very spacious. But the Fiesta being slightly smaller fits just a bit better.

Ironically, stepping up to the Fusion, it fits even better... odd how that works.

yamaha
yamaha UltimaDork
2/15/14 9:15 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver:

And the new fusion is massive inside compared to the old fusion/focus/fiesta.....I like the parent's new titanium a lot.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
2/16/14 9:16 a.m.

In reply to yamaha:

Size, yes. But the immediate surroundings are closer. Especially the center console where I can rest my arm and still steer.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
2/23/14 9:30 a.m.

I sat in both cars at the auto show this weekend. Overall, I think I preferred the Focus, but I'm not sold on the Recaros. The headrests on both cars were pretty far forward. I think it'd be fine for shorter trips, but would get annoying on longer ones. There did not seem to be any way of adjusting them fore and aft. I'd like to try out the base sport seats, but no dealers in the area presently have a Fiesta ST or Focus ST with the base sport seats.

Another note regarding the Focus (and a Mustang at the Ford booth). Pretty much everyone else at the show has cars set up in some sort of "demo" mode where the power seats work, so you can adjust them and see if they fit to your liking. Why can't Ford do this? The power seats were set pretty much as far back as they can go, so it was impossible to figure out if I could get a combination of the right distance to the pedals and the steering wheel at the same time.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
2/26/14 12:41 p.m.

Anyone here work at a Ford dealer and bored right now? I won't get a chance to do this til this weekend at best, but I'm curious if the headrests for a regular Focus and Focus ST recaro can be swapped back and forth, and if so, if they make a difference in how far forward your head gets pushed.

Unless this can be done, I think both of these cars are off my list, because I'd really like to have heated seats, but I just know the Recaros are not going to be comfy on longer trips if my neck is forced to bend forward for a long time.

If it works, I could see getting an optioned-up ST, then just ordering a couple headrests from the parts department.

docwyte
docwyte HalfDork
2/26/14 3:09 p.m.

I suspect the headrests of the Recaros have plastic spacers in them. You can pop those out and then the head rests can move all the way back. It's a safety regulation that forces them that far forward. I know the recaros in my '06 Audi had the same thing, I removed them and all was well.

Shaun
Shaun HalfDork
2/26/14 3:17 p.m.

I was looking into the Recaro Headrest issue last night and found lots of unhappy Fiesta and Focus owners who have the maunual version of the seats. The threads are at a British forum- ST something... It is a safety compliance thing run amok (or poorly solved): Having your head smushed down into your chest stops whiplash but creates a host of other less important problems to anyone other than the person trying to sit in the car. Anyhoo, Yes, the base seat headrest fits but it is 300 bucks. Some people say you can simply reverse the Recaro headrest, and one guy removed the headrest and bent the tubes right at the cushion and reinserted them to happy results. I do not endorse this method. Bummer. The base seats are better in this regard apparently. I know my wife at 5'3" and me at 6'4" found the Recaro headrest made the seats unusable in the stock form.

I too found the Fiesta a better fit than the Focus.

the site is fordstnation

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
2/26/14 4:04 p.m.

In reply to Shaun:

Hmm, I might consider the $300 money well spent if that ends up being my only complaint with either of the cars.

This seems to be a case of Ford being lazy. It's also the reason my wife has a 2008 Mazda6 as her daily driver instead of a Fusion. At the time, pretty much every newer Ford design had the headrests jammed forward to meet new whiplash requirements. My wife sits up straight, so her upper back didn't touch the car's seat.

Seems like they are getting better about it, which makes the Recaro thing all that more annoying. On Sunday, I ran up to a dealer and sat in a normal Focus and Fiesta, and the headrests were way better. But I really want the side bolsters, and I think heated seats is going to be a requirement for me, too.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
3/2/14 4:21 p.m.

Drove both of them on Saturday. Either I found a better way to adjust them, or the headrest don't bother me as much in motion as they do sitting still. I think it'll be a non-issue. FWIW, I measured the non-Recaro headrests of a Fiesta. They also should just drop right in.

nderwater
nderwater UberDork
3/4/14 12:37 p.m.

After driving them both, what were your impressions and which did you prefer?

Jarod
Jarod Reader
3/4/14 12:41 p.m.
eastsidemav wrote: Drove both of them on Saturday. Either I found a better way to adjust them, or the headrest don't bother me as much in motion as they do sitting still. I think it'll be a non-issue. FWIW, I measured the non-Recaro headrests of a Fiesta. They also should just drop right in.

You can't drive both of those cars then only comment about the headrest. This is not consumer reports.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
3/4/14 1:26 p.m.

Okay, okay, I'll give you my impressions of the cars.

Please keep in mind that my test drives were meant to be a study of how daily-driveable the cars were, not a performance test. IMHO, flogging new cars that you have no intention of buying is tacky. I trust the magazine reviews to give me an idea of how fast the dang things are.

That said, here we go. Please note, earlier in the day, I had driven a GTI, an Abarth, and a FR-S. I had to drive a ways to find a Fiesta ST in stock. The salesguy got my DL info, and pretty much tossed me the keys. The Fiesta is pretty tiny inside compared to my current daily driver, but the important controls were laid out well enough, that after a little fiddling with the seat, mirrors, and telescoping steering wheel, I managed to get in a comfortable position. Pulled out of the dealer's lot onto a wide four lane road, and the car had sufficient torque that you can easily upshift around 2000-2500 RPMs if you are loafing around. It rides pretty nice on smooth concrete, but then I turned onto a windy two lane. At that point, the voice in the back of my head started screaming "Buy this car!!!!" The ride was a little rough, but nothing abusive, and to use a trite statement, it handled like it was on rails. It didn't seem to ride any rougher than my old NC Miata. I managed to sit in the back seat, and still fit in it, I think it'd be okay for four people, as long as it is a short trip.

The closest car I've driven to this is a friend's Mazda2 Touring (which is a platform-mate), and it felt like someone had taken that car, sharpened up the handling, put in a great interior, then stuffed an engine that had actual power into it. As I told my wife, the Abarth was the kind of car that says "Let's go play in the street.", the Fiesta ST is the kind of car that says "Let's go knock over a liquor store." And this is even when I'm trying to drive in a responsible fashion.

The Focus ST was at a dealer close to home. I went out with a salesman in tow, and he actually directed me to a route that included windy two lane backroads, a four lane state highway, and an interstate. You can tell the Focus has more power on tap than the Fiesta, even at very low RPMs, and the ride was firm, but seemed better than the Fiesta's. I believe that had more to do with the extra weight and wheelbase, though, as it still handled great, with no signs of it getting out of shape at extralegal speeds on the two lane road. The car was perfectly competent, and still had a bit of the "hooligan" feel of the Fiesta, but definitely more grown up. Still not as mature as the GTI, though. It had noticeably more rear seat legroom and cargo space than its little brother.

I had one ergonomic issue with it, other drivers might not notice it, and I could probably get used to it. I sat far enough into the Recaro seat, that my arm kind of rubbed the side of the armrest when I reached for the shifter in a "natural" way. If I lifted my arm a bit, it went over the armrest and my hand hit the shifter just right.

In summary, if you are looking for a fun "family" car, or want the absolute best acceleration, the Focus is probably the one you want. If you don't need the space, don't mind the fact that it is a smidge slower, and aren't planning on going on long trips with passengers, the Fiesta is the winner

DanyloS
DanyloS New Reader
3/4/14 3:02 p.m.

In reply to eastsidemav: Thanks for the write up and opinions on the Ford STs and the Abarth! Saw a different posting with your view of the GTI (you liked it greatly but weary of VW quality issues).

Out of curiosity (and if you don't mind typing a bit more) how was the FR-S?

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
3/4/14 6:59 p.m.

In reply to DanyloS:

No problem. I must include the caveat that the FR-S was driven for the shortest amount of time and distance, so my opinion could change somewhat on a second drive.

Getting in the FR-S was a tad more difficult than the other cars, but not terrible. It didn't take much to get comfortable in it. Unlike most of the other cars, the interior was less cluttered, and gave a bit more of a feel that this is a drivers car. It had more space than the Miata did, and visibility was decent for a sports car.

The first sign of trouble with it came with backing it out of its parking spot. The clutch was very unimpressive compared to the other cars. The Scion was parked on a slight hill, and once I was ready to put it in first and pull forward, it almost rolled back into a row of Priuses (Prii?) before the clutch engaged. I'm pretty sure the clutch was able to move through 1/2-2/3 of its travel before it started to engage.

Once out on the street, the other issue became a bit more obvious. The utter lack of low end torque combined with the clutch action made it a little annoying to start from a stop in traffic. Once the car was going, it drove alright, was reasonably comfortable, and not too rough riding. No real complaints about its on-road manners, but nothing stood out, either, except perhaps the nice shifter. Not as precise as the one in the Miata, but it was also lower effort.

I did like it, but in the short time I drove it, it didn't really "speak" to me. I think there are two reasons. One, it didn't feel as good as the Miata, and I was hoping for it to pretty much be a coupe version of it. Two, my first three cars were American V8 RWD vehicles. While they weren't fast, the low end torque gave them an "effortless" sense of acceleration. The FR-S did not have that feel, acceleration felt more like a generic econobox. Obviously, if you wring it out a bit, that's different, as various reviews have shown.

Its unfortunate, because I really wanted to like it more than I did. Originally, I wasn't a fan of its looks, but it has grown on me, to the point where I think certain colors(Firestorm and Whiteout on the FR-S, WR Blue Pearl, Lightning Red and Satin White Pearl on the BR-Z) make it look absolutely beautiful. I may still choose a FR-S or BR-Z, but if so, I will be counting the days until its out of warranty, to install an aftermarket turbo or supercharger. It doesn't really need more power, but it could use more low-end torque.

Other things about it that bug me, too, are the talk of the work that went into making such a lightweight car, and how it has to cost what it does. I understand that a RWD drivetrain is going to add weight compared to FWD in most cases, but the Fiesta was marginally lighter, had a more useable powerband, had more interior space, was more full-featured, and cost less. While the FR-S looks better, that's a lot to overcome.

DanyloS
DanyloS New Reader
3/4/14 9:12 p.m.

Thank you for the additional write up!!

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