AutoGuide News Blog
The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Yesterday we took eight fun-to-drive performance vehicles under $30,000 and put them through their paces on the street.
After much deliberation, we chose the 2014 Ford Fiesta ST as the king of the street. Despite a somewhat harsh ride, nothing else matches the raw, hilariously fun driving experience behind the wheel.
Day One: Street Test
Sporty cars are not dead. Rumors of their demise are premature. Thrill-packed machinery litters the automotive landscape, available to suit nearly every budget.
When it comes to motoring fun, one of the most intriguing segments is the under $30,000 price bracket, where several enticing choices can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes.
With eight sporty cars in the AutoGuide.com garage, we are understandably excited about this week. Did we also mention that we’re spending it at our home test track?
Ford is showing off a host of modified models at this year’s annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas, Nevada. The massive event kicks off in just a few short weeks and the Blue Oval’s offerings run the gamut from Mustang muscle to pint-sized to performance.
When you think of a hatchback with 252 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque, good gas milage is probably far from being in the list of top priorities, but would you complain if it came with the package anyway?
Ask a drifting fan what the coolest viral video out today is and they will probably tell you Gymkhana Five which was released on July 9 and gathered more than 9 million views in two days.
According to a leaked spec sheet, Ford‘s upcoming Focus ST global hot hatch will start at $23,700 ($24,495 with the $795 destination charge).
Since its inception, Ford’s former Global Performance Vehicles chief Jost Capito intended for the Ford Focus ST to be at the top of its class, ”We want to have the best hot hatch in the sector. We want to be better than a VW Golf GTI, better than a Renaultsport Megane 250 – and we believe we have achieved that with a car that can be used day-to-day but is also extremely entertaining for enthusiastic drivers.”
Packed with the robust EcoBoost 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the Focus ST produces 247-hp and 265 lb-ft of torque. Offered with a 6-speed manual transmission, the driving enthusiast’s gearbox of choice, the Focus ST lays down a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds.
Although the latest hot hatch is certainly a lot of car for an affordable price, tacking on additional trim packages and equipment groups can quickly drive the price closer to $30k. Order codes ‘Equipment Group 201A and 202A charge for $2,505 and $4,840, respectively. A moonroof will cost $895, navigation is an additional $795, the special Tangerine Scream Tricoat Paint finish will cost another $495, and finally, an engine block heater will set you back another $35.
Depending on trim levels and combinations, a fully equipped Focus ST should fall close to $29,000, drawing it near basic Ford V6 Mustang territory. Despite the risk of overlap, these two sport oriented cars are distinct enough as to not risk the cannibalization of sales.
With the Focus ST set to arrive in dealers later this year, it’s only a matter of time before Ford releases a Fiesta ST hot hatch for the US as well.
GALLERY: 2013 Ford Focus ST
Ford presented a concept model showing what a future Fiesta ST might look like when it joins the Focus ST in the company’s high-performance small car offerings.
The Ford Fiesta ST hot hatch has a silhouette inspired by Ford’s rally racing Fiesta RS WRC. The lowered stance with 17-inch alloy wheels and full ST body kit are all based on the Ford Fiesta WRC race car while the trapezoidal front grille with honeycomb mesh design is similar to that found on the Focus ST.
Like the rally car, the Fiesta ST Concept is powered by Ford’s 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine. Combining turbocharging and direct injection, the 1.6 l engine also features Twin-independent Variable Camshaft Timing to improve power and torque, just as in the upcoming Ford Focus ST. Ford claims an output of 180 hp and 177 ft-lb. of torque and a 0-100 kph (0-62) time of under 7 seconds.
GALLERY: Ford Fiesta ST Concept
Ford will show a concept version of their l0ng-awaited Fiesta ST hot hatch at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. An ST version of the Focus hatchback has long been confirmed, and many correctly suspected that a hotter version of the smaller Fiesta would follow.
With the Focus making 250 horsepower from a 2.0L Ecoboost 4-cylinder engine, the next logical step down is Ford’s 1.6L Ecoboost, with an output of around 180 horsepower. Stay tuned to AutoGuide for more info as coverage begins on Tuesday, September 13th.