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by Jay Traugott
Ford's US-spec pocket rocket heading for LA with more power than a Mini Cooper S.
Let's be honest here: Americans will never be fans of hatchbacks the way Europeans are. That's okay, because there are many other great cars to choose from in the US market, but when it comes to hot hatches, American buyers are just beginning to get a taste of what they've been missing out on for far too long. Ford has just released official photos and details of its US-spec Fiesta ST just ahead of its official debut at the LA Auto Show. But don't think of this five-door hatchback as nothing more than slightly modified version of the standard Fiesta.
The Fiesta ST packs a 1.6-liter EcoBoost turbo four with an output of 197 horsepower and 214 lb-ft of torque. For comparison's sake, Ford points out that a Mini Cooper S has 181 hp and 177 lb-ft. Chevrolet Sonic RS? It doesn't even come close to threatening the Fiesta ST with its paltry 138 ponies and 148 lb-ft. How do you like them apples? This small but powerful engine is mated to a six-speed manual transmission that helps the car deliver up to 34 mpg. In order to handle the heavy doses of power in a fairly small car, Ford fitted the Fiesta ST with 17-inch wheels and calibrated the steering to be more direct and responsive than the base model.
There's also a unique suspension system that helps deliver a quicker steering ratio and an electronic Torque Vectoring Control system that reduces understeer on hard turns. Drivers can also select three modes of stability control for various driving conditions. Exterior styling changes include a unique grille, chin spoiler with rear diffuser and lowered suspension. Jointly developed by Ford's Team RS in Europe and SVT in the US, the 2014 Fiesta ST will be offered exclusively in five-door form when US sales set to begin next year.