First Drive: 2015 Ford Fiesta ST

What I love and hate about the 2015 Ford Fiesta ST are one in the same: It's small.

The car’s diminutive stature makes it second to none when it comes to fun-factor, combining with a turbocharged 1.6-litre powerplant to make even the shortest of jaunts an absolute blast.

It’s tiny proportions aren’t even a problem for passengers, because let’s face it—most city cars spend most of their driving lives with no more than a single occupant inside.

No, it’s a lack of cargo room that brings out what little disdain I have for this tiny titan.

Of course, if you’re not buying the Fiesta ST with practicality in mind, then you don’t care.

But I would venture a guess that there aren’t many being sold as weekend-only cars.

Instead, the bulk of sales are likely going to those that want a dual purpose hot hatch that keeps driving pleasure this side of Johnny Law.

Back in 2014 Brad Diamond called driving the Fiesta ST the most fun he had in a car all year, and I couldn’t agree more.

Pound-for-pound—all 2,740 of them—there is nothing on the market today that offers more pure driving excitement for the dollar than the Fiesta ST.

At 2,740 lbs., it’s only about 400 lbs. heavier than the tiny, topless 2016 Mazda MX-5.

That leaves very little for the 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder under the hood to motivate, but motivate it does, putting out 197 horsepower—albeit at 6,000 rpm—and 202 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm for a peppy drive that is quick-if-not-fast.

The hatchback’s relative lightness is met with a whole lot of tightness, with a stiff chassis that offers plenty of responsiveness while you throw the car into corners.

I hate to overuse the comparison, but the Fiesta ST is the closest you’ll get to a road-going go-kart with five doors—sorry, Mini—this side of the Atlantic.

And while you throw the car into corners, rest assured the Recaro seats will keep you planted thanks to their wide bolsters that provide a bear-like embrace.

Speaking of embrace, one thing any driver will undoubtedly welcome with open arms is the impressive fuel economy the Fiesta ST displays, even when you put your foot into it.

Numbers provided by Ford claim the sporty little hatch burns a combined 8.1 L/100 km, which is only half a litre more than the non-turbocharged 1.6-litre in the run-of-the-mill Fiesta.

There is no reason to doubt these numbers as at least pretty close to accurate in real-world driving conditions, with a quarter tank of recommended 87 octane—that’s right, the Fiesta ST runs on regular—costing $10.28 after some spirited driving.

The rest of the interior is typical Ford, with instrumentation and controls that are well laid out and easy to read and use, though the infotainment screen that sits atop the centre stack is on the small side.

While it is touch sensitive, ‘tiny’ doesn’t even begin to describe its dimensions.

Rear legroom is virtually nonexistent, at least with the driver’s seat in a comfortable position for my 6-foot-3 frame, leaving backseat passengers out of your roadtrip equation.

But back to that obstacle known as cargo room.

I know, it’s a small car, but with only 285 litres of trunk space, keeping anything more than a few grocery bags behind the hatch proves challenging.

By comparison, the Nissan Micra and Chevrolet Spark, both smaller cars all around, offer more space behind the rear seats at 407 litres and 322 litres, respectively.

They may not offer as much fun out of the box, but may be the better choice should function outweigh fun on your shopping list.

The Fiesta ST’s size is both a deal-maker and a deal-breaker.

But if you don’t mind using the back seat to haul your stuff around for the sake of fun-for-the-dollar, take one for a spin.

To paraphrase Brad, it will be the most fun you’ve had all year.

Base price: $24,599

As tested: $28,459 (freight included)

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