Ford Fiesta ST: The Car Bible (U.S. Spec; 2014-2019)
The Fiesta ST is fun and inexpensive car with European sensibilities.
Welcome to the Ford Fiesta ST Car Bible. As you scroll down you’ll learn all about this vehicle’s qualities, features, finer points, and shortcomings. If you’re thinking about buying one of these, want some help maintaining or modifying one, or just want to deepen your knowledge for the next round of car trivia, you’ve come to the right place.
This is a living document that’s updated as we learn (and confirm) new valuable info. Got something to add? Drop a comment or send us an email! Don’t be shy; the more dialogue we have the better this Car Bible will get.
–Andrew P. Collins, Car Bibles Editor-In-Chief
(Disclaimers; Disclosures: Some Car Bibles will have links to specific forums, groups, brands, shops, or vendors for parts shopping and such. We have no sponsorship deals or official affiliation with any of them unless explicitly stated. We also have to explicitly state that you work on your own car and follow our advice at your own risk.)
There’s a lot of info packed into this Bible. If you’re looking for something specific, hit command/control-F, type one of these terms, and your browser should bring you straight in.
- The Short Story
- Fast Facts
- Spotter’s Guide
- Check This Car Out If…
- Important Trim Levels and Options
- Year-To-Year Changes
- General Reliability and Ownership Costs
- Obscure Details
- Red Flags and Known Issues
- Where To Buy Parts
- Aftermarket Support
- Popular Modifications
- Key Technical Details
- Fluids, Filters, and Capacities
- Factory Service Manuals
- Other References and Resources
- Professional Reviews
- Owner Reviews
- What They’re Worth Now
- Where To Find One For Sale
- What To Ask A Seller
- Competitors To Consider
- Photo Galleries
- Pop Culture References
- Enthusiast Inquiries
- Downloadable Paperback Car Bible
- Comments Disclaimer
The Short Story
In Europe, Ford’s long been known as a big player in the “hot hatch” segment. Over there the blue oval has established a precedent for taking the pedestrian Escort, Focus, and Fiesta compact cars and making them into fast, giant-slaughtering machines that were still practical enough to do weekly shopping, commuting, and dropping-kids-off-at-school duty. Unfortunately, aside from a few cars like the U.S. Escort GT (unrelated to the European Version) and the SVT Ford Focus of the 2000s, Americans missed out on a lot of fast Fords.
But about a decade ago, sales of subcompact cars were good enough to inspire Ford to market the Fiesta in the United States for the first time since the 1970s. After teasing it at the Detroit Auto Show in ’08 (as the Verve Concept) the then-new Fiesta started popping up on American roads again in 2011. That other U.S.-market Ford hatchback you might be thinking of, from the 1980s and ’90s, was the Festiva, which is also a surprisingly popular platform to modify but not quite the same thing.
The performance-trim Fiesta ST was added to the American Fiesta lineup for the 2014 model year, offering a lot of driving intensity for relatively little money until it was sunsetted in 2019. They’re still sweet little cars, you’ve just got to look a little harder than your neighborhood Ford store to get one secondhand now.
You’ll find links to a few big Fiesta ST photo galleries if you scroll down to our Photo Galleries section, but here are some goodies to whet your appetite.
The Fiesta ST is advertised as 197 horsepower in the U.S. but only 182 in the UK. This is because Fiesta STs have an overboost function; for 20 seconds with the throttle pinned to the floor, a Fiesta ST will produce an extra couple pounds of boost. After that 20 seconds (or until you let up on the throttle) the car goes back to the 182 HP. In England, Ford had to advertise the “pre-overboost” power figure.
Initially, Ford canceled the Fiesta ST in 2017, and 2018 was to be its last model year. But somebody changed their mind and the model was brought back ’til the U.S. Fiesta went away altogether in 2019.
All North American Fiesta STs have Ford’s (infamous?) SYNC infotainment system, coupled with the upgraded sound system found on upper-level non-ST Fiestas.
Fiesta ST transmissions use the same fluid that Ford uses in their dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
The Ford Fiesta ST looks a lot like the regular ol’ Ford Fiesta hatchback it’s based on. But STs have a mild drop in ride height and standard 17-inch wheels. They all come with a body kit, complete with sporty front and rear valances plus scooped side skirts. At the rear, you’ll find twin exhaust tips off to one side, and a large rear spoiler. Fiesta STs also have a red “ST” badge on the rear trunk lid and inset in the front grille, too.
Careful, though! In 2019, Ford created an “ST-Line” Fiesta, which has the same body kit and some other decorative parts from the Fiesta ST. These ST-Lines only have the regular Fiesta’s 120 HP naturally aspirated 1.6-liter four-cylinder, though. Generally, those cars will have the same ride height as the standard non-ST Fiesta, and will not have an “ST” badge in the front grille. ST-Line cars have a badge that says “ST-Line” on the front fenders, though. ST-Line cars only have the 16-inch wheels, also.
The real Fiesta ST was never offered with an automatic transmission, so if you see a car that looks like an ST, but has an automatic, it’s actually an ST-Line.
Numbers on the Fiesta ST are a little hard to parse out since it’s a trim level of the Fiesta and Ford hasn’t published exact sales figures. Guesstimates based on take rate (about 3,500-5,000 sold a year) put the Fiesta somewhere around 30,000 cars sold in all of North America, including Mexico and Canada.
Since it was only here for one generation, you don’t really need to do any math to understand that a Fiesta ST is far rarer than similar cars like the Honda Civic Si and VW Golf GTI which have been around for decades. In fact Fiestas in general are still kind of unusual in the U.S.; there just have not been very many ultra-small compact cars here.
Check This Car Out If…
You want a remarkably sharp-to-drive car in a tiny, easy to park package.
Important Trim Levels and Options
The Fiesta ST itself is a trim of the Ford Fiesta. Still, there were some addable options that might be worth seeking out.
The ST Recaro Package added Recaro-branded, heated sport seats with aggressive side-bolsters. It also added heated mirrors. All Fiesta STs have bright silver wheels, but the same design (with painted red calipers) in “RadoGray” were available as an option too.
These are the significant tweaks (to the U.S. model car) that the Fiesta went through during its run.
2014 Model Year:
- The Fiesta ST is introduced alongside a 2014 Ford Fiesta facelift
2015 Model Year:
2016 Model Year:
- Modified cylinder head (no change in output) to reduce potential for overheating
- Ford SYNC 3 added
- Axle shaft seals revised to stop leaks
- Stiffer Front sway bar and torsion beam, but softer dampers. (Ryan B.)
- Removal of interior mood lighting (Ryan B.)
2017 Model Year:
2018 Model Year:
- Reverse camera added
2019 Model Year:
- Final model year
General Reliability and Ownership Costs
The non-ST Ford Fiesta is notorious for uninspiring reliability, mostly related to its dual-clutch automatic transmission. The Fiesta ST is manual only, and thus any dual-clutch ‘box issues don’t apply here. For the level of performance the Fiesta ST offers, it’s a generally reliable and cheap-to-run car.
Hm, right now we’re a little dry on weird facts about the Fiesta ST. If you know of something that we should put here, sound off in the comments!
Red Flags and Known Issues
- Blend Door Actuators. The Fiesta ST has an electronic actuator that switches the HVAC from fresh air to recirculated air. Fiesta owners report that these tend to fail somewhat often, or stick in one direction, or are kind of noisy.
- Overheating (rare). 2014 and early 2015 models have a slightly different head and head gasket. A revision came sometime in 2015.
The Fiesta’s got a few recalls, which you can check out the specifics of on the NHTSA website.
Certain 2014-2015 Fiesta ST’s were recalled in 2017, for cooling circulation issues – Ford installed a coolant level sensor and upgraded hardware to deal with this problem.
Some 2014-2015 Fiesta STs were recalled in both 2017 and 2020 for faulty door latches.
Some 2019 Fiestas were recalled in 2019 for having the wrong brake fluid installed from the factory.
Where To Buy Parts
This car doesn’t require specialty parts, so any local online or offline parts store will do. Your local Ford dealer has OEM parts, namely transmission fluid.
Mountune USA does tuning for a lot of late-model turbo Fords. It’s got a lot of parts for the Focus ST, Focus RS, and the Fiesta ST.
Ford tuner Steeda has a few parts for the non-ST Fiesta, but some parts (wheels, other accessories) can be applied to the Fiesta ST.
There’s a lot of ways to go with the Fiesta ST to either create better handling, or more power.
Some opt for wider and stickier tires, to give the car even more grip in the curves. You can’t go wrong upgrading tires.
Some owners swap out the stock air filter to a high-flow one, or even opt for a cold air intake. Folks say these improve performance and sound.
Aftermarket blow-off valves add a fun whoosh when the turbo wastegate opens, even if they don’t really help or hurt performance.
The rear motor mount is often swapped out for something a bit firmer, which could theoretically improve responsiveness.
Finally, an ECU tune, namely one by either Stratified or COBB can improve responsiveness and add a healthy power bump to the Fiesta ST’s output.
Key Technical Details
Engine: 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This engine has direct injection and dual overhead cams. Ford claims 197 HP.
Transmission: All Fiesta STs use a six-speed manual transmission.
Drivetrain: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive.
Suspension: The car uses MacPherson struts in front, coupled with a 19mm sway bar. A semi-independent torsion beam and trailing arm setup hold up the rear.
Wheelbase: 98 in; 2489 mm
Overall length: 160.1 in; 4066 mm
Curb Weight: About 2,750 pounds.
Fluids, Filters, and Capacities
Fuel: The Fiesta ST can run on 87 minimum octane, but 91 is recommended for maximum output. Any ECU tuned Fiesta ST requires 91 octane minimum. (Thanks, Alfred H!)
Battery Size: 96R.
Engine Oil: 5w-20. Both Ford reccomends a semi-synthetic Motorcraft blend, but the Fiesta ST owners insist on using full synthetic.
Oil Filter: The Fiesta ST uses a standard spin-on filter. Motorcraft FL910S is the OEM part.
Air Filter: The Fiesta ST’s Air Filter part number is CN1Z-9601-A. Ford recommends it be changed every 30,000 miles. Some Fiesta ST owners have opted to switch to a higher-flow aftermarket filter, claiming gains in sound, fuel economy, and responsiveness.
Cabin Air Filter: Ford recommends changing the cabin air filter every 20,000 miles. The OEM part number is BE8Z19N619A.
Transmission Oil: The Fiesta ST’s OEM fluid recommendation is actually Motorcraft brand XT-11-QDC Dual Clutch Transmission Fluid. Ford recommends that the fluid get changed every 150,000 miles. Fiesta Owners insist that the fluid get changed every 50,000 miles, and some owners insist that traditional gear oil like Redline MT-90 or any 75w90 fluid is better than OEM. Use at your own risk.
Transmission Filter: No transmission filter is present on this vehicle.
Differential Oil: The diff is integrated into the transmission, so this also uses whatever is already in there.
Coolant: Ford Recommends using OEM Motorcraft brand Orange coolant. However, Orange Coolant is no longer produced, so Motorcraft Yellow coolant is a suitable replacment. Keep in mind that Motorcraft Yellow Coolant is not the same as Motorcraft Gold Coolant! Ford recommends a coolant flush be done at 100,000 miles.
Power Steering Fluid: The Ford Fiesta ST has electric power steering, so no fluid needed.
Brake Fluid: The OEM rating is DOT4 spec. Ford does not have a change interval, but it’s good to do an inspection and brake fluid flush once a year.
Clutch Fluid: OEM clutch fluid is the same as the vehicle’s brake fluid or DOT4. There is no recommended service interval for its replacement by Ford. Some Fiesta ST owners opt to flush the brake and clutch fluid at the same time – about once a year.
Spark Plugs: Ford recommends the sparkplugs be replaced every 100,000 miles. They should be gapped at 0.026“. The Ford Motorcraft part number is SP532, but there are many aftermarket replacements with similar or superior quality.
Factory Service Manuals
Hmm, right now this seems a bit hard to come by. If you know where to find a copy of the FSM please say so in the comments! We’ll update this section if we can find one, too.
Other References and Resources
There’s really not a lot of readily available “official” or “definitive” resources dedicated to the Fiesta ST. Ford Performance posted a cursory obituary for the car up on its site if you want to look at that. Oh, wait, check out one of the best pieces of digital memorabilia left on Ford’s official media site – this pic of three hot hatches lined up in blue.
If you want to chat with owners and do some more research, the Fiesta ST Forum is still active.
“2017 Ford Fiesta ST Instrumented Test: Here’s hoping the party continues.” (Car and Driver – August 1, 2017)
Alexander Stoloska lamented the then-imminent death of the whole Ford Fiesta line. The Fiesta was part of C&D’s 10 best cars in 2014, beating out the larger and faster Focus ST.
“…What makes the Fiesta ST so great? The way the engine, chassis, and lightweight body combine to form a wonderfully balanced performance envelope. There is just enough handling for the power at hand . . . or just enough power for the handling, depending on your point of view.”
“Review: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST: Falling in love with America’s cheapest sports car.” (Road & Track – November 26, 2013)
When the Fiesta ST first dropped, journalists praised the Fiesta ST for being such a big ball of fun to drive. Zach Bowman definitely agreed.
“ As hilarious as that is, the Fiesta ST’s real speed comes from its ability to bend the road to its will. Grip is abundant, and you can come in hot, stab the throttle, and marvel as the hatchback manipulates physics to accommodate your ham-fisted idiocy.”
“Here’s Why the Ford Fiesta ST Is a $15,000 Used Car Bargain.” (Doug DeMuro – June 26, 2018)
Doug liked it! Click the link if you want to hear 22 minutes of his thoughts on the car’s various quirks and features.
“L.” (Mar 1, 2021)
“I’ve owned my Fiesta ST for a short period of time, but I’ve loved it from the start. I was looking for something that was good enough in stock form so I wouldn’t have the temptation to modify it. Just throw a good set of pads and tires on and you are good to go! The steering is direct and you can really get a sense of what the front wheels are doing. The chassis is rigid and the rear of the car loves to rotate.”
Nathan C. (Mar 18, 2021)
“The car is really the gift that keeps on giving. It’s engaging to drive. Has plenty of features to keep me satisfied even with the cloth interior I got. It’s literally more fun to drive than my R35 GTR because I can safely and consistently beat the brakes off of it without worry.”
Own or owned one of these and want to share your thoughts? Hit up in the comments or email firstname.lastname@example.org!
What They’re Worth Now
Fiesta ST’s are quite the bargain now. Older examples with near or slightly over 100,000 miles can be seen for less than $10,000 these days. A 2019 gently used example tends to trend around $18,000-$19,000. Most cars tend to be in the $13,000-$16,000 range.
Where To Find One For Sale
Any auto sales website like AutoTrader or Cars.com likely have a few examples for sale. The Fiesta ST isn’t that rare, and it’s still fairly new. Still, the cheaper stuff might be lurking on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.
What To Ask A Seller
The Fiesta ST seems to be a generally reliable sporty car with minimal issues. Some good questions to ask:
“Has this car been recalled for any sort of cooling issues?”
“Does this car have any excess oil consumption?”
“Has this car ever overheated?”
Competitors To Consider
Most directly opposed to the Ford Fiesta ST is the Fiat 500 Abarth. True, the Abarth is down a gear and 30 HP, but it’s also about 250 pounds lighter. In many performance metrics, the 500 Abarth matches the Fiesta ST.
The Mini Cooper S is more expensive to buy and run, but nicer inside than the Fiesta ST. It’s also quicker, and has more factory personalization options, like a big Union Jack flag that can be installed on the roof.
The Hyundai Veloster Turbo is a more comfortable car on-road than the Fiesta, but its performance numbers might be a half-step behind the Fiesta ST.
Cars like the Honda Civic Si and VW GTI are a little bigger and more expensive, but might still be worth looking at if you’re just combing used car ads for front-drive funmobiles. If you’re really into the idea of a super-small tossaround car and are OK with a very modest horsepower claim, you could also check out the Mazda2.
Favcars.com has a few galleries for the EU-spec 3-door Fiesta ST.
Netcarshow has a great gallery of the U.S. and Euro-spec cars.
Ford’s Media Center has a space for the Fiesta and Fiesta ST.
You might also want to check out #fiestast on Instagram, it looks like there are some decent shots people have shared on there too!
Pop Culture References
Jeremy Clarkson’s daughter, Emily Clarkson, drives one. It might be the Europe-only 2020+ version, but still. We haven’t found any Hollywood references for this car yet but if you know one, please drop it in the comments.
Every car has a collection of common questions that pop up in forums and Facebook groups whenever new blood joins in. We hope a lot of those have been answered above, but here are some Ford Fiesta ST FAQs we wanted to dig into.
Ford doesn’t sell cars in the US anymore. Should I be worried that I can’t find parts for this car? The Fiesta’s body is pretty much the same as any regular non ST Fiesta. The 1.6 liter turbo engine was also used in a few other Ford cars and SUVs, albeit with a different tune. You’ll be fine.
Uh, what about that overboost function? Does my car not make 197 horsepower? Yes, it does. The overboost timer resets after you let off the gas. How often have you truly got your foot to the floor for more than twenty seconds?
Downloadable Paperback Car Bible
If you’re old school and like to keep reference notes on paper, or you’re just a completionist and want a free accessory for your Fiesta ST, you can download and print out a paperback Car Bible right here.
Think of it like an owner’s manual supplement. Keep it in your car and your days of waiting for slow internet on your phone at the auto parts store are over!
You’ve reached the end of the Ford Fiesta ST and are about to scroll into the comment section. If any questions were left unanswered in the text above, try posing it in the space below! Unsolicited Fiesta ST tips are also welcome.