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December 9, 2013

Cargazing: Ford Fiesta ST is fast, fun, affordable

(Continued)

Other parts of this car are spot-on perfect, though, including the exhaust note.

Ford fitted the Fiesta ST with something called a “sound symposer” that pumps engine noise into the cabin at some times, like under full throttle, but keeps the engine quiet at other times.

The end result is a car that sounds wild and raw when you’re driving it hard but gets church-chapel quiet when you calm down. That can be a problem for other cars in this class, such as the Fiat 500 Abarth I drove a few months ago. The ST seems like a more refined car because it doesn’t suffer from the coffee-can-exhaust drone of the Abarth at highway speeds.

To be clear, the Fiesta ST isn’t designed to be a comfortable commuter car. It’s got an extremely firm suspension and can be fitted with Recaro race-inspired seats that pin you into place in corners, obviously intended more for high-speed thrills than long road trips.

It’s a great choice for driving enthusiasts who want to have a lot of fun without spending a fortune.

Derek Price is an independent automotive columnist. Reach him at carcolumn@gmail.com.

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