My 2015 Ford Fiesta ST 30000 mile ownership review

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Aug 10, 2017
Hey Guys,

Long time lurker first time poster having just made my account yesterday. Since I’ve been reading your threads and learning tons for years now I figured it was time to contribute with my ownership review of my 2015 Ford Fiesta ST with the 1.6 Ecoboost.


History: I bought this car as a cheap and fun commuter in January of 2016 with a 3 year lease and 76 miles on the clock from my local dealer. The car is fully loaded with the Recaro Seats, Sync 2 & Navigation, Sunroof and the grey wheels. The car stickered for around $26,000 (can’t remember the exact number) and my payment is right around $350.00 a month. The vehicle was purchased from Vista Ford in Woodland Hills, CA and was my first purchase from them which overall has been a positive experience however I won’t be buying another Ford product in the near future. At the time of this post the vehicle has just over 31,000 hard miles.

Purpose: My commute is about 30 miles round trip through windy roads. I wanted an inexpensive 5 door which ruled out a lot of options for me. I test drove the Focus and it was fine but the Fiesta was a better platform especially after adding some power adders. This vehicle gets driven hard and sees redline on a regular basis.

• Engine: Throughout the Ownership 0 Issues with the engine or powertrain.
• Size: Super small, tons of fun. Comes in nice appealing colors and the body kit and aero just work in distinguishing it from a regular fiesta.
• Suspension: Torsion bar rear suspension is pretty surprising and has good lift off throttle oversteer that I have never experienced in a FWD car. Ride is so-so though.
• Features: For 26K this car has Nav, Sunroof, Recaros, Sync, Heated Seats, Keyless Go, Climate control, most of which is factory. Hard to go wrong especially at this price point. I compared it to a Mini and it would be 35K for the base “S” engine (Not JCW).
• 2-3 Gear: As long as you have the grip, you mash that go pedal in 2nd or 3rd and this thing takes off. We’re talking about (tight road) keeping up with performance cars double the price.
• Roomy: Subcompact with bulky seats, surprising amount of room. 4 adults just road to Vegas with gear cramped but not unbearable.
• Not a WRX/ Genesis/ BRZ/ Civic SI.

• Tires: I get about 6,000 miles out of a front set if not rotated although Tires are very inexpensive. Probably has something to do with the mods though.
• Issues/ Warranty Work: See Below
• Recaros: Seating position with the headrests is almost unbearable. I’m 6’3 and leg length is good but the headrest angles my head forward that Im convinced its ruining my back.
• Sync 2: I refuse to ever own a car with this again. Slow, Unintuitive and felt out of date in 2015. It used to read me my text messages over audio but mysteriously has stopped.
• Wheels: I ordered the grey wheels and after 3 years they look rough. They have begun to chip and ding from normal use. Can’t wait to hear what Ford has to say upon its return.

Vehicle: So again, Fully loaded 2015 Fiesta St with 31,000 Miles.
I have a Full cat back exhaust from MAP Performance, Intercooler from Dead Hook Racing, MBRP Charge Side Boost Tube, Cobb Accessport V3 with Stage 3 Loaded and a Cobb Intake. No other modifications other than a Valentine 1 and some LED’s.

Warranty Work and other Issues:
So I have had several issues which I’d like to document below which have been the main hindrance to my ownership and the lower miles.
1. Tire Pressure Monitoring System: At around 5,000 miles or so the TPMS started flashing a message on the screen stating there was a complete system failure. Since this isn’t a system I rely on I didn’t get it fixed for about 10,000 miles or so and 1.5 sets of tires later. Ford said one of the sensors died (at 5k miles) so they replaced it and all is back to normal. Now at about 28,000 miles I am seeing that I have low tire pressure again so it very well could be broken again.
2. Blend Door Actuator: Big issue with Fiesta St’s. Basically the actuator which controls where the airflow goes in the HVAC system jams and breaks locking the flow in one set position. The worst part is that if you try and change it you get this loud Clicking/ banging from behind the dash continuously until the original setting was returned. This happened around 20,000 miles and I left it alone for about 2 months. Every time the car was shut off, it would begin the clicking for a minute or so apparently trying to close some vent. This was repaired under warranty.
3. Passenger side Window Switch: Randomly stopped working, Switch was broken. Fixed under warranty at same time around 20,000 miles.
4. Sync Freak Out: So sync began randomly re starting and would re set settings for no apparent reason. Asked the dealer to look into it with no remedy. It still randomly turns off sometime but seems to be ok.
5. Sunroof Leak: Still have this issue, have not taken it in to ford but any kind of moisture on the roof leaks into the cabin. I only found out about this after one particularly large rainstorm in So Cal and noticed all the windows were fogged from the inside. Found out the spare tire well was full of 3” of water.
6. Keyless Fob Battery: Just started displaying the message the battery is low on the remote fob so time to replace that after 3 years. Need to do this.

Random Ramblings:

Front bakes went at 23,000 miles. Rear brakes are almost due.
Always used Mobil 1 5w-20, never seen oil temps above 250F on the accessport and looking through the fill cap it appears like new under the valve covers. Run whatever filter I can find.
Ive had some pretty high coolant temps but never overheated. Ive read that other fiestas have overheating issues with factory radiator.
Car is always filthy (white) even after I wash it and park it overnight on my street.
Tripple digit speeds are easily obtainable and car draws 0 attention from Law Enforcement.
Tons of sideways grip no issues there.
Shifter is awesome, brakes are overly strong even with a single piston caliper at each corner.
Car has a “sport mode” however I’m convinced it does nothing.
Heated Seats have 1 mode On or Off but will roast your butt in 1 minute.
Plenty of storage and cup holders.
Valentine 1 hangs perfectly from the rear view mirror.

I think that’s about everything to say about my Fiesta ST hopefully some people find this review useful towards their eventual purchase of one.

Thanks for reading
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Sounds like you've had your share of issues for only 30,000 miles. It may not be urgent in SoCal, but around here I would be getting that sunroof leak fixed asap.
Originally Posted By: ad244
you mash that go pedal in 2nd or 3rd and this thing takes off = I get about 6,000 miles out of a front set of tires

Well, that's to be expected?

Originally Posted By: ad244
I have a Full cat back exhaust from MAP Performance, Intercooler from Dead Hook Racing, MBRP Charge Side Boost Tube, Cobb Accessport V3 with Stage 3 Loaded and a Cobb Intake.

These aren't helping tire life much, either
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
Wait can a leased car be modded like that?

He'll find out when he turns it back in....
Thank you everybody for the kind words. I went to go back and edit my original post but I guess there is a time lock. Couple things I wanted to touch on.

Gas Mileage: I routinely day to day with plenty of high rpm trips and 80 MPH highway cruising get 27 MPG without trying. Keeping the speeds around 70mph on the highway its easy to see 32 mpg which is pretty darn good considering that 6th Gear RPM at 70 is a little over 3,000 RPM. Lifetime Mileage is somewhere in the 28 mpg neighborhood so you get the idea of the mileage.

Audio: The base car has a Sony audio system and its good for what it is. Mids are storng and Highs are good however the system lacks the low’s you would expect from a modern car. Listening to Bluetooth audio at a reasonable volume requires the system to run at about 75% volume which I imagine is pretty standard. The Corolla I rented last week blew this system out of the water. Sync has USB, Bluetooth, Sirius and CD player so that’s about standard. If I were keeping the car, id definitely add a small subwoofer. Not complaining given the price point.

On my 2015 there is no backup camera.

On the highway the car feels very planted considering it looks like a giant green house is flying past your Volvo Station wagon. Even on windy days it resists sway really well. Only issue could be if there are strange cuts or potholes in the road which causes it to dart about quite a bit.

Unfortunately for the car it does not have a traditional limited slip but does have the torque vectoring system (Found in GTI’s and other inferior cars) which uses the brakes to limit the wheel slip. This system works ok but a traditional LSD would be a worthwhile addition to the car. The power will overcome the brakes if you’re expecting to power out of a turn where the vehicles weight is not on your side such as an off camber uphill turn.

Along similar lines, the car will trail brake based on the speed and steering angle. This is easily the best feature of the car from a driving perspective. As you may have saw earlier I mentioned that the car will understeer given the correct situation and this system is to thank for that. It’s extremely noticeable when you go too quick into a turn and suddenly grab too much steering midway through the turn. Hard to explain but the drag of the rear end catches the front. The system “acts” more as the speed increases and more steering input is applied. Drive the car for an hour and you will learn to love it. Especially nice on a sub 30K car.
It also has hill hold assist which is nice and I suspect is a similar system to the torque vectoring.

Hopefully I didn’t come off too negative in the above, the majority of my ownership experience has been great and Id challenge any other new ish car regarding the Price – Performance – Smiles equation.
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Originally Posted By: Chris142
You drove all the way to Amboy to take a pic!

Something Like that
Originally Posted By: NHGUY
Originally Posted By: Reddy45
Wait can a leased car be modded like that?

He'll find out when he turns it back in....

The OP seems intelligent and articulate, but I can't understand paying $350/month on a Fiesta AND modifying to stage 3 a vehicle that he doesn't own. Are you planning on buying out the lease or are you going to part-out the mods when the time comes?

If you're that much of an enthusiast, it seems like you'd be better off buying a used WRX or something. Seriously, $350/month on a car you won't own in the end? I really can't wrap my head around that.

gathermewool The OP seems intelligent and articulate said:
I know a Guy in Waco who buys brand new Mustangs, then throws $5,000+ worth of aftermarket parts at them - but he keeps all of the stock stuff to put back on it when he trades it in after a couple of years
Yeah, that is a little unusual. All those mods on a 3 year lease and then put them on a white car. Hmmm...
Originally Posted By: Linctex
gathermewool The OP seems intelligent and articulate said:
Yeah, nothing new there!
Why rent a house when you can buy one... Nobody complains here about that.
Great review! I considered an ST but couldn't find one with Recaros AND without a hole in the roof. And, while Ford claims HPDEs won't void the warranty, I didn't want to try and argue the matter with my local dealers, none of which inspire much confidence.
Originally Posted By: ad244
I have a Full cat back exhaust from MAP Performance, Intercooler from Dead Hook Racing, MBRP Charge Side Boost Tube, Cobb Accessport V3 with Stage 3 Loaded and a Cobb Intake. No other modifications other than a Valentine 1 and some LED’s.

On a rental car!?
I have a '16 base in Shadow Black and I love it. I think I would have liked the Recaros, but I kept reading that bigger guys felt uncomfortable in them and the $2000 price tag was a bit rich for me.

I learned to drive stick in mine and drove it home from the dealer 40 miles away after only watching YouTube videos and 20 mins with the salesman in the car. Except for moving from a start and the 1-2 shift being a little jerky, if I'm not careful with the clutch, this has to be one of the easiest manuals to drive. It wouldn't win any drag races, but the power from the 1.6t is awesome once boost kicks in. It picks up speed on the highway without problems. Like you, I also notice how planted it feels on the highway. The NVH also isn't bad for the size of the car. It could use some sound insulation around the wheel well and floor pan area for road noise that comes from the tires. Before I looked at the car, I expected it to feel chintzy because it's based on a cheap econobox, but it feels solid, which is nice to know when driving next to large SUVs and trucks. The doors feels heavy and close with a nice thud.

I haven't modded mine. Might get an accessport and an intake at some point, but probably not much else.

I'm at about 11,500 miles and the original Potenzas still have about 6/10 of tread left with one rotation. Not bad for 140 rated tires.

The sound system isn't amazing, but I would say it's adequate. I have Sync 3 and installed the update that allows for Android Auto/Apple Carplay. Definitely useful for road trips since I don't have nav.

My only complaints are the cheap interior and how thin and soft the paint is. The interior in the 2018 Fiesta looks much nicer.

Knowing that the 2018 won't be sold here, makes me love my car more.
Thanks ad244! Good review! I was very tempted to grab one of these with my last purchase... unfortunately it was the highway ride, but I missed that liveliness that the car has. That is why I went with the Genesis (are they common in Cali?), but I get the anti-wrx sentiment. I keep coming around that I am going to hunt down a cheap FiST in about another 3 years.

Yeah, I think the brake and tire wear are driver/driving related.
I had TPMS issues with my other fleet Fords.
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