Speed News February 2016

Speed News Magazine - The Official Magazine of the National Auto Sport Association

Issue link: http://mag.speednewsmag.com/i/634989

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Page 27 of 97

W ith the "Car Corner" column, we like to focus on cars that serve as suitable daily drivers that can be taken on track for an HPDE or for autocrossing. After all, if you race, you like cars and, let's face it, driving a one-ton truck every day is no fun at all. It's nice to have something zippy for a daily driver. So when we go to press events like the Motor Press Guild's "Track Days" at Willow Springs International Raceway in Southern California, we are looking specifically to drive those kinds of cars. It seems as though most journalists in attendance are looking hard at track cars, too. BMWs, Mercedes-Benz AMGs, Corvettes and V-series Cadillacs were in and out all day while cars such as the Chrysler 200 sat unloved, like an outcast from the "Island of Misfit Toys." Google that term if you either have no kids or a poor memory of your childhood. If you're looking for something zippy that still nets decent fuel mileage, there are lots of options, and the 2016 Ford Fiesta ST is certainly one of them. Ford has done an admirable job making a value-leading economy car sold the world over look like something special in the ST model. It features upgraded front and rear fascias, side skirts, bright work on the exhaust tips, 17-inch wheels and blacked-out grille to complete the sporty look. It's not all looks, thankfully. The Fiesta ST has a sport-tuned suspension that would serve the dual purpose of a daily driver you can hit the track with once in a while. The suspension isn't terribly sophisticated, with MacPherson struts up front and a twist-beam axle in the rear, but it benefits from technology such as electronic torque vectoring control, which reduces understeer. The ST also comes with three-mode electronic stability control. It's also reasonably light, at least by contemporary standards. With a curb weight of 2,742 pounds, the Fiesta ST feels nimble and tossable. It's fun and lively and has a nice driving feel, with progressive power delivery that comes on at lower rpm than you would expect from a 1.6-liter engine. That's because the EcoBoost turbocharging system delivers peak torque from 3,500 to 4,200 rpm and peak horsepower at 6,350 rpm. Turbo lag is nominal. "This is a rewarding car to rev," said Mark Roberts, Ford Fiesta calibration supervisor. "With 177 lb.-ft. of torque available from just 1,600 rpm and 202 lb.-ft. by 3,500 rpm, Fiesta ST gives the performance and feel of an engine twice its size. There's no waiting at all for the power to just push you back in your seat." That's a pretty good power curve for such a little 2016 Ford Fiesta ST C A R C O R N E R COURTESY OF FORD MOTOR COMPANY 28

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