2019 Ford Fiesta ST Gets Sub-$18k Base Trim

By

Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

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, Senior Pricing Analyst - June 29, 2018

The Fiesta ST has never had trouble delivering on the promise of big thrills for not a lot of money. For 2019, Ford is lowering the car's base price by over $3,600 prior to ending production of most of its cars by 2020.

Order guides show the new trim, called the ST Line, will introduce an automatic transmission option and offer much of the same curb appeal for under $18,000. However, some key differences could dampen the car's street cred.

Here's what you need to know.

ST Flavor Sans Caffeine?

With an MSRP of $17,625, the 2019 Fiesta ST Line will be $3,715 less expensive than the regular ST. Including a destination charge of $875, it'll start at just $18,500, compared to the standard ST's price of $22,215.

The ST starts $55 higher than last year and shows no new mechanical changes or performance options. On the other hand, the ST Line will feature some important differences worth knowing about.

First, the ST Line will come with a 5-speed manual transmission, as opposed to the 6-speed manual in the ST. Ford will also offer the ST Line with its 6-speed PowerShift automatic, a $1,095 option.

Perhaps more importantly, the ST Line will come with a 1.6-liter inline 4-cylinder engine as opposed to the 1.6-liter EcoBoost in the ST. The ST is listed at 197 hp and 202 lb-ft of torque, while the inline 4 simply shows "TBD."

For reference, the regular Fiesta comes with a 1.6-liter inline 4 with 120 hp and 112 lb-ft. It's unclear whether or not the ST Line will offer any advantage in terms of power. A representative for Ford did not return a request for comment.

In terms of looks, the ST Line appears set to feature much of the same aggressive bodywork as the ST, including its distinctive front fascia, a high-mounted rear spoiler and dual chrome tipped exhaust.

But there are differences. The ST Line gets 16-inch black painted aluminum wheels with a 10-spoke design shod with P195/50R16 tires. The ST comes with 17-inch Rado Gray wheels with 205/40R17 summer tires.

Inside, the order guide says the ST Line will get bucket seats with "sport embossed bolsters" as opposed to the ST's standard sport seats. You also won't have the option to upgrade to the well-regarded Recaro sport seats.

Color choices are limited and don't include ST-specific paints like Magnetic, Orange Spice Metallic and White Platinum Metallic. The only choices are Outrageous Green Metallic, Hot Pepper Red Metallic, Oxford White and Shadow Black.

Other differences between the ST-Line and ST include: manual a/c (vs. an automatic system), no ST sport suspension, no push-button start, a 4-way manual driver's seat (vs. 6-way) and a 6-speaker stereo (vs. a Sony 8-speaker system).

Our Analysis

We consider this an interesting development given the relative ups & downs Fiesta ST shoppers have experienced over the past year or so. First, we learned the U.S. wouldn't get the redesigned Fiesta sold overseas in places like the U.K.

Next, we learned the Fiesta would be discontinued, along with just about every other sedan except for the Mustang and a new lifted version of the next-generation Focus called the Focus Active.

We think the addition makes a bit more sense based on other changes we've observed in the 2019 Fiesta. The Titanium trim has been dropped, meaning the ST Line will bridge the gap between the SE and full-blooded ST.

So what does this mean for car buyers? If you liked the ST's looks but weren't keen on living with a manual transmission, the new version could be somewhat intriguing. But is its low price really all that appealing?

After all, Ford already offers a $3,000 incentive in most parts of the country on the 2018 Fiesta, including the ST. In some areas, we've even found dealers listing STs in the low $16,000 range.

Does Ford risk hurting some of the performance credentials it has worked hard to earn in its ST models? Perhaps it doesn't matter much now if the brand can give buyers a splash of extra flavor before the model is gone for good.

Editor's Note: 2017 Fiesta ST pictured

, Senior Pricing Analyst

Alex Bernstein is the Senior Pricing Analyst for CarsDirect.com. Each month he studies immense volumes of pricing and incentives data in search of trends that are useful to car shoppers. In the process, he often breaks industry news stories -- his analyses and insights have been featured on websites such as Automotive News, The Detroit News, Autoblog, The Truth About Cars and The Car Connection.

Follow On: Google+ | Website