Head to Head: 2014 Ford Fiesta ST vs. 2013 Chevy Sonic RSApril 8th, 2013 by Armaan Almeida
Ford and Chevy have each enjoyed surprising success with their latest subcompact car offerings, the Fiesta and Sonic. In a class dominated for decades by the Japanese, each has carved out a solid niche in sales, and each makes a fine entry-level ride for drivers with a diverse set of needs.
Now with the introduction of the upcoming 2014 Ford Fiesta ST, we have a hot hatchback battle to attend to. The ST and competing Sonic RS each start at more than $20k, rare air in a segment known for low out-the-door prices as much as anything else. Both are fitted with additional performance goodies, and aggressive body kits to help look the part. But from a performance standpoint, one is a thoroughbred and one is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. Read on…
2014 Ford Fiesta ST – From $22,195
The Fiesta ST uses the same 1.6-liter turbocharged and direct injected EcoBoost four-cylinder engine as you’ll find on the Fusion and Escape. With 197 horsepower on tap, this willing engine provides lightning-quick performance when applied to such a small package. Paired with a 6-speed manual transmission and FWD, the ST is nearly as potent as its 2.0-powered big brother, the Focus ST.
Other upgrades: unique 17-inch wheels, dual-outlet chrome-tipped exhaust, a high-mount rear spoiler, a unique aero kit with deeper front and rear diffusers, and heated Recaro leather-trimmed sport seats.
2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS – From $20,995
While the Sonic RS also features turbocharged power, the car is more akin to an optioned-out standard Sonic than a true high-performance model. The RS package does bring to the table revised gear ratios and a shorter final drive ratio for slightly improved acceleration, along with stiffened spring rates, Sonic-first four-wheel disc brakes, and a bumper-to-bumper aero kit that really helps draw out the attractive Chevy’s best features.
On the inside, the RS is the most premium of all Sonics, with leather-trimmed sport seats, improved materials throughout, and all the key factory options, such as Chevy’s MyLink infotainment interface, coming as standard equipment. It’s a great package, though at nearly the out-the-door price of the Fiesta, we are left wishing Chevy had also applied its magic to the 1.4-Turbo engine, which still makes just 138 horsepower.
The Verdict: While the Sonic is a great small car made better still through the RS appearance package, at over $20k we can’t recommend it as highly as the Fiesta ST, which comes with more than 60 additional horsepower.
Winner: Ford Fiesta ST.