We recently got the chance to take Ford’s feisty little Fiesta ST out for a quick drive in the Rocky Mountains and on the road course at High Plains Raceway. Here is what we found.

First off, the Ford Fiesta ST is the base line for the Blue Oval’s high-performance cars. Starting at less than $21,000 you get fully outfitted pocket rocket that is track capable right off the showroom floor.

With nearly 200 horsepower in a car that weighs only 2,742 lbs, a close ratio six-speed manual transmission, a stout suspension and big brakes it offers something most in its class do not.

Our Ford Fiesta ST was equipped with the Recaro seat package which does add about $2000, but oh so well worth it. They are snug and tight, comfortable and as we found at the track….necessary.

The cabin is also on the snug size, being Ford’s smallest car offered in the States. But there is plenty of head and leg room to be had at least for the driver.

Fit and finish gets high marks especially given the entry level price point of the Fiesta. It of course is available with all the latest infotainment gear Ford offers if you want it.

Exterior styling for the Ford Fiesta ST is more aggressive with larger 17” alloy wheels, a deeper front fascia, ground effects rear bumper with mean looking exhaust and a tidy roof spoiler.

It’s mean and threatening in a cute sort of way without being overly “boy racer”. It’s a car that you can park in your driveway without the neighbors thinking you are too nuts.

Out on the road the 197 horsepower 1.6 liter EcoBoost engine provides a rip snorting snick from gear to gear. In shorter more confined spaces you get a good sense of speed pretty quickly.

On patchy pavement you feel the stiffer springs and dampers, the steering wheel tugging occasionally under full power. Overall however the ride is pretty good considering its sporting intentions.

Steering feel in curves on these roads is also better than expected for electric power steering. Torque steer isn’t that horrible as this engine really doesn’t come on until you are rolling higher in the revs anyway.

We did get some track time with the Ford Fiesta ST, which is where we saw both its some of its commendable strengths and a couple of its categorical limitations.

The good of course is its talent and finesse on the road course. Right out of the box it offers up tight sharp handling with a chassis seemingly built for this.

Rotating around curves is a joy both by turning the quick steering but it also comes around nicely and predictably with a light lift of the throttle.

Though the brakes aren’t huge by track standards, they never let me down after repeated laps tapping them hard off the straightaways.

Where the Fiesta shows its limitations out here is the wide open spaces where its 1.6 liter engine can get a little out of breath on the straights.

While offering good power out of tight spots, it can’t stretch its legs in the long play like a more powerful engine can. Luckily this was small beans and didn’t at all cut into the fun factor.

All in, our Ford Fiesta ST was stickered under $24,000 which is a phenomenal bargain for any car you can pull out of your driveway and straight to a race track for a day of real fun.

Even if the racetrack isn’t on your map, this is a car that can make that daily commute home from work worth watching the clock for. For more news and test drives of Fords and Mustangs see our partner channel TheMustangNews.com.