197-HP 2014 Ford Fiesta ST Price Starts at $21,400

The 2014 Ford Fiesta ST will come out this year, adding a hot hatch option to Ford’s smallest car. The 197-hp Fiesta ST will start at just $21,400, according to Ford’s online car builder. The 2014 Fiesta ST will have a turbocharged 1.6-liter four cylinder Ecoboost engine with 197-hp and 214 lb-ft of torque.

The Fiesta ST will have some competition from other hot hatchbacks around $21,000. The 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth costs $22,000 and has 160-hp, the 2013 Mini Cooper S starts at $23,300 and has 181-hp and the 2013 VW GTI costs $23,995 and has 200-hp.

Horsepower is just part of the equation though, the reason hatchbacks are so sporty even with small engines is that they don’t weigh much. The Fiesta hatch weighs 2,537-lbs. The Abarth just barely beats that at 2,512-lbs, while the Mini Cooper S is close at 2,668-lbs and the GTI is the Chunk of the group at 3,034-lbs. On paper it looks like the Fiesta ST will be the clear winner performance wise, but most people buying $22,000 new cars are looking for comfort, style and functionality too.

The Fiesta’s dimensions are on par with the other small hatch backs, but the Mini and Fiat, and to a lesser extent the VW, have the advantage of a premium reputation. They may not provide any extra quality or comfort, but there is definitely a perception that those cars are higher end than a Ford.

What do you think? Would you spend a couple thousand extra dollars just to look like you have more money? Do the European cars offer enough more to justify the thousands more they cost?