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Review: ISC Coilovers on a 2016 Fiesta ST, the On-Track Test

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On Wednesday, I wrote my installation and comfort oriented review of my Fiesta ST’s new ISC N1 coilover system. Look, I know that isn’t why people buy coilovers, which is why I decided to dedicate a whole article to the ISC’s performance traits.

Another reason I decided to split my review into two articles is the fortuitous timing of the first local track-day of the season. While I finished dialing in my suspension on a Thursday, the track day was the day immediately following. My “local” track is Thunderhill Raceway, a measly 2hr drive out of my way. Despite my griping, don’t get me wrong: money and time spent on a track day is always well spent.

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Some of the other attendees had some neat rides.

While I haven’t tracked my car on the stock suspension, I did do a few days of autocross, so there is a bit of a baseline to compare to. First things first: the stock suspension is exceedingly fun. In a small, practical FWD car, this is a pretty rare treat. I am delighted to say that adding the ISC coilovers did not dial out the fun-factor.

This fun factor is achieved in the Fiesta ST through the way you can make the car go through corners. If you enter a corner a little too hot–which the chassis will encourage you to do, it is so good–the car responds with very mild understeer, slightly pushing outwards. Understeer is never fun, but what is fun, is when you lift-off the throttle. At this point, the nose dives back into the corner, with the rear tires slightly stepping out into easily controlled oversteer.

Oversteer
Finding a still-image of FWD lift-off oversteer is nearly impossible, but this is close.

I was terribly afraid that touching the suspension would get rid of these tendencies, and while the car may be better, it wouldn’t have the fun-factor it had in stock form. I took care to leave any enthusiastic driving for the track, so my initial impressions would be un-touched by my crappy California roads.

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Sparse facilities but the rolling hills in the background make for a pretty backdrop.

As soon as the parade laps were over, and I was allowed to really hit the track, all my fears were alleviated. Not only did those tendencies persist, they were more controllable. General performance characteristics–like body roll, understeer limits, and the like–have all also been improved, noticeably.

The track day was put on by Koni, and was geared towards novice’s–which I am. That means that while there were some serious track-rats there, like a flame-spitting RX-8, the people on track with me were fairly inexperienced, if they had any experience at all. This is totally fine, but it means that they may not have been approaching going 10/10ths, or even 9/10ths, whereas my car is affordable enough–and was insured enough–that I could push my car with relative abandon.

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Look at that editing! The circled circuit was the track we used, with the full circuit set-up—the extra straight is blacked out. The spots circled in red are the passing zones.

The circuit was very tight, with small straights: in other words, it was perfect for the Fiesta. This meant that by my third and final 20-min session of the day, when my tires were warm and I knew the track a bit more, I could get point-bys from more powerful metal, such as a Mustang GT350. Again, this could merely be me pushing my car harder and with more abandon, but it still felt nice.

Much more measurably, is the slight chicane at the end of the 2nd straight, corner 3W. Cutting this chicane in a tightly sprung car could result in airtime, meaning many people skirted the corner. The ISC suspension was compliant enough that I didn’t need to bother, and could slam the curb hard. This most definitely resulted in better lap times, and would not have been possible on stock suspension.

ISC Suspension 2
The kit responsible for all of the goodness.

The ISC N1 system worked 100% as advertised. Installation was fairly simple, and the day-to-day comfort is on a level I wanted. The performance is improved both on-road and on-track, and most importantly, the fun-factor still exists. Have any specific questions about something I didn’t address? Leave a question down below in the comments, and remember to like the article and share it with your friends.

Want your own ISC kit? Find it here!

Stephen Hyden View All

I recently recieved a degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.

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