A shot of Botox and new tech features keep the Ford Fiesta looking fresh

Ford will stop producing the Fiesta in the U.S. before the 2018 model year

Ford introduced the extensively updated 2018 Fiesta during an event held in Germany. The city car is not entirely new but nearly every part of it has been improved in one way or another.

The most obvious changes are spotted by simply looking at the Fiesta. Its front end receives softer-looking headlights, a thinner, wider grille, and a new-look bumper. Out back, the outgoing model’s vertical tail lamps are replaced by elongated horizontal units, a styling cue that emphasizes the Fiesta’s width. Surprisingly, the two-door body style has not been axed yet.

What has been axed, however, is the U.S.-spec version. Auto Evolution reports that Ford’s B-segment vehicle program manager, Robert Stiller, stated the American automaker has no plans to bring the 2018 model year Fiesta to the States.”The previous model was a global Ford product, and with the new generation, we are targeting only Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In North America — especially in the U.S. — China, and Latin America, the demand for such vehicles is declining, and we are reacting accordingly,” Stiller told Auto Evolution.

With Fiesta sales whimpering in recent years — now at just 67 percent of its 2013 high — Ford is deciding to cut its losses. The real tragedy for America is the loss of the Fiesta’s best version — the ST. An affordable, intensely fun hot hatch, the Fiesta ST had won fans from every corner of the enthusiast market.

In Europe, the Fiesta lineup has been expanded with three new versions named Vignale, Active, and ST-Line, respectively. The Vignale is the long-rumored upscale variant that comes standard with features such as 18-inch alloy wheels, a specific chromed grille, and tuxedo-stitched leather upholstery on the seats. Inspired by SUVs, the Active model boasts black plastic cladding and roof rails, and it sits a little taller than normal. Finally, the ST-Line wears a sporty-looking body kit inspired by the hot-rodded ST model. It is worth noting that none of these three models have been confirmed for the United States yet.

Ford promises the Fiesta’s cabin is a nicer place to travel in than before thanks to additional soft-touch material on the dashboard, and a much bigger touchscreen that runs a new infotainment system called Sync 3. The Fiesta also inaugurates an enhanced version of the pedestrian detection tech that prevents collisions even when it’s dark outside. The system will gradually make its way to bigger, more expensive members of the Ford lineup in the coming months.

The big news under the hood is that the Fiesta’s popular 1.0-liter EcoBoost three-cylinder engine is available with a fuel-saving cylinder deactivation system. The triple automatically turns into a twin when extra power isn’t needed, and the third cylinder re-engages in just 14 milliseconds — faster than the blink of an eye — when it’s needed again. Cylinder deactivation has never been offered on a three-cylinder engine before; Ford says its implementation can improve gas mileage by up to six percent in real-world driving conditions.

Update: Added news that Ford will discontinue the Fiesta in the U.S. after the 2017 model year.

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