The big news for Ford's pint-size hot hatchback is that it will be dropping the 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in favor of a new 1.5-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine. The first three-pot engine in the Ford Performance family will deliver the same 197 horsepower as its predecessor, but will pack a touch more torque with 213 pound-feet instead of 202.
Ford promises fuel economy improvements with the downsized powerplant that also features cylinder deactivation that cuts fuel to one of the three cylinders during low-load situations. Disengaging and re-engaging the cylinder takes just 14 milliseconds, according to Ford.
A new Drive Mode system is also new offering three selectable settings: Normal, Sport and Track. Toggling through the various modes adjusts the ST's engine response, steering, stability control and active exhaust behavior. The mildest Normal setting is best suited for daily driving, while Sport dials up sharper throttle and steering response.
The Track setting cuts traction control and loosens the intervention of the stability system to help pull out the best lap times.
Finishing up the 2018 updates are light visual enhancements including new 18-inch wheel designs and a new Liquid Blue paint option for the exterior. Inside, more personalization choices will be available with wider trim options for the gear shifter, steering wheel, door pull and dashboard to go along with the Recaro sport seats and flat-bottom steering wheel.
The 2018 Ford Fiesta ST will be available early next year in Europe in both three- and five-door bodies. A US Ford representative says details about the new Fiesta for other markets will come at a later date.
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