Opting for evolution over revolution

The Ford Fiesta has been kicking around this mortal coil in some form since 1976. Now, for its eighth generation, Ford opted to keep the visual enhancements to a minimum, instead focusing its efforts on updating the underlying tech.

Right now, the only variants of the 2018 Ford Fiesta that have been announced are for the European market. We'll update the First Take when that changes, but for now, bear in mind that many (or all) things may change when the eighth-generation Fiesta comes to the US.

The most obvious changes to the 2018 Fiesta's exterior are out back. Up front, we're greeted with the same piscine grille as before, and the thin-ish headlights make a return with fewer sharp angles. At the rear, the taillights are better integrated into the rear hatchback. They look very Fusion-ish.

Inside, we're greeted with additional screens. There's now a color information display nestled between the gauges, and the lumpy tucked-in dashboard screen has been replaced with a "floating" unit that allows the dashboard cowl to rest lower, likely increasing forward visibility by a smidge. The center console buttons are much fancier looking than the Playskool-spec switchgear on the seventh-gen Fiesta.

The 2018 Ford Fiesta packs Ford's latest Sync 3 infotainment system, and like the EcoSport, it can be paired with a B&O Play premium sound system. Other new goodies include a panoramic glass roof, which is totally an option on buyers' minds when they're shopping for $14,000 cars.

In terms of tech, the 2018 Fiesta delivers in spades. There are a load of driver assistance technologies, including forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, active parallel and perpendicular parking, traffic sign recognition, auto high beams and rear cross traffic alert.

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When it comes to a lineup, the European Fiesta will offer a number of options for buyers of all wallet sizes. There will be a super-fancy Vignale trim, which the US doesn't get for any Ford vehicle. The ST-Line trim offers sportier looks without the actual power to back it up. There will also be a Fiesta Active crossover variant, which jacks up the ride height and offers little else, like the Chevrolet Spark Activ. In the US, the Titanium trim will likely remain the most posh offering.

Ford plans to offer both gas and diesel drivetrains in Europe, but over here in the US, we will likely be stuck with the same two motors as before -- a 1.6-liter I4 or a 1.0-liter I3, the latter of which can provide some mega fuel economy. The Fiesta ST, as before, will likely take the 1.6-liter I4 and slap a turbocharger on it. Since it's 2016, though, anything's possible! Except for a V8, of course. Don't get your hopes up.

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