► First pictures of new Ford Ka+
► It's the Blue Oval's new city car
► Bigger than Ka, cheaper than Fiesta
The new Ford Ka+ isn't really a direct replacement for the outgoing Ka; it's more of a super-sized city car, designed to mop up the budget end of the supermini sector, which now prioritises five-door practicality over three-door offerings.
So while the fashionista and bright young things will, Ford hopes, continue to lap up the Fiesta in increasingly premium trims, the Ka+ has been subtly repositioned to operate at the bargain bucket end of the scale.
Yes. Even Blue Oval types mention austerity brands like Dacia. 'Why should they hog all the sales in this fast-growing sector?' one executive asked CAR. The car you see before you is their riposte to the Sandero, et al...
Click here to read our scoop on the new 2017 Ford Fiesta
It's not exactly a looker, is it?
Truth be told, the new 2016 Ford Ka+ looks worse in the photographs than it does in the metal. But be under no illusion: this is not a cool, or wantonly desirable small car. Rather this is another South American import, following in the tyre tracks of the Ecosport as the next fruits of Dearborn's One Ford global car strategy.
The Ecosport baby SUV hardly set the world alight and many titles – including CAR – criticised it for wayward dynamics and its short-cut, sub-par fit and finish. Ford vows it's listened and fixed many of those launch woes. Sales of the improved model are up 62% in the first four months of 2016.
Engineers go to great lengths to claim the Ka+ has been thoroughly overhauled to make sure it meets European demands – first time round. The new B-segment budgeteer is not even built in Latin America; it's now produced in the Blue Oval's state-of-the-art factory in India.
See the new Ford Ka+ at the 2016 Paris motor show.
Ford Ka+ engines and specs
The engine line-up in the Ka+ is delightfully simple. No high-tech (read pricey) EcoBoost engines here; it's just a 1.2-litre petrol engine, tuned for efficiency and refinement. Two versions will be offered:
- 85ps / 84bhp Launch model, 114g/km CO2, 56.5mpg
- 70ps / 69bhp Less powerful model, coming later
Ford's small-car chief Darren Palmer told CAR how the new Ka+ has been comprehensively overhauled from the South American donor product for duty in Europe. The springs, dampers, anti-roll bar, rear torsion beam, steering set-up tyres, engine mounts and front sub-frame are all re-engineered for service here – and there's a flurry of extra sound deadening to provide a quieter cabin.
The new Ka+ is due in UK showrooms in October 2016, priced from £8995 for a Ka+ Studio 70ps. Step up to a Zetec for £9995 – or the more powerful 85ps model for £10,295.
Although base models will be relatively stripped-out, Ford does offer a variety of equipment demanded by today's youth: air-con, Sync voice-activated systems, AppLink, parking sensors, cruise control, heated seats and more gadgets are available.
Ford has just finished building the current Ka, which was produced in a joint venture with Fiat since 2005. This third Ka range marks yet another global twist in the range's 20-year history; it's certainly seen a lot of change since the New Edge original...
It's all about the size, stupid
The new Ford Ka+'s raison d'être is plenty of space for not much cash. It's only 4cm shorter than the Fiesta, but 29mm taller – meaning there is genuinely loads of room inside for a car that doesn't quite broach the 4m length supermini threshold. The boot offers 270 litres of space and there are 21 cubbies dotted about the cabin.
CAR has sat inside the Ka+ and can vouch for the roominess on offer. It's one of the most spacious small cars we've encountered for a while – and the quality of materials impresses too. Seems like the work that they've done to avoid elephant hide plastic grain and hard, shiny surfaces has paid off, but this is still some way short of a VW Up for interior quality.
It feels more like a contemporary Fiesta, rather than a cheapo Latin import. If they really have made it handle like one too, Ford could have an appealing small car on its hands in a segment which is growing and now accounts for 22% of the European market, or around 3 million sales a year.
Click here for all our Ford reviews, news and scoops