Ford’s latest Ka – high style meets low cost – makes its bow at the Paris show. It’s a funky little thing based on the Fiat 500/Panda, and built in the same Polish factory. It dials up driving brio and youthful appeal compared with the industrial Panda and the mature chic of the 500 and will likely follow its successful predecessor as Britain’s best-selling baby car.
Tell me more about the Ka
It looks modern and fun alright, and comes in the sort of bright colours you’d find in a Missoni fashion store rather than a Ford showroom. Yet Martin Smith’s kinetic design language loses its distinctiveness in the littlest Ford: it could just as easily wear Peugeot or Japanese badges. It lacks the edgy idiosyncrasy of the first Ka, or the youthful elegance of the new Fiesta.
But there’s little doubt it will go and handle well; Ford invariably gets these things right. There are two engines, both Fiat-sourced: a 1.2 petrol and a 1.3 diesel (same as those used in the 500 and Panda), the latter good for just over 67mpg. The suspension and tuning have been fettled to give more sharpness and driving élan compared with the donor Fiat.
What else is new on the Ford stand?
There’s the Econetic version of the Fiesta – at 98g/km carbon emissions it’s the cleanest supermini on sale in the UK. Power comes from a longer-geared version of the gutsy 1.6 TDCi diesel engine. Also in the mix are better aerodynamics and lower resistance tyres. At the other end of the scale, and right in time for the recession, there’s a more powerful 2.5 turbo five-cylinder 200bhp petrol version of the Kuga SUV, complete with pimp-my-ride body kit.
CAR’s verdict: Ford at the Paris motor show 2008
The good stuff keeps coming from Ford. The Ka looks fun if a little too small car derivative: still, it’s likely to be a hoot to drive. Meanwhile, the greenest Fiesta of all just adds to the appeal of Ford’s highly desirable new supermini.
CAR's Ford show score: 4/5
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