Compact and cute: Ford pairs up with Fiat 500 for the next Ka
Yes, under the Ford family clothes the next Ka is 100 percent Fiat. It has an Italian chassis, Fiat engines, even steering and brakes sourced in Turin. And it will be built by Fiat, not in Italy but in Poland, alongside the new 500 which has been met by rave reviews. It wasn’t always thus. At one stage, Ka II was going to be twinned with the next Fiesta and Mazda 2. But then Ford experienced the early shock waves from the Blue Oval’s cash crisis, and decided to tap Fiat for R&D and help with assembly. The design, however, is pure Ford. Although the Ka shares all the hard points with the nuova piccola macchina from Turin, it looks remarkably distinct and different. Visual highlights include a new hexagonal grille that may reappear on the Fiesta, a pair of daring steeply angled headlamps and a ballsy rear-end treatment. Our artist’s impressions depict a five-door, but the Ka will again be a compact three-door hatch. These images have not been commissioned by CAR Online and are quite speculative, we reckon. Sources who’ve seen the car reckon the front end is more radical than our pictures suggest.
What about all the other Ka derivatives?
The partnership with Fiat still has a few pleasant surprises in store for us. Fiat is launching its own Abarth version of the 500 (and there’s an even hotter SS version in the works), and the Ka is expected to be fed some steroids, too. Expect an ST model with a 1.4 turbocharged to produce around 135bhp. And there’s more to come: a StreetKa twinned with the already-signed-off Fiat 500 roadster; a CityKa pioneering an affordable hybrid drivetrain; a FamilyKa with a roomier high-roof body; and, best of all, a RaceKa which sounds like an ideal street-legal first choice for future F1 aces. Since Fiat has already pulled a few lifestyle strings which should yield specially dressed-up Prada or Bvlgari derivatives, it would only be logical for Ford to approach Paul Smith or Burberry. Small car, big opportunities…
And what about the new Fiesta?
This car we spotted in the US earlier in the summer is a working prototype for a Ford small car, and not an indicator for the styling of the new Fiesta, officials say. More will be revealed at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, when we’ll see a concept car for the Blue Oval’s future small cars. Come back to CAR Online in late August to see how it looks.