Ford’s smallest hatchback gets a comprehensive makeover

The third-generation Ford Ka was unveiled in November 2013 in Brazil. It was launched about a year later in the same country in both hatchback and sedan body styles. Unlike its predecessor, which shared underpinnings with the Fiat 500, the third-gen Ka is based on Ford’s global B platform, also used by the Fiesta. Available in various markets in South America and Africa since 2015, the supermini is being sold in Europe as well starting 2016.

In case you’re wondering why it took so long for the small hatch to cross the pond, it’s because Ford had to create a version that complies with European safety standards. For instance, the original model developed in Brazil didn’t have standard airbags and lacked many of the features European drivers are accustomed to. Thus Ford created the Ka+, which was introduced in Latin America in late 2015 and it is now being offered in certain markets across the Old Continent. The Ka+ is in many aspects identical to the standard Ka. What makes it stand out are the added convenience features, the two front airbags, and a retuned chassis for European roads.

“Choosing a compact car should not mean having to compromise,” said Darren Palmer, small car vehicle line director at Ford of Europe. “Our all-new Ka+ lives up to the high standards set by our Ford Fiesta, B-MAX and EcoSport compact cars by delivering the style, space, advanced technology and refinement that customers want.”

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Ford Ka+.

Exterior

2016 Ford Ka+ High Resolution Exterior
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Designed around Ford's latest design language, the Ka+ shares many cues with the Fiesta, its slightly bigger sibling.

Designed around Ford’s latest design language, the Ka+ shares many cues with the Fiesta, its slightly bigger sibling. It has the trademark, high-mounted trapezoidal grille on its nose, swept-back headlamps, a pronounced beltline, and a clean tailgate flanked by large taillights and a beefy rear bumper. The roof spoiler adds a touch of sportiness to the design, while the chrome detailing on the front grille, together with the body-colored bumpers, door handles, and door mirrors give it a more premium appearance compared to the previous model. The Ka+ comes with standard fog lamps, a plus in this segment, and 14-inch wheels on the base Studio trim. Opting for the Zetec version brings you 15-inch alloy wheels. Overall, the Ka+ is far from impressive as far as design goes and it’s not quite as attractive as the Fiesta, but it is well-proportioned and seems like the perfect car to navigate through busy city streets.

Interior

On the flipside, the trunk's capacity is only nine cubic feet, which puts the Ka at the bottom of its segment in this respect.

Though Ford has yet to roll out official data for the Euro-spec Ka, we already know — based on info from the car launched in Brazil in 2014 — that the new hatch is taller and a bit wider than the previous model. Also, even though it is shorter than the Fiesta, its wheelbase is exactly the same. This means the new Ka offers a greater sensation of roominess on the inside, as well as enhanced comfort in the rear, as the seats have been moved further back. There’s also improved head and shoulder room due to the higher roofline. On the flipside, the trunk’s capacity is only nine cubic feet, which puts the Ka at the bottom of its segment in this respect.

The interior is mostly made of hard plastics. However, the fit-and-finish seems decent and different textures and colors improve its dull appearance. The layout is based on the Fiesta’s, with a relatively simple dashboard and small center console. The aluminum-like center stack is a nice touch. All these features will be present in the European model as well.

Drivetrain

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Initially expected to come to Europe with both the 1.0- and 1.5-liter engines, the Ka+ crossed the pond with only the 1.2-liter Duratec unit. The four-cylinder is available in two versions, with 69 or 84 horsepower. Derived from the 1.25-liter in the Fiesta, it features twin-independent variable camshaft timing technology and optimized calibration for enhanced fuel economy. It also has regenerative charging, which saves fuel by maintaining efficient charge levels in the vehicle battery by capturing "free" electrical energy when drivers coast or brake. The engine mates to a five-speed manual transmission with no automatic options. Performance figures aren’t yet available, but don’t get your hopes up on getting anywhere fast in this thing. Ford did say that both engine options achieve CO2 emissions of 114g/km, with combined fuel consumption of 56.5 mpg on the U.K. scale.

Prices

Pricing for the Ka+ starts from £8,995 (about $13,045) in the U.K., which is identical to the previous-generation model. Expect the Zetec model to cost in excess of £10,500 (around $15,225) before options.

Competition

Volkswagen Up!

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Launched in 2011 following a series of concept cars that debuted as early as 2007, the Volkswagen Up! was also designed as an economy city car. Currently also available as the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo, rebadged versions with distinct front and rear designs, the Up! uses a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder gasoline engine rated at 59 horsepower in the base model and 74 horses in the range-topping version. Both units deliver 70 pound-feet of torque and use either a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic. The Up! can accelerate to 62 mph in 13.2 seconds in its most powerful version and hits a top speed of 106 mph. In the U.K., the Up! costs from £8,870 (about $12,860) in base trim, while the top-of-the-line version fetches £13,580 (around $19,690) before options.

Read our full review here.

Toyota Aygo

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Redesigned for 2014, the Toyota Aygo is the newest vehicle of the bunch. Now in its second generation, the Japanese city car is also a more attractive proposition in terms of design, having received a sportier exterior and offering several customizing features like part-leather seats, and gloss-black or machined wheels. Power comes from a 1.0-liter, three-cylinder with 68 horsepower on tap. Though it’s less powerful than its rivals, the Aygo benefits from a bold design that most of its competitors can’t provide. It’s also slightly more affordable, starting from £7,995 (around $11,595) as a three-door and from £8,395 (about $12,175) as a five-door. The range-topping model costs more than £11,945 (around $17,320).

Conclusion

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Though it’s not as fancy as the Fiat 500, and its exterior design won’t win any beauty contests, the Ford Ka+ is actually a fun little car to drive in the city. It’s brilliant at squeezing into the tightest parking spaces and through the city’s narrowest streets, and it boasts great performance-to-mileage ratios with both engines. As long as you don’t want to take your family on vacation in a Ka+, you should be fine with this little Ford as a daily driver.

  • Leave it
    • * Small trunk
    • * Competes in a crowded segment
    • * Not exactly fast

Press Release

Ford has revealed the all-new KA+ small car, which delivers outstanding interior space, excellent fuel efficiency and fun-to-drive dynamics at an affordable price.

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Joining Ford’s small-car line-up alongside the best-selling Fiesta,* the KA+ provides an attractive new alternative for buyers who want a stylish, well-equipped and high-quality small car at a price point starting at £8,995.

“Ford has a proud history of offering affordable small cars that are practical, economical and fun-to-drive,” said Jim Farley, executive vice president and president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Ford Motor Company. “KA+ is true to that tradition, packing a huge amount into a compact car that delivers agile driving dynamics and a surprisingly roomy cabin at an affordable price.”

Generous space for five

Available for customers to order from June with first deliveries later this year, the all-new Ford KA+ is a five-door hatchback based on Ford’s global small-car platform, and offers generous space for five people at an overall length of less than four metres.

The KA+ is slightly shorter than the Fiesta, but 29mm taller, with an optimised package that provides class-leading front headroom and best-in-class legroom for rear passengers.

The KA+ provides outstanding every-day practicality with 270 litres of luggage space – enough to accommodate two large suitcases – plus 60/40 split-folding rear seats, and 21 stowage locations throughout the cabin for small items.

Stowage areas include MyFord Dock in the centre of the instrument panel that enables occupants to store, mount and charge mobile devices such as phones and navigation systems, and front door bins that can each hold a 1.0-litre bottle, a 0.6-litre bottle and a small umbrella. A hidden stowage bin within the end of the instrument panel is only accessible when the driver’s door is open, allowing valuables to be hidden out of sight.

Taking inspiration from Ford’s latest design language, the stylish, well-proportioned exterior features the distinctive high-mounted trapezoidal grille with large, swept-back headlamps. All KA+ models offer a smart, integrated finish with chrome detailing for the front grille, together with body-coloured bumpers, door handles and door mirrors.

The interior features an attractive grained finish on the instrument panel and hard-wearing, contemporary trim materials in a stylish dark charcoal colour scheme. Distinctive chrome accents are applied in tactile and highly visible areas such as the door release handles, centre console control knobs and air vents.

Responsive and economical powertrain

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The all-new KA+ features a simplified powertrain line-up based on an efficient new 1.2-litre Duratec petrol engine. Available with a choice of 70PS and 85PS power outputs, the 1.2-litre engine is derived from the same family as the 1.25-litre engine in the Fiesta, and features twin-independent variable camshaft timing technology to enhance performance and fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

Combined with a standard five-speed manual transmission, the 1.2-litre engine has been tuned to deliver smooth and responsive performance, with a broad spread of torque that makes the car easy and fun to drive in both city motoring and on longer journeys.

Fuel efficiency has been enhanced using optimised calibration, low-friction engine oil and regenerative charging, which saves fuel by maintaining efficient charge levels in the vehicle battery by capturing ‘free’ electrical energy when drivers coast or brake.

Low rolling resistance tyres and enhanced aerodynamic details, such as an optimised front lower spoiler lip and grille openings, also contribute to improved efficiency. Both engine options achieve CO2 emissions of 114g/km, with combined fuel consumption of 56.5mpg.**

Agile, fun-to-drive and comfortable

The all-new KA+ has been developed to deliver agile, fun-to-drive dynamics that match European customer expectations.

To deliver the desired dynamic performance, the KA+ features a unique chassis specification with specially developed features including the steering system, springs and dampers, front anti-roll bar, rear torsion beam axle and tyres, along with re-engineered front sub-frame and engine mounts.

The vehicle also has undergone an intensive development program to ensure improved comfort and refinement in typical European driving conditions, with a range of measures to minimise wind noise, road noise and powertrain noise levels.

Following final tuning and development carried out at Ford’s European proving ground in Lommel, Belgium, and during extensive test drives on European roads, the KA+ provides customers with an enjoyable and comfortable driving experience.

Comprehensive standard equipment, with two series choices

Customers can select from two KA+ series options, Studio offered with the 70PS engine and Zetec which will be offered with both 70PS and 85PS.

All KA+ models deliver a comprehensive standard specification including power front windows and door mirrors, front fog lamps, AM/FM radio with Bluetooth connectivity, remote central double locking with perimeter alarm, safety system with six airbags, Electronic Stability Control with Hill Start Assist, Deflation Detection System, Speed Limiter, and Ford Easy Fuel.

The Zetec series also adds 15in alloy wheels, manual air-conditioning, DAB digital radio/CD with Ford’s SYNC voice-activated communications and entertainment system with AppLink, leather steering wheel and cruise control.

Customers also can specify their KA+ Zetec with a range of optional features including electronic climate control, heated front seats, privacy glass and a City Pack combining rear parking sensors, power rear windows and power folding door mirrors.

2016 Ford Ka+ High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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“Choosing a compact car should not mean having to compromise,” said Darren Palmer, small car vehicle line director, Ford of Europe. “Our all-new KA+ lives up to the high standards set by our Ford Fiesta, B-MAX and EcoSport compact cars by delivering the style, space, advanced technology and refinement that customers want.”

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