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Ford Ka gets a revamp in 2016

By raccars Published

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A new cheap, cheerful and more practical Ford Ka will be introduced this year, renamed the Ka+.

The first Ford Ka arrived on the market with a bang in 1996, offering bold design and great driving dynamics for such a small car. Its curvy looks were divisive at first but the Ka's willing personality and smart handling soon won over the press and the public and made it the best selling city car in the UK. The first generation ran until 2008 and was massive success, but unfortunately subsequent versions of the Ka have failed to match the sparkling original, missing its distinctive looks, practicality and performance.

Space in the value supermini segment

However Ford has understood that it needs to have a serious player in the growing budget supermini sector, to which end the existing Ka is to be replaced with a completely revitalised model. The new Ka has been created from the ground up and even the name is being updated, to the Ford Ka+. However what won't change, according to Ford, is a commitment to the brand's core values. Strong build quality and sharp handling are not to be sacrificed on the altar of economy.

The original Ka was derived from the Ford Fiesta, while subsequent models took the Fiat 500 as a basis. Clearly this didn't work out so Ford has gone back to the roots of the first Ka and will be building upon the current Fiesta's platform once again. Quite a few years of development have been dedicated to getting this right. It becomes a five door model, as seen in 2013's good looking Ka Concept design study, which has since been cosmetically updated to appeal to a European market for production purposes. The Ka+ is being designed to take on the likes of the Hyundai i10 and to offer buyers more choice in such a busy segment.

How the new Ka+ is different from the old Ford Ka

Ford is keen to disassociate the word 'cheap' from this project, preferring instead to direct attention to low running costs and the idea of 'value for money'. The new model will be roomier and more practical than its predecessor and is supposed to have the excellent handling for which the Fiesta is famous.

Powertrain details are yet to be confirmed but the Ka+ is likely to use the lower end of the Fiesta's engine range. To avoid dilution between the two models, when the Fiesta is updated next year it will distance itself from the Ka+ with a more upmarket style. It is also expected to be a little larger than the current model.

Prices and spec

While the Ka+ is an economy offering, buyers will be given access to an options list including some luxury extras such as a leather steering wheel, climate control, a 4.2 inch infotainment screen and 2.3 inch TFT screen in the instrument binnacle. The Ka+ will be priced from £8,000 with even top spec models coming in at about £10,000. This will set it against the new Vauxhall Viva. The Ka+ will be built in one of the developing markets, probably India, in order to keep costs down, and is due to be launched in September.

At the moment Ford plans to restrict the Ka+ to a one model format but hasn't ruled out the possibility of additional models such as a convertible or high performance Ka+ in the future. While in theory the Ka+ is a replacement for the existing Ka, the demise of the current model hasn't yet been confirmed, suggesting the possibility that the Ka might remain available in emerging markets, at least for a while.

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