First Drive: Ford KA+
After over 20 years of the Ford Ka, the Blue Oval brand has decided to replace the bargain model with an entirely new number.
Called the KA+, the supermini features five-doors, a host of interior space, and styling derived from the popular Fiesta. But, having been built in India and adapted for the European market, how will the sub-£10,000 model fare on our roads. AOL Cars heads to Munich to find out.
What is it?
Ford has replaced the diminutive and out-dated Ka model with the all-new KA+. At just 4cm shorter than the current Fiesta, but costing from only £8,995, it provides a larger and more practical alternative to many of the city cars currently available in the value end of the B-Segment. Five door, class-leading space and a refined Ford drive mean the model could soon become a class leader in its segment.
What's under the bonnet?
The KA+ is limited to one powertrain – the 1.2litre Duratec Ti-VCT petrol. It comes in either a 69bhp or 84bhp guise – the latter of which is only available in the higher-spec Zetec trim.
With a 0 to 60mph time of 13.3 seconds, and a top speed of 105mph, Ford clearly hasn't prioritised performance in the model. That said, it doesn't fare too badly at motorway speeds, and with impressive economy figures of 56.5mpg and producing 114g/km of CO2 it is a frugal option.
What's the spec like?
The lower-spec Studio model is the only option which weighs in at below £9,000, while the 69bhp Zetec model sits under the 10k benchmark. However, the model to go for is the 84bhp Zetec option which costs from £10,295 on the road as it offers the best combination of value and spec.
As standard, this features 15-inch alloy wheels, a DAB radio with a 4.2-inch TFT screen, Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance and cruise control.
A £300 upgrade to the CityPack is advisable, as this adds heated power foldable mirrors, rear power windows and rear parking sensors to the model.
Amongst the rivals for the KA+ are Dacia's Sandero and the Vauxhall Viva. Thanks to its recognisably Ford drive, and Fiesta-like styling, the KA+ is expected to be a likely sales stealer.
What's it like to drive?
The Ford KA+ was designed in South America, and produced in India for a world market before a host of adaptions were made in order to bring it to the UK. Despite its varied heritage the KA+ is unmistakably Ford, providing a refined and stable drive, even in cornering, at high-speeds and under heavy braking.
Fiesta-grade hydraulic engine mounts, increased sound deadening, different door seals and a number of aerodynamic adjustments were amongst the changes made compared to the model sold in different markets. These combine to make for low road and wind noise in the KA+'s refined cabin.
AOL Cars verdict
Ford has done an impressive job of converting a low cost world market model for European drivers.
With the basic Studio trim KA+ weighing in at under £9,000 and offering perks usually only seen in the upper end of the B-segment, the model promises to become a popular option.
However, for less than £1,500 more, drivers are advised to opt for the 84bhp KA+ Zetec which boasts style, practicality and enough poke to get you from A to B.
Model: Ford KA+ Zetec
Engine: 1.2-litre Duratec Ti-VCT petrol
0-62mph: 13.3 seconds
Max speed: 105mph