The Ford Ka+ will go on sale in the UK next month, with prices starting from £8995. The new city car, which is roughly the same size as the Fiesta hatchback, replaces the Ford Ka and is designed to satisfy the appetite for smaller, cheaper cars in the UK.
The model, built in India and sold there as the Figo, has been heavily revised for Europe, because Ford is desperate to avoid the quality difficulties it had a couple of years ago with the Ecosport crossover from the same source.
Only one five-door hatchback bodystyle will be offered, in two trim levels, Style and Zetec.
There will be just one 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine, too, closely related to the 1.25-litre engine found in the Fiesta but cheaper to make. It will come with a choice of two power outputs - 69bhp and 84bhp - although the lower-powered engine won’t be offered at launch.
Darren Palmer, Ford’s boss of B-car projects, believes the higher-output, £10,295 Zetec will be the most popular model but points out that even the entry-level car is well equipped.
Standard equipment includes six airbags, air conditioning, Ford’s Sync voice-activated phone and audio system, a smartphone docking station, a speed limiter and hill start assist.
Buyers who choose the 84bhp engine can get options including climate control, a leather-covered steering wheel with cruise control, alloy wheels, heated front seats, a DAB radio, rear parking sensors and heated/folding mirrors.
Palmer is at pains to point out that the Ka+ suspension has been fine-tuned by Ford of Europe’s experts at the Lommel proving ground in Belgium.
The result is a unique-to-Europe chassis spec with special specifications for the steering, springs and dampers, front anti-roll bar, rear torsion beam and tyres, plus a re-engineered front subframe and engine mounts.
The European Ka+ rides a little lower than the Indian and South American versions, and its ride and handling are much more in keeping with European tastes.
“I kept telling them to make it as good as the Fiesta,” said Palmer. “I reckon they’ve succeeded.”