18 November 2003

Ford is to extend the life of the Ka city car to up to 13 years, after delaying a decision on a replacement.

A new Ka still isn’t fixed in Ford’s future model plan after replacement designs were panned in customer clinics.

The next-generation Ka was built on Ford’s new Fiesta platform – code BE256 – styled to reflect the corporate look of the Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo.

But when the new design was shown to customers – most of whom were female – it was criticised for not being in the cheeky spirit of today’s Ka, launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1996.

‘Many owners are quite conservative and didn’t want to see any changes to the car they love,’ said an insider, ‘so we’re not in any rush to replace it.’

Instead of a new model, Ford is expected to launch an engineering revamp in 2008.

This is reputed to feature the new 67bhp 1.4-litre diesel from the Fiesta and a 16v Zetec, probably the 74bhp 1.25-litre.

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These changes are expected to keep the Ka fresh until a new model arrives by 2010.

Strong sales are helping to keep today’s Ka alive; in the UK it outsells its nearest competitor, the Citroën Saxo, by three to one and has an astonishing 48 per cent of a market segment that includes the Peugeot 106, VW Lupo, Seat Arosa and Daewoo Matiz.

That’s the strongest position of any Ford model. The Focus is Ford’s number two, with 24 per cent of the C segment and the Mondeo third with 20 per cent of the D segment.

However, the Ka is facing renewed competition. Fiat launches the new Panda next February and supplies of Citroën’s C2 are increasing.

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Our Verdict

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is an easy and very visible route to greenness, even if its reputation as the minicab of choice for UK drivers is now impossible to shake off

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Driven this week