There are two key reasons why the new Ford Ka doesn’t quite hit the spot.
One, the old Ka was a legend in its own lifetime, a genuine rule-breaker for Ford of Europe, on which the new model was always going to struggle to improve. Two, it is not – unlike the Mk1 – a clean-sheet design. And in the end, no matter how good a job Ford’s engineers might have done, they were playing with one hand tied behind their backs.
The biggest problem the Mk2 Ka has is that the world has moved on around it. Back in the day, there was nothing to rival the cheeky Ka’s sense of fun, style and low running costs; it was a great drive, too. These days, rivals are plenty and many of them do it better, not least in terms of value.
Fiat’s 500 is the more desirable of the two cars by a country mile, with better looks inside and out. The Ford may be the better drive, but city car buyers are more attracted to the Fiat and it’s easy to see why.
Then there are the likes of the VW Up, Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto, both showing Ford a thing or two about value, which is all important in city car buyers’ minds. For example, Ford’s three-year warranty seems stingy when compared with the Hyundai’s five-year and the Kia’s seven-year cover.
As a result, the new Ka seems ever so slightly disappointing overall, even though in isolation it is a thoroughly capable little car – one with class-leading packaging and performance, excellent safety credentials and an all but unrivalled range of options. This may seem like a rather unfair way in which to judge Ford’s efforts, but the Ka only just managed to compete.
Hence making Ford's decision to drop it from the line-up all the easier, especially, as the new Ka+ shares its underpinning with the Fiesta and is aiming to benefit in the space that Skoda, Kia and Hyundai are vacating as they look to move upmarket.