Search

Space, value, drive - Ford Ka+ adds up as attractive, affordable small-car package

PUBLISHED: 10:09 01 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:09 01 December 2016

Ford's new Ka+ small car is surprisingly spacious, attractively affordable and makes pleasing progress.

Ford's new Ka+ small car is surprisingly spacious, attractively affordable and makes pleasing progress.

Ford/supplied

It's 20 years since Ford shook up the small car market with the Ka. Now it's done it again with the grown-up Ka+, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

Ford Ka+

Price: Ford Ka+ Zetec 85PS £10,295 (Studio 70PS from £8,995)

Engine: 1,196cc, 85PS, four-cylinder petrol

Performance: 0-62mph 13.3 seconds; top speed 105mph

MPG: Urban 42.8; extra urban 70.6; combined 56.6

CO2 emissions: 114g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 19%

Insurance group: 5E (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 3,929mm; W (excluding door mirrors) 1,695mm; H 1,524mm

Ford Ka+

Ford's new Ka+ small car is surprisingly spacious, attractively affordable and makes pleasing progress. Ford's new Ka+ small car is surprisingly spacious, attractively affordable and makes pleasing progress.

There's a lot of hard plastics but the new Ka+ fascia is distinctly Ford.There's a lot of hard plastics but the new Ka+ fascia is distinctly Ford.

Twenty years ago Ford’s Ka launched its ‘New Edge’ design and redefined the small car market.

Rear seat backs in Ford Ka+ fold down 60/40.Rear seat backs in Ford Ka+ fold down 60/40.

At the time my mother was looking for an affordable small car with power steering, rare then, and I was so impressed with the Ka at launch that within 24 hours she’d ordered one.

Characterful, good to drive and way ahead of its time, it lasted for 12 years but the second-generation Ka, built in Poland by Fiat on the 500 city car platform, was not a worth successor.

Ford's new Ka+ small car is surprisingly spacious, attractively affordable and makes pleasing progress. Ford's new Ka+ small car is surprisingly spacious, attractively affordable and makes pleasing progress.

Now Ford has gone it alone again with the Ka+, a five-door hatchback only 4mm shorter, but 29mm taller, than the Fiesta but priced from £8,995 – hence the slogan ‘Ka+ – big for the price of small’. Built in a new factory in India, Ka+ is about space, practicality and functionality at an affordable price with the Ford driving dynamics European customers expect.

Kevin Griffin, Ford of Britain sales director, said: “It is very important it carried the Ford credentials. This is not something we have taken from another market and brought in.”

Ford's new Ka+ has a deceptively spacious 270-litre boot.Ford's new Ka+ has a deceptively spacious 270-litre boot.

Space and practicality

For a small car, there's good legroom in the back of the Ford Ka+.For a small car, there's good legroom in the back of the Ford Ka+.

Space is a big plus in the Ka+ and Ford has packed it in with class-leading front headroom and rear legroom.

Ford claims there’s enough room for a six-foot passenger to sit behind a six-foot driver –at four inches shorter I had loads of surplus kneeroom, more than in some larger cars.

Useful 270-litre boot takes a decent load of bags.Useful 270-litre boot takes a decent load of bags.

The 270-litre boot is bigger than many top-end sized city cars and comparably-priced models. Rear seat backs split 60/40 for longer, larger loads but don’t fold completely flat and lay proud of the boot floor.

And there’s 21 stowage locations around the cabin for nick-nacks.

Ford's new Ka+ small car is surprisingly spacious, attractively affordable and makes pleasing progress. Ford's new Ka+ small car is surprisingly spacious, attractively affordable and makes pleasing progress.

Under the bonnet

The 1.2-litre petrol engine, equally split between 70 and 85PS guises, is cost-effective, compared to smaller turbo units, to keep the Ka+ simple and affordable.

The 85PS version, only in Zetec, the trim that will be 90% of sales, was more than a match for the cut-and-thrust traffic on the urban test route.

It’s pokey enough to get away smartish and, though the route never went above a 50mph speed limit, it didn’t waste time getting there yet still averaged around 50mpg.

It’s only offered with a five-speed manual gearbox and, pulling around 2,000rpm at 50mph, might get buzzy at motorway speeds.

How it drives

As for the handling, 50mph on straight urban routes isn’t the best test but the Ka+ felt taut and nimble around a couple of quick roundabouts with well-weighted, responsive steering.

What was more impressive though was how grown up it felt to drive, soaking up ripples, ridges, dips and drain covers on roadwork-scarred and pockmarked urban roads without fuss, and that’s probably more important in a runabout.

At the wheel

It’s obvious from the swathes of hard plastic that the Ka+ has been built to a budget but it should be durable and fit and finish are good.

The fascia has that distinctive Ford look which also means a quality action for the sensible switchgear, clear instruments and some chrome accents to break up the dark charcoal colour scheme.

Equipment

Safety is a strong point, starting with nearly 50% of the body in high-strength steel, and all models include six airbags, ABS, stability control with hill start assist, an auto speed limiter and daytime running lights.

Entry-level £8,995 Studio, only with the 70PS engine, includes chrome front grille, front fog lamps, power front windows, electric door mirrors, Bluetooth and USB port, alarm and remote locking.

For £1,000 more, Zetec gets 15in alloy wheels, air-conditioning, voice-activated communications and entertainment system with AppLink, digital radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio controls, cruise control and Ford MyKey so owners can set maximum speed and audio volume limits – ideal for parents allowing young and inexperienced drivers to use the car. The more powerful engine in Zetec adds £300.

Zetec options include £275 electronic climate control, £150 heated front seats, £225 rear privacy glass, £100 spare wheel kit and a £300 city pack of rear parking sensors, power rear windows and heated power folding door mirrors. But £745 for exclusive ruby red paintwork seems pricey.

Final say

Ford is targeting 15,000 sales a year in Britain but, with nearly 3,000 orders already, it looks to be on a winner with the Ka+.

It’s little wonder for the Ka+ is a pretty little car - especially from the front -that wears a trusted badge, drives well and is priced attractively.

Price: Ford Ka+ Zetec 85PS £10,295 (Studio 70PS from £8,995)

Engine: 1,196cc, 85PS, four-cylinder petrol

Performance: 0-62mph 13.3 seconds; top speed 105mph

MPG: Urban 42.8; extra urban 70.6; combined 56.6

CO2 emissions: 114g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 19%

Insurance group: 5E (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 3,929mm; W (excluding door mirrors) 1,695mm; H 1,524mm

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Norwich Evening News

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists