Ford Ka+ Launch Drive

Ford's new budget small car

The new Ford Ka+ is arriving in Ireland this month

The Ford Ka is back, but not as we know it.

The Mk1 Ford Ka was one of the most distinct cars of the 1990s and reached notoriety, but the Mk2 that debuted in 2009 failed to take off in the same way.

But acknowledging a customer preference for a budget, five door small car in the shape of the Hyundai i10 and Opel Karl, Ford has responded with the Ka+. It’s a Ka that’s grown to accomodate five doors and five seats and with a starting price of €13,050, the Ka+ looks like very good value indeed.

In styling terms, the new Ka+ is perfectly acceptable, but like most of its rivals, style icon it is not. It’s slightly shorter than the Fiesta but just under three centimetres taller and sports a miniature version of Ford’s new characteristic trapezoidal grille that makes the Ka+ a cohesive member of the new Ford family.

Inside the Ka+ bears many Ford interior trademarks but it is altogether more streamlined and that’s in its favour.

Ford Ka+
The interior of the new Ford Ka+

The perceived quality of the interior is also good for a small, budget car built in India for the European market. The interior space feels roomy for the city car class, and the 270 litre boot is also generous.

60/40 split-folding rear seats and a good amount of storage spaces throughout the cabin boost practicality.

In response to the smartphone generation, a MyFord Dock in the centre of the instrument panel can be used to store, mount and charge mobile devices such as phones and navigation systems.

In Ireland there will be two trim levels offered – Studio and Zetec. Studio models (from €13,050) include 15” steel wheels, chrome upper grille, front fogs and daytime running lights, AM/FM Radio with device dock, speed limiter, Electronic Stability Programme (ESP), trip computer and perimeter alarm with remote central locking.

Zetec models (from €14,650) add manual air-conditioning, 15” alloy wheels, Ford SYNC with AppLink, leather steering wheel, cruise control and MyKey.

Power comes from a 1.2-litre engine with two power outputs. A 70hp version is exclusive to the Studio trim and an 85hp version is exclusive to the Zetec. A five speed manual comes as standard.

On a drive around East London, our 1.2-litre, 85hp Ka+ was energetic enough for the suburban setting of our test route and also suitably refined with no obtrusive road, wind or engine noise. Early indications would be that it has the same ‘fun factor’ that makes the Fiesta such a success, with a nice elastic feel to the steering on turn in that enhances that feeling of being connected to the road.

Both 70 and 85hp versions of the 1.2-litre engine qualify for motor tax of €200 per year, with claimed fuel economy of up to 56.5 mpg.

Ford Ka+ Ireland
The new Ford Ka+, five door budget city car

The Ford Ka+ is arriving in Ireland this month.

Caroline Kidd

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