Although the Ka+ was first revealed as a concept in 2013, Ford engineers have tweaked the styling and interior to give it a more European flavour. Under the skin the new five-door only model sits on the current Ford Fiesta platform with a similar wheelbase and 4,000mm length.
“The B-car value segment is exploding,” Ford of Europe boss Jim Farley told Auto Express, “Sales have doubled in the past few years. So we’re replacing Ka with Ka+ to compete in that segment" - competing with cars like the Hyundai i10.
“Don’t just think of it as a cheap car,” said Farley, “It’s very roomy, will have very low cost of ownership and it’ll have the driving dynamics of a Fiesta.”
Although Ford hasn’t released many details of the new Ka+, it will share engines with the current Fiesta but will likely do without the most powerful Ecoboost turbo petrols.
However, a new Fiesta is due to arrive in 2017, allowing Ford to position the car further away from Ka+ – so expect it to be bigger and more upmarket.
“This new car enables us to explore a more emotional Fiesta,” Farley told us. And when asked to explain what Ford means when it talks about producing more emotional cars, Farley said: “We want to give the mainstream customer the feeling of a speciality car, like the Ford Mustang or Focus RS, because it will have a strong personality.”
Inside, the Ka+ will be available with luxury features like a 4.2-inch infotainment screen in the centre of the car and a 2.3-inch TFT display between the main instruments. It’ll also get climate control and a leather steering wheel.
With prices set to start at around £8,000 – not far from Vauxhall’s Viva – top-spec Ka+ models are unlikely to cost more than £10,000. And to keep costs down, the car is likely to be built (and sold) in a developing market, with Ford’s plant in India the most likely production site.
Although Ford was clear to point out that the Ka+ is a one-off model with no immediate plans for anything other than a five-door car, Jim Farley responded to questions asking about the potential of other budget Ka models by saying, “We’d never say never. It’s a huge market with lots of customers out there.”
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