Vehicle Reviews

Ford KA+ - Review Of The Week

Ford's KA+ now seems to offer a very complete citycar proposition, with an improved 1.2-litre petrol engine, an extra diesel option and a crossover-style 'Active' derivative. There's also upgraded infotainment, a smarter look and a better-quality cabin. As before though, this model's key attributes remain class-leading driving dynamics and a particularly spacious cabin. Potentially, there's a lot to like here.

Under the bonnet, nearly all Ford KA+ models will be sold with 1.2-litre petrol power. That was the case with the original version of this model but with this revised version, Ford has carried over the three-cylinder Ti-VCT unit from the current Fiesta. As before, this is available in a choice of either 70 or 85PS outputs. In an unusual move, Ford has also decided that customers in the citycar sector might like the option of a diesel engine, so is offering the 95PS version of its 1.5-litre TDCi powerplant in this revised model line-up.

Don't expect the driving dynamics to have changed much. The KA+ may be a South American-conceived, Indian-made product but it's been thoroughly re-developed for Western markets. A chassis specification engineered to meet European driving expectations offers a unique front sub-frame, and suspension components including springs, dampers, rear torsion beam axle optimised for Europe's roads. Enhanced door seals, sound proofing and aerodynamics are designed to reduce road and wind noise in the cabin. In addition, the KA+ Active features a wider track, larger front anti-roll bar and uniquely tuned Electronic Power Assisted Steering, for optimised crossover handling. Retuned dampers feature a hydraulic rebound stopper for a smoother ride over harsh surfaces.

The KA+ is, as it should be, Ford's smallest car - but only just. Get out the tape measure and you'll find it to be a fraction shorter than a Fiesta, but a little taller. As for the visual changes made to this revised version, well at the front, there's a high-mounted trapezoidal grille and large, swept-back headlamps, in keeping with Ford's latest design language.

Ford KA+ - Review Of The Week

A smarter mesh grille features a chrome surround, and standard foglamps and daylight running lamps are highlighted with a distinctive C-shaped chrome detail strip, echoed by a C-shaped moulding at each corner of the rear bumper. Restyled front and rear bumpers contribute to the more assertive look.

The additional 'KA+ Active' variant that's been added to the range features a ride height raised by 23mm and exterior styling enhanced with additional rocker and wheel-arch mouldings, a unique black finish for the upper and lower front grilles, and roof rails for carrying bikes and sports equipment. Inside, a smarter instrument panel finish and extra chrome cabin accents lift the cabin ambiance a bit but the main change is the addition of the tablet-inspired 6.5-inch colour touchscreen of the SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system. As before, rear seat passenger space is class-leading. And there's a decent 270-litre boot too.

Ford was too long without a meaningful contender in the Citycar segment but this KA+ has thoroughly corrected that oversight. This improved KA+ model offers evidence that the Blue Oval brand is starting to get the hang of the whole 'global car' thing. Having a product for every market is fine, provided the design in question can be tuned for the needs and preferences of different continents - in the way this KA+ has been.

That's not to say it wouldn't be better if it'd been created from scratch for Europe like a rival Volkswagen up! or Peugeot 108 - it probably would be. But by careful development of this South American-conceived, Indian-made package, Ford has been able to narrow the gap to established class contenders like these. The driving dynamics in fact are class-leading.

Add in the low asking prices, the rock bottom insurance ratings and the impressive new SYNC media connectivity system and you've a very strong class contender indeed. In short, the KA, it seems, has come of age.

Click here to find out more about our Ford KA+ range