2017 Fiesta to move upmarket as Ford launches budget Ka+

2017 Fiesta to move upmarket as Ford launches budget Ka+

The Ford Ka has now officially been axed from the firm’s model range – and replaced with this: the larger Ka+.

Priced from £8,995, the Ka+ is based on a global platform, built in India and already on sale in South America.

It’s undergone intensive development at the company’s Lommel proving ground in Belgium, with comfort and refinement levels improved to a level that European customers expect, says Ford.

Driving dynamics have been enhanced with a front anti-roll bar that is 47% stiffer than in Asia and South America, while the ride height has been reduced by 10mm. The electronic power steering delivers a faster lock-to-lock ratio, as well as speed-sensitive assistance.

Bigger than the outgoing Ka model, as its name suggests, the Ka+ is in danger of stepping on the Fiesta’s toes. It’s just 40mm shorter than the Fiesta, and 29mm taller, resulting in a spacious interior with enough room for a two-metre-tall passenger to sit behind a two-metre-tall driver.

To prevent a clash between the Ka+ and Fiesta in showrooms, Ford has already axed the entry-level Studio and Style models from the Fiesta range, pushing its start-price up from £10,345 to £13,395.

The base model Fiestas made up just 3.0% of sales in the UK, with most buyers choosing higher-spec Zetec or Titanium. This move upmarket is set to be followed when the outdated Fiesta is finally replaced next year.

Ford isn’t concerned that this small market for the lower-spec Fiestas – and a general apathy for the Ka in recent years – could result in a struggle for the cheaper Ka+.

“Ford has a long history of offering affordable small cars that are practical, economical and fun-to-drive,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s executive vice president and president, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“Ka+ is true to that tradition, packing a huge amount into a compact car that delivers agile driving dynamics and a comfortable interior with class-leading front headroom and rear legroom.”

Ford Ka+: everything you need to know

Ford Ka+: everything you need to know

Ford Ka+ customers will get a choice of two derivatives: the entry-level Studio, costing £8,995 and powered by the same 70hp 1.2-litre petrol engine as the Ka; and the Zetec, starting at £9,995 and available with the 1.2-litre petrol engine in 70hp or 85hp guise.

Fuel efficiency is high on the agenda, says Ford, with features such as regenerative charging and low rolling-resistance tyres fitted as standard. Despite this, the ageing engine returns 56.5mpg and 114g/km CO2 – figures the bigger Fiesta can beat in 1.0-litre Ecoboost form.

Entry-level models feature front fog lights, electric front windows and electrically-operated door mirrors as standard, while the Zetec adds 15-inch alloys, manual air-con, Ford’s SYNC infotainment system and cruise control.

Options include heated front seats, automatic climate control and Ford’s City Pack, consisting of rear parking sensors, power rear windows and heated power folding door mirrors.

Low insurance groups will make the Ka+ desirable to new drivers. The Ka+ Studio is confirmed at group 1E, while the 70hp Zetec is group 2E. The 85hp model is insurance group 5E.

Special edition Ka+ Zetec Black and White models, pictured here, will be available for customers to order later this year. They include a contrasting roof and door mirrors, along with black 15-inch alloys. Based on the top-spec Zetec model, the Black and White editions will only be available with the 85hp 1.2-litre engine.

Web editor at MotoringResearch.com. Drives a 1983 Austin Metro. Tweet me @MR_AndrewBrady.

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