Fiesta-based five-door is a cut-price runabout for budget-conscious city drivers
The Ka+ is not a Ka. Under the skin, it’s based on the platform from the Fiesta.
Said skin is a body designed to prioritise cabin space over cargo capacity. It’s a five-door affair which looks a bit inelegant but dishes up roomy transport for the lowest possible price.
Put another way, this is personal transport for those who can’t afford a Range Rover. It’s Ford’s admission that things like the Vauxhall Viva and Dacia Sandero are relevant to too many people to be ignored.
It looks very similar to a car Ford sells in India. But there are differences, because apparently the European market isn’t quite the same as that.
2017 Ford Ka+ Zetec 1.2 85
Engine1.2-litre, four-cylinder, petro
Gearbox: Five-speed manual
Top speed: 104mph
Fuel economy: 56.5mpg (combined
CO2 emissions: 114g/km
The engine is a 1.2 Ti-VCT, which stands for heaven only knows what and produces a choice of 69 or 84bhp outputs. It’s meant to be an urban car, so the gear ratios have been chosen very sensibly to let you birl about in town without constantly running out of revs, though of course this means any sort of speed, or acceleration, comes with a side order of frantic, pained noise.
This makes for an unrefined cabin, which is in keeping as it’s also a properly el cheapo cabin. If you like hard, scratchy plastic, you’ll barely be able to contain yourself.
On the plus side, despite the compact proportions (and the word ‘Ka’) there’s enough space in here for four adults to tool around town. We’ll take a punt on them not being members of the House of Lords, but as a no-frills motor for young drivers or families on a budget it certainly does the job. It’s well enough equipped, too, whether in low-spec Studio trim or the Zetec model tested here.
Something else it does well is handle – this is a Fiesta deep down, after all. Its suspension is both comfortable and well controlled, its steering a welcome surprise in its feel and weighting. You could certainly enjoy driving this car – though obviously there’s a huge caveat about its engine coming next.
Fact is, they’ve probably got the balance pretty much right. The people who buy a Ka+ aren’t going to be after dynamic thrills, but they’ll appreciate being able to get around briskly and nippily with all the wheel-at-each-corner zest of a good car-about-town.
They’ll also appreciate being able to get their friends on board with them, and ultimately that’s what the Ka+ is all about: mobility. It looks frumpy, it feels cheap and it couldn’t pull the skin off a rice pudding, but so what? It’ll cost the minimum of money and leave you to make the most of life when you’re not doing something as boring as driving.