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13 February 2017

Ka by name, not by nature



FORD weren’t wrong to make a car for those wanting cheap, basic, no-frills transport. The likes of the Dacia Sandero, Vauxhall Viva, Skoda Citigo and Fiat Panda prove that there's a market for them.

A lot of people buy a Ford for that reason alone. But it's also done out of apathy and convenience. There’s a Ford dealer in every town like there are Tesco supermarkets. But I can’t help but think that The Blue Oval was wrong in deciding that the Ka was to be that model in their line-up.

Isn’t the Ka meant to be Ford’s cheapest car? Yes, but there’s more to it than that.

This is the Ka we all know and love. A fun and quirky small car.


You see, when the original Ka was launched 20 years ago back in October 1996. It was quite simply a revelation in the world of small cars and re-wrote the rule book. A quirky town-toddler, with design flair and distinctive features.

Under the skin, concealed a basic small car that was a hoot to drive. That you could chuck it round the bends like a go-kart when attacking the B-roads. Thanks to having the mechanical simplicity of a door hinge, the Ka was also an inexpensive car to buy and run. The original Ka was proof that a cheap car doesn't have to be nasty.

When you look at the latest Ka, it's a far cry from the original. Sure the latest Ka – sorry Ka+ – now in its third incarnation is based on the Fiesta like the original was. But that's where the similarities end. Its quirky looks were binned in favour of something far more ordinary.

There was a time when the Ka was the fun and outgoing younger sibling. The Fiesta in comparison, was the older sibling that was more of being the shy and retiring introvert. Funny how it's all changed.

The new Ka+ is to be the no-frills offering from Ford's range of small cars. Which in effect, replaces the basic and lower spec Fiestas. Considering that the Blue Oval have dropped the Style and Edge trim levels on the Fiesta in recent times. They're concentrating on making the Fiesta the more stylish and glamorous  small car in stark contrast to the Ka.

Like I said before, Ford were right to make a small, basic, no-frills motor built for purpose. The problem is with the nameplate. It's only a Ka by name, but not by nature. None of the ethos from its predecessors has been carried over with no imagination or creativity thrown into it.

Ford should have called it the Popular. A nice nod to the past. The old Ford Popular from the 1950s was also Britain's cheapest new car prior to being the cheapest in their line up. Though many will remember the Popular name on Fords being on the entry-level Escorts and Fiestas from the 1970s and 1980s.

With it being based on a Fiesta. I'm convinced that the Ka+ will be a nice car to drive though. It could well be one for keen drivers who want something that's cheap, and where you can blend in whilst having a bit of fun behind the wheel.

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