Ford Ka+ makes trad

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Ford Ka+, 2016, front, action
Ford Ka+, 2016, side, action
Ford Ka+, 2016, side
Ford Ka+, 2016, rear, action
Ford Ka+, 2016, interior
Ford Ka+, 2016, door pocket
Ford Ka+, 2016, glovebox
Ford Ka+, 2016, rear seats
Ford Ka+, 2016, cup holders
Ford Ka+, 2016, dashboard
Ford Ka+, 2016, boot release
Ford Ka+, 2016, boot

INTRODUCE a car with four doors, is only a fraction smaller than Britain's top seller, price it from less than £10,000 and then stick a Ford badge on the front - surely that's job done.

With the Ka+ Ford is about to cause ructions in the small car market.

Put simply, the Ka+ has nothing much not to like - possibly with the exception of the lack of a factory-fitted sat nav and a boot that can be opened only by remote control.

The rest is bang on the money and there's not a lot of that needed with the Ka+ priced from £8,995.

It's not the cheapest on the new car lot - £5,995 gets you a Dacia Sandero and there are nine others which also come in below - but it slots in exactly where Ford left off with the last Ka.

The plus mark denotes it's bigger and the Ka+ is more than a foot longer than the Ka and only 2.5 inches shorter than the current Fiesta.

When it comes to size think last-but-one generation Fiesta but with £4,000 off the sticker price and that's the Ka+.

Call it old fashioned but for many the Ka+ will be just the ticket. It looks proper with nothing fancy and it does just what a compact family model should.

The engine is a 1.2-litre petrol tuned to deliver good economy and fair performance. It's available in two power outputs of 70 and 85ps and both have an official fuel return of 56.5mpg with emissions of 114g/km.

There's nothing remarkable about the performance with the lower powered version having a 0 to 60 time of 15.3 seconds and a maximum of 99mph and the 85ps model slightly livelier shaving two seconds off the acceleration time and topping out at 105mph.

Nevertheless, that's all on par with the previous Ka so the newcomer does the job just as before - only it's more user-friendly.

We sampled the Ka+ in higher grade Zetec trim which is priced from £9,995 (£300 more for the 85ps engine) but includes air conditioning, cruise control, Ford's SYNC voice control and connectivity software and the MyKey system which can be used to restrict speeds, audio player volumes and prevent safety equipment such as ESP being disabled if parents are anxious about their youngsters driving the car.

All versions of the Ka+ come with electric front windows and door mirrors, Bluetooth and tyre pressure monitors and options fitted on the car we tried included a special paint job at £745, rear privacy glass, heated front seats and rear parking sensors plus a ‘real' spare wheel which jacked the price to £12,090.

On the road the Ka+ feels like a pair of your favourite slippers, comfy and nicely worn in. The Ka+ sits on Ford's latest small car platform and the handling is as sharp as any other Blue Oval model and it deals adequately with all aspects of modern motoring.

It's a five speed manual only and there's nothing raucous about the engine note but you do have to work the gears to make good progress on open roads. In traffic it's a cinch to drive.

Overall, the Ka+ averaged 38.6mpg according to the trip computer on a run which took in everything from city centre driving and to dual carriageways and country lanes.

Space inside is good and there's plenty of headroom with the Ka+ standing more than an inch higher than a Fiesta. It will take four adults comfortably, five at a squeeze and with four doors access is easy.

Boot capacity ranges from 270 litres to 849 which is slightly smaller than the Fiesta but satisfactory for most everyday needs although the tailgate release is controlled either from a button on the dash or via the key fob. There's no way of opening the boot from the hatch itself.

The interior is fitted with four cupholders in the centre console, good sized front door pockets and glovebox and there's vanity mirrors on each sun visor.

There's nothing shabby about the trim, which on the Zetec model includes a leather covered steering wheel and the dashboard is nicely busy with a good amount of controls sitting below a small display screen housed in a nacelle at the top of the facia.

Connectivity points include a USB and aux-in socket in the centre console as well as 12-volt outlets front and rear. There are also back seat vents and a fold-down armrest in the rear.

Ford is building the Ka+ at a new factory in India and it replaces the second generation Ka which was a joint venture with Fiat. That one was built in Poland alongside the Fiat 500 as a successor to the original Ka which Ford first released in 1996.

As small cars go the Ka+ is big on space, nicely accommodating and does the job in an accomplished fashion.

Its competitive price is backed up with low insurance bandings ranging from group one for the 75ps model - the only five door car in this class to achieve the minimum rating - to group five for the higher powered Zetec.

The funky looks of the previous two Kas may have been ditched but the new Ka+ has a delightful traditional approach that's guaranteed to hit the mark - especially with more mature motorists and that's a rich seam.

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