Ford KA+ Active 1.2

Ti-VCT

Ford KA+, front
Ford KA+, front
Ford Fiesta Active, 2018, interior
Ford KA+, front
Ford KA+, front
Ford KA+, rear
Ford KA+, side
Ford KA+, front
Ford KA+, rear

I ONCE joked that we might one day see a smart SUV or crossover - such has been the urgency to recreate what once used to be large off-roaders in ever smaller packages.

The smart SUV hasn't materialised yet but I suspect it might not be too far off.

In the meantime if you want a dinky scaled-down SUV then you'll need to opt for something like the Ford KA+ Active.

Ford has brought SUV styling flourishes to its smallest car.

It could be the kind of thing that fails miserably but instead the KA+ Active well and truly hits the spot.

In some ways it's rather like the long gone Rover Streetwise.

Way back when, MG Rover thought people might like rougher, tougher looking versions of small cars and the Streetwise was born.

It had elevated ride height, some purposeful plastic body kit added and a few other accoutrements designed to make it look more rugged.

In truth it was probably more to do with MG Rover having a limited budget and in the absence of being able to launch a new model it was a case of getting imaginative to create a new twist on an existing one.

Although the Streetwise never really caught on, in some ways it was ahead of its time and cars like the KA+ Active and the Dacia Sandero Stepway are its spiritual successors.

Compared to a regular KA the Active boasts some chunky plastic body styling, raised ride height and an adapted chassis.

It also has a flashy front grille and an uprated interior, with quite an outdoorsy sort of feel.

This is chiefly evidenced in the all-weather mats for both the cabin and cargo area.

It makes for the kind of interior that you feel you could hose down if necessary - rather like a Land Rover Defender.

The door bins are impressively large and seem to have the capacity to swallow a weekly shop for an enthusiastic imbiber of wine.

Other Active additions include rear privacy glass, roof rails, faux-skid plates on the front and rear bumpers and 15-inch alloy wheels.

Another immensely useful feature is the ability to transport five people rather than four.

All these elements combine to create a city car that has the feel of something much bigger.

The KA+ Active comes generously equipped with buyers getting the latest Ford Sync 3 infotainment system.

Offering both Apple CarPlay and Android phone connectivity I was initially disappointed it didn't also have a sat-nav but having connected my iPhone up to it found the two systems working together were as good, if not better, than any onboard system I have used.

Other standard features include electric windows and door mirrors, a leather steering wheel with cruise control and audio switches, air conditioning, front fog lamps and day running lights.

Engine-wise there's a choice of a 1.2-litre, three-cylinder Ti-VCT petrol engine offering 85bhp and Ford's 95bhp 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine.

This car had the petrol unit, a smooth, efficient and surprisingly potent unit that's very easy to live with.

The driving experience is surprisingly fun overall. The ride height is 23mm higher than a regular KA.

The suspension modifications mean the Active is well able to soak up the lumps and bumps of any road surface with ease.

FAST FACTS

Ford KA+ Active 1.2 Ti-VCT

Price: £13,445

Mechanical: 85ps, 1,198cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 105mph

0-62mph: 13.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 49.6

Insurance Group: 10

C02 emissions: 129g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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