Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Feisty Little Car Arrives in Just the Right Place at Right Time

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Feisty Little Car Arrives in Just the Right Place at Right Time

Article excerpt

FORD has revealed the new Ka in all its glory as ironically it faces its stiffest competition from the Fiat 500 upon which it is based.

The joint venture between the two motor manufacturing giants is designed to spread the cost of designing and producing a small car, which earns less profit than a big one.

Ford uses the Fiat platform and engines but modifies most of the rest to create a car with distinctively different ride and handling characteristics and a completely different appearance, using the kinetic design already established on the new Fiesta.

There are just two engine choices - a 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.3-litre diesel, with the latter making less sense because it costs so much more.

The chances of ever recouping the pounds 700 extra for the Zetec diesel over the Zetec petrol model are slim, even though the economy advantage is more than 10 miles per gallon.

The actual prices for the range are pounds 7,995 for the 1.2-litre Studio, rising by increments of pounds 500 for the Style and Style+ which get progressively more equipment but remain mechanically identical.

At the top of the pile are the petrol and diesel Zetec versions, which cost pounds 9,495 and pounds 10,195.

The Studio model makes do with just two air bags and does not come with split folding rear seats or remote central locking as standard.

These features and others are added as the range progresses, culminating in the Zetec versions that will be the best sellers and include distinctive alloy wheels, remote locking, upgraded instruments and trip computer.

On the road both engines perform well, mated to a slick five-speed manual gearbox but with no automatic option.

The ride feels much more sorted and less bouncy than that of the Fiat, with the limpet-like handling shown to its best advantage during the press drives on the winding mountain roads of Ibiza. …

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