2017 Ford Ka+

There’s a gap in Ford’s range which the Ka Plus is going to fill. We hoped it wouldn’t happen but it did.

2017 Ford Ka Plus: AutoExpress.com
2017 Ford Ka Plus: AutoExpress.com

The Ka Plus is promised to be more than a low-price five-door car, filling a gap in the constellation of price points connecting the Ka to the Fiesta. According to reports the Ka Plus is built on the Fiesta platform which makes the car really a Fiesta Minus, doesn’t it? The design for the Ka Plus originated in 2013, aimed at conservative buyers in developing countries.

The Ford explanation is that the Fiesta is going to be replaced in 2017 and in so doing will become larger and more upmarket (they always say that). That leaves a space for what the old Fiesta was, a straightforward smallish car. The bloke from Ford says they’ll be “exploring a more emotional Fiesta” as a consequence.

Again, reminiscent of Renault’s designer criticising the outgoing Scenic, this is a kick at what is a pretty decent car and one a long way from VW´s glacially cool approach. The Fiesta is a fun car and now Ford is telling us they think it isn’t emotional enough. At the same time they present a new car which is, I suppose, not going to be especially emotional. Or what? The car has to have Ford’s DCDQ character which brings fun-to-drive with it. And that makes it emotional?

I don’t know what to make of this. Made in India, apparently. It’s a fun-to-drive five door car that’s cheap to run and has milquetoast styling or it’s a new version of the existing fun-to-drive car which we’re now told isn’t emotional enough. And the three door Ka will be no more.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

21 thoughts on “2017 Ford Ka+”

  1. Unlearn Ka? Also Unlearn Fiesta, which is now apparently going to cry copiously whenever it sees a newborn child or a sad newspaper headline.

  2. It does annoy me, this. Calling this thing a Ka is a disrespect to the original, and then having a pop at the super-successful and terrific to drive current Fiesta is just crass. Ford is returning to its old cynical, Escort Mk4/ Fiesta Mk3 days of churning out cars to a cost and price and spinning the market a line about how great they are. Bring back RPJ.

    1. Indeed. There’s nothing Ka about this car which may actually be a useful and pleasant vehicle. I was under the impression the Fiesta was respected, popular and purchased in great numbers. Most people like the appearance and character of the car. So why does it need to get “emotional”. If Alfa Romeo marketed a car with exactly the same dynamics as the Fiesta motoring scribes would be hailing it as the second coming. Thus making a Fiesta that is allegedly more emotional and more upmarket is as wrong as trying to attach the Ka name to the car shown above.
      Expedience and woolly thinking might be at play here.

  3. I commented on the recent Unlearn story that I am concerned that Ford does not think its investment in making their mainstream models good to drive has paid off. This is a concern. The current Fiesta does not have particularly sophisticated underpinnings (although the 3 cylinder drive train was at the forefront of current small car thinking) but it’s all about the calibration – that is to say, engineers driving thousands of miles to ensure that the hardware works as well as possible and the controls are well matched.

    As for this new Ford Ka, the European launch blurb is misleading. This car is already on sale in Brazil and other markets, where small hatchbacks need to be cheap. It is simply an extension of One Ford, and the market for cheap small cars has gone towards 5 door models (which makes the existing Euro Ka even less appealing).

    1. Ford has very likely already made that decision Jacomo. Even if customers were aware of how well judged their new Ford’s control inputs felt, as an intangible they couldn’t quantify it, or use it to impress their friends. Moreover, while Ford could argue it represented added value, as an intangible they were unable to charge a premium for it. Result: no net gain.

      This is not to say that the lessons of the poorly received EcoSport won’t have been learned and applied to the on again, off again Ka. Ford’s European arm will have spent some time finessing it to acceptable standards, but given what its like to be up against, it doesn’t have to be brilliant – merely competent.

      Ford believes there is a market for something like this Ka, which will have been relatively inexpensive to develop and can be sold globally. We’ll see if they’re right. If they are, it will vindicate the less is more approach. More interesting will be what they choose to do with the upcoming Fiesta, which is their sales leader without which they’d probably be out of business in Europe.

      Richard: The abandonment of 2-door models is an industry-wide trend. Five doors sell better and with the need to shave costs and abandon loss-making lines, the three-door is getting the boot. I’m staggered VW still make a three-door Golf. What’s the betting it’s the last time they do?

    2. I hope you’re wrong Eóin. Three door models always look better and tend to be the ones used in photo shoots for the sporty GTis etc. Opel has made a big deal over their sporty looking 3 door Astra over the previous 2 gens and I thought they also looked well. I will admit that despite the valiant effort in the 90s the brava/bravo duo left a little to be desired and the Stilo even more so. The current Fiesta also looks better with fewer doors. They are also cheaper to buy and with the b pillar further back the seatbelt is much more snug and safer. Long live the three door hatch.

    3. Mick: The three-door Golf VII is a handsome car, almost as nice as the IV, but when did you last see one? I’d put money on this being the last – especially given VW’s urgent need to cut costs. There appears to be no plans for a three-door nu-Astra, Renault’s latest Megane is five-door only, as is the Clio. Peugeot 308? Five-door only. VW are ditching the three-door Polo. There won’t be a three-door Tipo, and so on. Looks are subjective, but on the basis of sales, most of the major manufacturers are pushing back on this. I suspect the next Fiesta will continue this trend, especially as it’s rumoured to be bigger and more upmarket. Within five years three-doors will most likely be extinct in the C-segment and very rare in the B-sector.

    4. Very sad but maybe there is a glimmer of hope from the east? Neither Kia’s nor Hyundai’s original c’eed or i30 were produced as a three door and now both the 2nd gens are. Not sure what the figures are but I still see a lot of car/van golfs ( no back seats/windows). You are right the mark VII Does look great as a three door, maybe the commercial version will get the next gen over the line.

  4. Ever since it moved away from the cheerful brashness of the Dagenham Dustbin and its like, Ford has had occasional crises of confidence, certainly in styling and now, even worse, possibly in engineering. You almost get the idea that Ford doesn’t actually realise how well respected their products are. If cars like this and the Ecosport don’t measure up, in the new World of One Ford, no-one is going to differentiate. Unlearn Reputation?

  5. this car is also produced here in Brazil and is fitted with 1-litre and 1.5-litre engines. as you can see in the pictures, as you already noted, it has nothing to do with the original Ka, but the worst offence is the saloon version:

    or, actually, the 2nd-gen Brazilian Ka was even worst. can you imagine a New Edge design created at the heyday of Ford’s Kinetic styling?


    1. Eduardo, I’m speechless. Does this one rust with the same enthusiasm as the original? I genuinely hope so.

  6. Mick and Eoin: you’re both right. Three door cars look better than the five doors and the public don’t care. We’re witnessing the death of the coupe again, but with an extra door. As I might have said elsewhere, customers are acting as if they all had two small kids to transport – in which case a two and three door car is trouble. The overall trend is the dominance of hatchy things with five doors. There’s nothing a five door hatch can’t do. BMW and Porsche and Mercedes all make them.

  7. Another thing, not only don’t Ford seem to appreciate the affection (even in Eoin to a degree) that the original is held in, but also they don’t seem to understand the value of the name. It’s not a massively clever thing, but Ford got there first in calling a car, a car. The Ka name has value in itself, but only works as two simple letters. It’s completely devalued by calling it the Ka Plus. But what is replacing the existing Ka? The Ka Minus?

    Will the new Fiesta be as big as a 1972 Granada?

  8. In the near future the only three door cars will be those that offer a more coupe-like experience, e.g. the current Astra, and can thus be priced at a premium. Ford, with its current risk adverse mindset, will not be among them. Nor will the oft mooted follow up to the Capri appear any time soon; as VW has found with the Scirocco, the numbers simply do not stack up. Still, I am not complaining. After all, why bother with the Capri when you can have a Mustang?

    Being of the age where children and the practicality thereof is a consideration, I often find myself correcting people when they question my choice of a three door car. In actuality, it can be easier to lift a child into a rear child seat in a three door, as you are stepping into the car and lifting the child whilst approaching their seat from straight ahead. The main considerations here are how wide the front door aperture is, and how far the front seat slides forward. In these respects my old three door Civic was tremendously practical; the Clio, less so.

  9. As I mentioned in comments for the Unlearned article, Ford’s focus on driving dynamics is an underplayed USP. That their advertising does not spotlight this point is a strange decision, as it is one that can be easily missed by the consumer, yet is performed with their interests at heart. I am put in mind of the famous Lemon advert for the VW Beetle, in which an intangible part of the manufacturing process is made the focus of the advert. This style of advertising is wholly inclusive, gifting the advertiser, the product and the consumer a warm and fuzzy halo.

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