Its product placement crew should have been ecstatic. The tiny new European Ford Ka seems within the new Bond film “Quantum of Solace.” It is about the one car in the entire movie that is not smashed up. And it is pushed (in a rush) by Bond woman Olga Kurylenko. And it stays clear. And it is shot from stunning brochure-style angles and held in loving close-up.
One other factor the Ka has in its favor. The boss likes it. Again in October we met Alan Mulally in Paris. He’d simply had a spin within the Ka and pronounced himself very taken with its excellence.
Mulally mused to us that it could be value importing to the U.S. His PR crew seemed perplexed as a result of no such plan exists. But it surely’s not truly unimaginable.
That is as a result of the Ka is just a brand new top-hat on the Fiat 500 structure. And Fiat has a plan to carry the five hundred over right here. It will need new engine calibration, and, tougher, modifications to the front-end construction to fulfill U.S. crash necessities. This might imply lengthening the automobile just a little, however it’s possible.
Ford opted to go to mattress with Fiat for its smallest automobile as a result of its personal Fiesta B-car platform was too huge, subtle, and costly. But the price of growing an all-new platform for a automobile to promote at rock-bottom costs can be unimaginable.
Many European sub-B automobiles are co-operations. Toyota and Peugeot collectively promote a sub-Yaris automobile; GM’s Opel division is in with Suzuki. Ford is utilizing the Fiat platform and engines, and the Ka is constructed at a Fiat plant in Poland.
So what’s the Ka? It is a tiny factor. At 143 in., it is shorter than the upcoming Fiesta and the present Mini hatch by 13 in. But its cabin room fairly properly matches the Mini’s since you sit excessive and upright in a form of micro-minivan type.
This tallness makes the Ka really feel awkward, prefer it’s balanced on tiptoes and may topple. Not so. It positively delights in being pushed flat-out. Pitch it into corners ’til its tires howl. Give its microscopic engine full throttle wherever there’s an opportunity. And with this little efficiency, the possibility comes typically. The enjoyable is not within the pace (there is not a lot pace), it is within the sensations of getting the very best out of the machine.
Ford calls the engine a 1.2L, however it’s truly a 1.242, and, hey, each 42 cc counts at this stage. It is a Fiat engine and does certainly include a dose of Italian rev-happy fizz. However we will not faux efficiency is something apart from feeble: It takes 13.1 sec to go 62 mph, and the highest pace stays tantalizingly in need of three figures, at 99 mph.
There’s additionally a diesel, with comparable efficiency and about 10% higher economic system, however that engine prices extra and so will not amortize itself for many patrons.
The Euro take a look at at all times provides higher outcomes than the EPA cycle. So to get an thought of the Ka’s economic system, it is best to check car-to-car slightly than use absolute numbers. On the Euro-cycle, the Ka is about 3% extra economical than a base MINI Cooper.
On such a brief wheelbase, the journey is inevitably turbulent. However at the least it takes the sharp edges off the worst of a highway floor — barely higher than its Fiat twin truly. Sadly, it feeds numerous tire roar into the cabin. The Fiesta is way extra civilized in that regard.
The most effective factor in regards to the suspension is that till terminal understeer is reached it permits the Ka its pure agility, whereas preserving issues safely steady out on the freeway.
The cabin is trendy, a 3D riot of angles and edges and colours. This factor is chasing the youth market laborious. Perceived high quality is beneath the Fiesta, positive, however above the Korean competitors. Choices embody Bluetooth cellphone hookup with voice actuation, and a USB port for tunes. The selection of seat materials and accent inside garnishes is large and flamboyant. Order rigorously: If you have to reside with it daily, do you really need fascia inlays in Kermit inexperienced?
Even so, the Ka fits a sure diploma of dressing up as a result of what’s beneath is sweet. Ford continues to show that poverty-spec automobiles do not equate to emotional impoverishment.
|2008 FORD KA|
|Automobile Format||Entrance engine, FWD, 4-pass, 2-door hatch|
|Engines||1.2L/69-hp/76-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4; 1.3L/75-hp/107-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve I-4 diesel|
|Curb Weight||2100 lb gasoline – 2350lb diesel (mfr)|
|Size x Width x Top||142.8 x 65.2 x 59.3 in|
|0-62 mph||13.1 sec (mfr est)|
|EPA Metropolis/Hwy Econ||29-38/37-45 mpg (MT est)|
|CO2 Emissions||0.54-0.60 lb/mile (est)|
|On Sale In U.S.||2010 if in any respect|