By Bill McCarthy
Not so much a ‘baby’ the KA, a dinky, quirky-looking little city car when it first arrived on the scene, has grown and grown.
It’s second incarnation gave it a more traditional look, while the third generation the KA+ looks like an earlier Fiesta and the muscular Active version here, looks like a mini-crossover/SUV with increased ride height and rugged exterior styling. This includes integrated roof bars, extra cladding, new front and rear bumpers, standard foglamps and daylight running lamps.
Less of a baby and more of a grown up with, says Ford (I didn’t have a chance to test this), room for five adults. It looked a bit tight to me I have to say, but no doubt a third could be squeezed in.
It also features a new 1.2-litre three cylinder petrol engine on this model and a highly economical 1.5-litre diesel engine.
The petrol, despite having larger capacity, does not feature EcoBoost and therefore performance is not as strong as the turbocharged 1.0 three cylinder, but still more than adequate and economical too with a claimed 50-odd mpg.
Like its bigger siblings, the Fiesta and Focus, and the standard KA+, it offers plenty of hi-tech kit. But it lacks the sharp styling, partly because of its crossover type practicality.
Connectivity comes via Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment which includesboth AppleCarPlayand Android phone through the6.5-inch touchscreen.
It also has Quickclear heated windscreen, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps and other electrical and electronic goodies.
The interior highlights include grained finish on the instrument panel and durable trim materials in a stylish dark charcoal colour scheme.
The cabin has a pleasant ambience, feeling light and airy, with eye-catching stitching to upholstery and leather covered steering wheel and neat chrome detailing throughout.
Controls, especially the touchscreen are very intuitive and easy to use while switchgear is robust and logically placed.
The increased ride height givesgood visibility andfour are definitely seated in comfort with decent head and legroom for such a small car.
On the road the 85ps engine is never going to set the adrenaline rushing, hitting 60mph at a leisurely 13.5 seoonds. Around town it potters along nicely, but is equally at home on the motorway where it cruises comfortably.
Handling is good and it feels feels well planted and like most Fords, offers sharp, direct steering. The wheel in each corner design means that in spite of its higher ground clearance there is literally no body roll on corners and its fairly dinky size makes it easy to park.
Boot space with the rear seat in situ is a fairly modest 270litres, but this increases topretty spacious 1,029litres with them folded.
Like all Fords, there is a comprehensive range of safety gear, including six airbags, electronic stability control, assisted braking and tyre pressure monitoring.
Ford KA+ Active 1.2
Mechanical: 185ps, 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
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles