Ford Ka

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Ford Ka [1] [2]
Ford Ka
Automotive industryFord Motor Company
Production1996–present
Car classificationCity car
Car body style3-door Hatchback
Internal combustion engineFord Kent (Endura-E)
Ford Duratec
1.3L Straight-4 50 PS (49 hp/37 kW)
1.3L I4 60 PS (59 hp/44 kW)
1.3L I4 70 PS (69 hp/51 kW)
1.6L I4 95 PS (94 hp/70 kW)
Transmission (mechanics)5-speed manual transmission
Wheelbase2448 mm (96.4 in)
Length3620 mm (142.5 in)
Width1639 mm (64.5 in)
Height1413 mm (55.6 in)
Curb weight870 kg (1918 lb)−945 kg (2083 lb)

The Ford Ka is a City car from the Ford Motor Company marketed in Europe and elsewhere. The name is officially pronounced as /kɑː/ (that is, like "car" in Non-rhotic dialects of English) as can be heard in Ford's advertising. The European version is produced in Valencia, Spain, while the one sold in Latin America is built in Brazil and Argentina.

It has been produced since 1996 and is due to enter its second generation in 2009.

Contents

First generation (1996–present)


The car was introduced on September 11, 1996 as a small and low-cost addition to the Ford range. The Ka is based on the same platform as the Mark III Ford Fiesta, but with a radically different external design. Because the Mark IV Fiesta was bigger than the Mark III, the Ka used the Mark III Fiesta's platform. The vehicle was manufactured on the production facility of Almussafes, Valencia (autonomous community). When the Ka was first introduced to the public it provoked mixed reactions due to its original and striking New Edge design, created by Jack Telnack.

Besides the styling, the Ka, like its sister cars Fiesta and Puma, was lauded in the motoring press for its nimble handling. Under Richard Parry-Jones's supervision, the suspension and steering settings allowed for spirited cornering and high levels of grip making it one of the best handling cars of the current generation superminis, not unlike the original Mini.

The main drawback was the Ka's 1300 cc Overhead valve four-cylinder Endura-E engine, a design dating back to the 1960s Kent engine used in the Ford Anglia. Although not very modern, it provided enough torque to allow relaxed if not spirited driving.[3] In 2002, the Endura-E was replaced by the overhead cam Duratec engine, with claims of improved fuel efficiency and increased refinement, mostly caused by taller gearing on the non-air conditioned models.

The Ka has proved highly profitable for Ford despite its low selling price, largely due to the lack of spending required in its development. It has been the best selling car in its class in the United Kingdom for a number of years and commands around a fifth of the city car market.

Sideview of Ka

The Ka in the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom model range consisted of the standard version, the Ka, and the higher specification Ka². The Ka³ was introduced later. Initially, all Kas were delivered as the standard model and upgraded to the higher variants at Ford dealerships, saving on production costs. However, this practice was dropped following the renaming of the Ka² and Ka³ as the Ka Collection and the LuxuryKa (later Ka Luxury).

These offered colour-coded bumpers for the first time, although this lost the designer's original intention of the black plastic bumpers avoiding parking damage to paintwork in city conditions. The Luxury version came with a Quickclear heated windscreen, Leather seats and interior trim as well as standard Air conditioning and Ka Sun Collection with a full-length fabric folding roof was also added to the range during the summer months. A revised line-up gives Ka the following trim levels in the United Kingdom: Studio, Style, Style Climate, Zetec Climate, and SportKa SE. Furthermore, acknowledging the car's impending replacement, as of May 2008, a Finale special edition is available with distinguishing features.

Famous Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney is known to own one. [4]

The Ka in Latin America (1997–2008)

Brazilian-market 2005 Ford Ka
New Brazilian Ka (2008 model)
New Brazilian Ka (2008 model)
Ford StreetKa

In Latin America, the Ka received a facelift in 2003 and is now slightly different externally to the European model; the main noticeable difference is at the rear, with taller lights. The other differences from the European model are the very short Gearbox and the lack of Soundproofing, gradually removed each year since 2000 as a way to Low cost, following what other Brazil car makers previously did. It is powered by either a 95 hp (71 kW) Zetec Rocam 1.6-litre Petrol engine or a 65 hp (48 kW) Zetec Rocam 1.0-litre petrol engine, both of which are four-cylinder units. 108,600 Kas have been sold in Brazil since July 2002, without counting the sales since 1997 (its launch in Brazil).

Ford presented the new Brazilian Ka on 14 December 2007. Sales started on 2 January 2008 in Brazil, and the car will be exported to other markets in Latin America. The car has a longer rear overhang to accommodate a fifth passenger. With a length of 3835 mmm, it now fits in the Subcompact car class.

Mexico

The Ford Ka was officially discontinued in Mexico in early January 2008 due to poor sales since its introduction in late November 2001. The Mexican Ford Ka was the Brazilian model; it has also been announced that the new Brazilian Ka will not be offered in the Mexican market [5].

StreetKa and SportKa

Ford SportKa

In 2003 the Ka brand was diversified, with the addition of a new SportKa featuring a sporty body kit, wider track with stiffened suspension and redesigned 16" alloy wheels. Both models came with slightly widened bumpers front and rear with integral fog lamps. A convertible model called StreetKa also appeared, launched with the help of pop singer Kylie Minogue.

In 2005 all Ka models including Sportka and Streetka received a slightly updated interior bringing the cabin back up to date while still retaining the look and feel of the original. Both Streetka and Sportka received a new 95 hp 1.6-litre Multi-valve Duratec petrol engine, whereas Ka, Ka Collection and LuxuryKa retained the 1.3 Duratec petrol engine.

The SportKa was noted for its surprising advertising campaign, "The Ka's Evil Twin", denouncing the Ka's traditionally perceived "cute" design.

StreetKa ceased to be officially on sale in late 2006.

A Ford KA rally championship was created in 1998 [1] and has proved to be one of the most popular junior rally championships in Britain and Ireland. In 2007 Luke Pinder won the BRC Silverstone Tyre 1400 Championship in a Chris Birkbeck Ford KA.

Reliability

Rust in the welds under the bonnet

The Ka generally has a good reliability record.

However, taper-fit Sparkplugs are notorious for rusting into the Cylinder head. Frequently the head has to be removed and sent to a machine shop when the time comes to change the plugs.

The plastic bumpers were clearly in part intended to prevent wheel arch rust, but instead the Ka is known to rust in the welds under the bonnet and tailgate and where the outer sills are shaped around the doors.

The idle control valve can become blocked, causing an unstable idle and driving difficulties. The part may be replaced or carefully cleaned, ensuring the seal is kept.

Earlier models of Ka suffer from a clutch which is known to not stand the test of time very well and will usually need to be replaced after 30,000 miles (48,000 km). Ford became aware of this problem and it does not affect later models.

Second generation (2009)


Automotive industryFord Motor Company
Production2009
Car classificationCity car
Car body style3-door Hatchback
Internal combustion engineFord Duratec
1.2L 69 PS (68 hp/51 kW)
Ford Duratorq TDCi - Fiat
1.3L 75 PS (74 hp/55 kW)
Transmission (mechanics)5-speed manual transmission
Length3620 mm (142.5 in)
Width1894 mm (74.6 in)-1658 mm (65.3 in) (no side-mirrors)
Height1505 mm (59.3 in)
Curb weight870 kg (1918 lb)

In 2009 the Ka is being replaced with a model co-developed with Fiat using the Fiat Panda platform. [2] [3] It will be produced in Tychy, Poland [4] with its Fiat sister, the Fiat Nuova 500.[6]

The new Ka maintains the curvy styling features of the original, while bringing the look up to date with Ford's Kinetic Design philosophy. It retains the wheel at every corner design; therefore this modern interpretation will be instantly recognisable. Ford promises a cabin featuring 'expressive colours'. This mostly refers to the multichoice interior styling that is provided for the second time in Ford, right after the success of Fiesta's interior design. In addition, the interior can be equipped with hi-tech accessories, such as the Bluetooth connection, wireless voice control, a USB port, a CD Radio-MP3, the AUX connector, the steering wheel controls and at last, a subwoofer and amplifier with 6 high-performance speakers. There are also 3 "individual packs" with special charateristics each (in both the interior and exterior design), called Tattoo, Grand Prix and Digital.

The new Ka comes with 2 different engines, a 1.2 petrol of 69PS-102Nm torque and a 1.3 TDCi Diesel engine of 75PS-145Nm torque, used for the first time in KA and shared with the Fiat 500. Both of them come with sub-120g/km CO2 emmissions (119 for the petrol and 112 for the diesel), making them environmental-friendly. Further more, a 1.4 petrol engine of 100PS-131Nm torque is about to be fitted-on in future. Ford has developed new KA's driving abilities further than Fiat 500, to match with the Ford high-driving standards. New KA has better bump-absorption, fitting a rear anti-rollbar having enabled Ford's engineers to soften the springs by 30 percent and retune the dampers accordingly. Comfort levels, grip, and sheer involvement all benefit. Changes to the steering geometry also give the Ka more linear responses than the 500, although it lacks the communication of it's predecessor. This is because new KA is fitted with standard EPAS: Electric Power-Assisted Steering, which makes it much lighter and ideal for in-city driving. It's also helping save CO2 emmissions, because without hydraulics being involved, there's no pump requiring extra energy [5].

As for safety, the new KA has an overall EuroNCAP rate of 4 stars [6], with standard driver and passenger single-stage front airbags, ABS, Immobiliser, hazard warning lights (all turn indicators flash when emergency braking is applied) and remote-controled cenral double locking (except Studio version in UK which). In addition, there are front side airbags and curtain airbags and Electronic Stability Control (Electronic Stability Program) with HBA (Hyraulic Brake Assist) and HLA (Hill Launch Assist) that come at an extra cost.

The new Ka made its on-screen debut in Quantum of Solace, being driven by Olga Kurylenko in the 22nd James Bond film, and was unveiled in October 2008's Paris Motor Show.

It was confirmed in a radio interview with Ford Motor Company CEO Alan Mulally that the second generation Ka may be introduced to the North American market to satisfy the high demand for smaller, more efficient cars, and to compliment rising sales of the Ford Focus. Such a move would make the Ka Ford's smallest vehicle in North America, beneath the Fiesta.[7]

In popular culture


For several years a modified Ford Ka was installed in the lobby of the London Aquarium to promote Ford's sponsorship of the attraction. The vehicle's doors, windows and vents were sealed and the interior filled with water, forming a home for a shoal of Goldfish. The car's Vehicle registration plate read "KARP", a pun on "Ka" and "carp", to which family goldfish belong. The display has now been removed.

According to the BBC TV's Top Gear (current format) Cool Wall, the Ford Ka collects a 'Cool' rating[8], while the StreetKa enjoys a 'Sub Zero' classification. The SportKa is deemed 'Uncool'.

The Ford SportKa found fame in 2003 with the release of two viral TV adverts: Pigeon and Cat. Ford and advertising agency Ogilvy Mather distanced themselves from the campaign, saying that the creatives behind the advertisements had not been given the go-ahead to make or release them.

A 2002 Ford Ka is driveable in Gran Turismo 2 , Gran Turismo Concept and Gran Turismo 4 (all with the 1.3 Endura-E engine).

References

  1. Kittler, Eberhard (2001). Deutsche Autos seit 1990, vol.6. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. pp. 10-12. ISBN 3-613-02052-1. 
  2. Automobile Revue, catalogue edition 2005, p. 232-33.
  3. "www.fordka.info". http://www.fordka.info/info.php. Retrieved on 2008-10-19. 
  4. Footballers' Drives: Top Ten Premier League footballer's cars - Times Online
  5. http://www.ford.com.mx/vehicles/homeVehicles.asp
  6. Ford Rolls Out Fiat Based New Ka Auto Trends, September 29, 2008. Retrieved September 30, 2008.
  7. Mulally says Ford Ka May Come to U.S.
  8. "Top Gear Ford Ka review". http://www.topgear.com/uk/ford/ka. Retrieved on 2008-10-19. 

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