Ford KA1996 - ...
The Ford Ka is a city car from the Ford Motor Company marketed in Europe and elsewhere. The current European version is produced by Fiat Auto in Tychy, Poland, while the model sold in Latin America is built in Brazil and Argentina.
The Ka has been produced since 1996 and entered its second generation in 2008.
The car was introduced on September 11, 1996, as a small and low-cost addition to the Ford range. It was based on the Mark IV Ford Fiesta platform, but with a completely different exterior design. The design borrowed a lot from Ghia's "Saetta" show car, a roadster designed by Filippo Sapino. The vehicle was manufactured on the existing Fiesta production line in Almussafes, Valencia, thus minimising new model investment costs for Ford. The Chief Program Engineer was Kevin O’Neill.
When the Ka was first introduced to the public it provoked mixed reactions, due to its original and striking New Edge design, overseen by Jack Telnack and executed by Claude Lobo.
Besides the fresh styling, the Ka, like its sister cars Fiesta and Puma, was lauded in the motoring press for its nimble handling. Under Richard Parry-Jones' supervision, the suspension and steering settings allowed for spirited cornering and high levels of grip, making it one of the best handling small cars.
At launch, Ka was produced as a single model, with a number of production options including air conditioning, power steering, height-adjustable driver’s seat, adjustable position rear seat with head restraints, passenger airbag, central locking and power windows. Ananti-lock braking system option was added in January 1997.
The main drawback was the Ka's 1300 cc OHV four-cylinder Endura-E engine, a design dating back to the 1950s Kent engine used in the Ford Anglia. Although not very modern, it provided enough torque to allow relaxed if not spirited driving. 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.
For the first three years of production, all models had black plastic bumpers to minimise parking damage to paintwork in city conditions. These bumpers contained a stabiliser to prevent UV degradation which made them unsuitable for painting because the paint would not adhere properly. However, it became clear that many owners wanted body-coloured bumpers, so they were introduced in 1999 using different bumper mouldings (without the stabiliser) which can be identified by a light styling line over the rear bumper.
The Ka has proved highly profitable for Ford despite its low selling price, largely due to its low development costs. In 2006, Ford sold 17,000 examples of the Ka model in the United Kingdom.
A van version was also released.
Ka 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. The United Kingdom model range originally consisted of the base version, the Ka, and the higher specification Ka² which standardised a number of the options listed above. The Ka² badge was fitted by dealers. Ka³ was introduced later. Power steering was added to the specification of the basic Ka after the first year.
Concurrent with the introduction of body-coloured bumpers Ka² and Ka³ were replaced by Ka Collection and the LuxuryKa (later Ka Luxury).
The Luxury version came with a Quickclear heated windscreen, leather seats and interior trim as well as standard air conditioning. A 'Ka Blue' special edition was also launched in the UK with dark blue bumpers and a silvery-blue dashboard insert, rather than the standard models' silver. The Ka Sun Collection with a full-length fabric folding roof was also added to the range during the summer months.
A further line-up revision gave Ka the following trim levels in the United Kingdom: Studio, Style, Style Climate and Zetec Climate. SportKa was also added to the range (see below). With the car's impending replacement, in May 2008 a Finale special edition with distinguishing features was made available.
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" (40 cm) 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 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 93 hp (69 kW) 1.6 litre 8-valve Duratec petrol engine, whereas Ka, Ka Collection, and LuxuryKa retained the 1.3 litre 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 pink version was produced to promote the new Thunderbirds film, and supplied by Ford to the movie producer. The Thunderbird movie cars were unveiled at the Birmingham Motor Show. Only 8 Pink Streetka's were produced by Ford for the film. 5 RHD and 3 LHD all were signed by Sophia Myles (Miss Lady Penelope). The matching Streetka dress designed by Bruce Oldfield of Ford was later sold in an auction during London Fashion Week to raise money for Barnados.
A Ford KA rally championship was created in 1998. It has proved to be one of the most popular junior rally championships (Ford Ka Rally Cup) in Britain and Ireland. In 2007 Luke Pinder won the BRC Silverstone Tyre 1400 Championship in a Chris Birkbeck Ford KA.
Built by the Ford Motorsport (Ford TeamRS) works at Boreham, Essex, The Rally Ka was designed as an entry-level vehicle to compete in a one-make series as part of the British Mintex rally championship. The Ka Championship in 1997 with just four cars in the debut Granite City Rally event. In 1998 fifteen competitors undertook the Mintex challenge. Ford's Boreham airfield facility provides a complete build service for competitors wishing to rally Ka. Most of the parts supplied are concerned with strengthening the car for rallying. Uprated engine mounts and suspension bushes are all included, as is a front strut brace. Aluminium sump and fuel tank guards, OZ Rally wheels and a Safety Devices bolt-in roll cage are all either fitted by the Boreham works or supplied to individual teams. Performance-enhancing modifications are limited to the addition of a Rally spec engine control unit, camshaft and 4-into-2-into-1 extractor set attached to a free-flowing exhaust. This combination lifts power to 80 hp (60 kW), and to cope with it competitors are encouraged to fit the optional uprated drive shafts with larger CV joints. A limited-slip differential and heavier clutch plate are also available. A competition brake package consisting of Mintex pads gripping vented front brake rotors and stronger rear drums is homologated for Rally Ka. Replacing the original shock absorbers is a set of four remote-reservoir Proflex coil-over struts adjustable for compression and rebound damping. These are allied to a lowering kit and adjustable spring platforms to give Ka competitors a wide range of suspension settings including ride height. Inside the Rally Ka is all business. In true rally fashion gone are all but the essentials: the two central eyeball vents are replaced by a tachometer and auxiliary gauge. Even the replacement panels in the dashboard which support the fire extinguisher button and extra switches and gauges required in a rally car are listed in the Boreham parts schedule. A deeply dished rally steering wheel, competition seats and harnesses are all supplied from the kit and replacements are not allowed.
In 2008, the European Ka was replaced with a model developed and produced for Ford by Fiat S.p.A in conjunction with Fiat's own500 vehicle. The car is built in Fiat's Tychy, Poland factory alongside the Fiat 500, Fiat Panda and Lancia Ypsilon.
Despite the wholly different architecture underneath, the new Ka maintains the curved styling features of the original, while bringing the look in line with Ford's Kinetic Design philosophy. It retains the wheel at each corner stance of the previous model. 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 the Fiesta's interior design. In addition, the interior can be equipped with accessories such as Bluetooth phone connection, wireless voice control, a USB port, a CD Radio, MP3, an AUX connector, steering wheel audio controls and a speaker system consisting of six speakers, a subwoofer and an amplifier.
The new Ka comes with a choice of two engines, a 1.2 litre petrol with 69 PS (51 kW) of power and 102 N·m (75 ft·lbf) of torque and a 1.3 litre TDCi diesel engine with 75 PS (55 kW; 74 hp) of power and 145 N·m (107 lb·ft) of torque. Both engines come with sub-120 g/km CO2 emissions (119 for the petrol and 112 for the diesel). Furthermore, a 1.4 litre petrol engine with 100 PS (74 kW) of power and 131 N·m (97 ft·lbf) of torque will be added to the lineup in the future. All three engines are loaned from Fiat.
The main mechanical differentiator between the new Ka and its Fiat sibling is that the Ford has better shock absorption than the Fiat 500. Fitting a rear anti-roll bar enabled 30 percent softer springs and accordingly retuned dampers to improve ride performance over uneven road surfaces. Some of these improvements were subsequently adopted on Fiat 500 Abarth and Fiat 500C models. Changes were also made to the 500's steering geometry for the Ka, although as the new Ka uses an electrically assisted steering system, it lacks the communication of its predecessor's hydraulically assisted steering. However, the electric steering system does make the steering much lighter and more energy efficient than its predecessor.
The new Ka has an overall Euro NCAP safety rating of 4 stars, with standard driver and passenger single stage front airbags, ABS, immobiliser, hazard warning lights and remote central locking (except Studio version in UK). In addition, there are front side airbags and curtain airbags and ESP (Electronic Stability Program) with HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assist) and HLA (Hill Launch Assist) that come at an extra cost.
The new Ka made its debut in the 22nd James Bond film Quantum of Solace, being driven by Olga Kurylenko, and was unveiled in October 2008's Paris Motor Show.
In 2008 there was some speculation that the Ka might be introduced to the North American market. It has since been confirmed however that Ford consider the Ka too small for American tastes and will not be introducing the vehicle to this market.
Studio, Edge, Zetec, Titanium
The third generation Ford Ka is based on the Ford Start Concept and it will be sold globally. The car will be made of recycled materials and have a 1.6-litre three-cylinder petrol engine.
There are also three "Ford Individual packs" with special characteristics each (in both the interior and exterior design), called Tattoo, Grand Prix and Digital. Tattoo was replaced in 2011 by Metal. All Individual models are based on the Zetec.
Over the years the Latin American Ka has become progressively different from the European Ka. The first divergence was in 2003 when the rear of the Latin American made Ka was significantly re-designed. This was followed by a more complete divergence from the European Ka in 2007 when the Latin American made Ka was relaunched with a completely new body over the original platform. With the launch of the 2nd generation European Ka, with a new body and the new Fiat platform, the separation of the European and Latin American Kas was complete. They are now completely different cars. Ford will sell the car in the U.S. and Canada by 2014 or 2015.
From the year 2000 up to the present the Latin American Ka has been powered by either a 94 hp (70 kW; 95 PS) Zetec Rocam 1.6 litre petrol engine or a 64 hp (48 kW; 65 PS) 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).
From its launch in 1997 until 2001 the Latin American Ka was substantially similar to the European Ka, differing only in levels of equipment and trim. The main differences from the European model were the very short manual gearbox and the lack of soundproofing, which was gradually removed each year since 2000 as a way to cut down costs, following the practice of other Brazilian car makers at the time.
In 2001 the Latin American Ka received a facelift which left it slightly different, externally, to the European model; the most noticeable difference was at the rear, where the number plate was moved from the bumper to the boot lid, and the rear lights were made much taller.
Ford presented the new Brazilian Ka on 14 December 2007. Sales started on January 2, 2008 in Brazil, and the car was exported to other markets in Latin America. In comparison to the original Ka this car has a longer rear overhang and a redesigned rear seat to accommodate a fifth passenger. With a length of 3835 mmm, it now fits in the subcompact car class.
And in 2011 presented a face lift version following the kinect concept. In Brazil, only the Sport offers a 1.6cc engine.
In 2008, with the launch of the new European Ka, based on the Fiat platform, the two lines of the Ka had finally become completely separate.
The Ford Ka was officially discontinued in Mexico in early January 2008 when it was announced that the new Brazilian Ka would not be offered in the Mexican market.
In 2010, Mullaly said that the Ford Ka might come to North America, but it has been confirmed that the current model will never be sold in North America. The future model, however, is to be sold there by 2014 or 2015.
|Ford KA II|
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|Ford KA I|
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|Year||Engine code||Fuel||[ccm]||Cylinders||[kW]||[Nm]||No. of
|1996||1.3 endura||gasoline||1 299||4 / In-Line||37 kW||94 Nm||8|
|2002||1.3i||gasoline||1 299||4 / In-Line||51 kW||106 Nm||8|
|Sportka||1.6 i Duratec 8V||gasoline||1 597||4 / In-Line||70 kW||135 Nm||8|
|Streetka||1.6 i Duratec 8V||gasoline||1 597||4 / In-Line||70 kW||135 Nm||8|