As the current worldwide trend dictates that smaller is better when purchasing anything from a cell phone to an MP3 player, a computer to a camera – Ford continues the shrinking trend with its newest introduction. The small but stylish FordKa.

A city car with all the right credential’s the FordKa is set to entertain no matter what the application. From cruising the high street, to shopping or picking up the kids, the key word when it comes to the FordKa is fun.

A combination of individual looks, great practicality and driving appeal make FordKa the epitome of what a small “Ka” should be. The cheerful Ford brings a new flavour to the sub-B segment and is set to appeal to those with a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

As the most affordable vehicle in the Ford line-up the FordKa is likely to attract a number of new customers to the Ford marque – customers that may not have had the opportunity to buy a Ford in the past, or any vehicle for that matter.

“The Ford Ka has enjoyed overwhelming success in the European market,” explains Ford Marketing Manager Neale Hill. “The FordKa has been instrumental in attracting new buyers to the Ford brand. A full 65% of new FordKa customers did not own a Ford prior to purchasing their FordKa. Similarly we are looking to attract new, younger buyers to the Ford brand with the introduction of the Ka to the South African market.”

Behind the wheel of the FordKa you’ll notice a lot of broad smiles and double takes coming your way, but FordKa’s unique appeal is by no means limited to edgy, vogue design cues. Engineers were guided by strict parameters when designing the FordKa – it had to maintain Ford’s drive towards advanced vehicle dynamics.

The result is a fun-to-drive, responsive city car that boasts an accomplished chassis system. It possesses great levels of manoeuvrability, entertaining handling characteristics and an excellent ride.

The FordKa is a three-door hatch back with compact dimensions; it is just 3.62meters in length with a wheelbase that stretches 2.44meters. The wheel-in-each-corner recipe, spiced up with a long wheel base and short front and rear overhangs is the key contributing factor when it comes to the FordKa’s dynamic accomplishments.

Thanks to its rack-and-pinion design power assisted steering the FordKa is easily manoeuvrable and light to operate at low speeds while steering remains communicative at higher speeds. Well balanced with optimum grip levels, the FordKa will keep the accomplished driver entertained while the novice will find it predictable and user-friendly.

The FordKa features a twist beam rear axle and Independent MacPherson strut suspension. A front anti-roll bar and an anti-roll torsion feature in the rear axle, reduce body roll to a minimum.

At the heart of the FordKa lies a 1.3-litre RoCam power plant. Currently both the Bantam and Ikon are equipped with this engine, which has proven itself for low fuel consumption and long-term engine durability. Manufactured in Ford Motor Company’s Engine Plant in Port Elizabeth the RoCam engine has been specially calibrated to be flexible and responsive around town.

The engine has 51kW on offer at 5500rpm and 106Nm available at a low 3000rpm. The free-revving motor offers strong bottom end torque and dependably low fuel consumption for perfectly balanced urban driveability.

The 1 297cc engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox equipped with a hydraulically-operated clutch system.

Darting around the inner city is exactly what the FordKa is all about. But that is not to say that Ka is not at home on the open road. In fact the Ka’s comfortable ride and well supported seats relate to an enjoyable long distance journey. In addition the NVH levels have been reduced to a minimum thanks to an aerodynamically efficient design as well as attention to design detail.

The Ford Ka clocks the 0-100km/h sprint in 13.7 seconds and offers a top speed of 167km/h on the open road. Fuel consumption is measured at just 5.1litres/100km on the extra urban cycle and 8.9litres/100km in the urban jungle. On the combined cycle the FordKa is able to consistently return figures of 6.5litres/100km.

Stopping power comes by way of ventilated disc brakes at the front and drums at the rear while the ABS braking system further aids the overall safety of passengers. Side impact bars are integrated into the doors while energy-absorbing crumple zones are in place in the front and rear of the vehicle. A driver airbag is a standard fitment.

The FordKa is available in a wide variety of youthful and bright body colours. Full body colour bumpers, black door handles and black exterior mirrors as well as tinted glass and 14” alloy wheels perfectly compliment the sharp angles and complex structural forms that make the FordKa so appealing.

Style comes at no sacrifice to practicality. The car’s interior is modern and inviting but above all else, functional. Controls are logically presented towards the driver making for an ergonomically efficient environment. Thanks to its long wheel base interior space has been cleverly optimised.

The FordKa boasts many rounded areas and small storage compartments throughout the cabin as well as a passenger’s glove box and deep rear passenger bin with lid. Luggage capacity varies between 186 litres, with all four seats in position and 724 litres with the two rear seats folded forward.

Additional creature comforts are on offer such as standard air conditioning, optional radio/CD player with 2 speakers, tinted glass, manually adjustable front seats, an accessory socket and three cup holder recesses. A tail gate wiper, heated rear window, headlamp levelling switch, lights-on warning chime and dipping rear-view mirror are additional features of the affordable FordKa.

A 13″ spare wheel comes as a welcome addition as does the inclusion of a lockable fuel cap, lockable wheel nuts, lockable steering column, Ford’s immobiliser system known as Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS) and the visible Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

Metallic paint can be added to the options list. Ford Protect also offers a range of Scheduled Service and Maintenance Plans, from 3 year / 60 000km upwards, as an added option.

Service intervals are pegged at lengthy 20 000km intervals with a 3-year/100 000km warranty and five-year Corrosion Warranty. Another invaluable feature is the Ford Protect 3-year/ unlimited mileage Road Side Assistance package with an industry first, stand by me security protection. This unique service comprises of a security guard being dispatched to the stranded motorist until they are mobile again, a particularly thoughtful service for a product which is expected to attract a large number of female drivers.

“We believe the FordKa possesses a unique character combining form, fun and function,” concludes Marketing Manager, Neale Hill. “With its eye-catching exterior design, a responsive, fun-to-drive, environment friendly and economical power train, it is easy to see why the FordKa has elicited such devotion around the globe.”