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First look: Ford lets its new Ka out of the bag

Blue Oval baby: Redesigned Ka goes on sale in Europe next year.

Next-generation Ford Ka officially revealed two months ahead of its Paris debut

1 Aug 2008

A SUCCESSOR for Ford's now-iconic Ka has been officially revealed - two days after it hit the internet via a single unofficial studio picture and two months ahead of its global public premiere at the Paris motor show on October 2.

Although there are new rear and interior images to go with the leaked but now verified exterior shot, Ford has shed little new light on the replacement for its modern-day answer to the Volkswagen Beetle or Citroen's 2CV.

Launched at the 1996 Paris motor show, the original Ka went on to find more than 1.4 million homes worldwide and is regarded as a modern classic in Europe, but never attracted the same following in Australia, where it was sold during the four-year (2000-2003) hiatus between the Korean Festiva and European Festiva.

27 center imageThe new Ka, due to arrive in European showrooms in January but a long-shot for Australian sales at this stage, looks more like this year's all-new Fiesta (and, dare we say it, its Mazda2 cousin) than its unmistakable 12-year-old forebear, but takes design cues from both.

Sharing its platform with Fiat's solid new 500 micro, the born-again Ka's interior is a big advance on its predecessor's Spartan cabin, just as its chassis integrity, refinement and safety levels are also likely to have improved.

Apart from a pronounced new wedge shape adorned by a rising waistline, sculpted hips and sweeping headlights, the pictures show Ford's second-generation Ka, which is sure to remain a three-door-only proposition like the original, also features a dash-mounted gearshifter.

Ford has revealed no details of the second-generation Ka, other than to describe it as bold, fashionable, youthful, cheeky, fresh and fun, and to claim it "brings new levels of style and enjoyment to affordable city cars".

However, it is expected the new Ka will be built at Ford's plant at Tychy, Poland, where the Fiat 500 is assembled and where a Ka prototype was photographed recently.

Hence, the 2009 Ka should come powered by versions of the 500's 51kW/102Nm 1.2-litre and 74kW/131Nm 1.4-litre petrol, and 55kW/145Nm 1.3-litre JTD turbo-diesel, to replace the original Ka's 43kW/100Nm eight-valve 1.3-litre petrol four, mated exclusively to a five-speed manual transmission.

An hot-hatch ST version has also been rumoured, and could come powered by the 500 Abarth's turbocharged 99kW 1.4-litre petrol four.

The Blue Oval plans to give its all-new baby a big-screen debut in the upcoming 007 film Quantum of Solace, as part of its product-placement agreement with the James Bond franchise, which also saw the current Mondeo premiere in Casino Royale.

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