The made-in-India, second-generation Ford Figo will be sold in the European market as the Ka+ from October this year. Priced from £8,995 (Rs 8.85 lakh), the five-door Ka+ will replace the three-door Ka, as an affordable option which will slot below the popular Fiesta hatchback in the European market.
It can be recalled that our sister publication Autocar Professional had reported in December last year that Ford India has plans to export the Figo and Figo Aspire models to Europe from its Sanand plant in Gujarat. Ford UK has already started taking orders and the first cars will be delivered in October.
Built at the Sanand manufacturing plant, the new model has been heavily revised for Europe, and gets standard equipment which includes six airbags, Ford’s Sync voice-activated phone and audio system, a smartphone docking station, a speed limiter and hill start assist. The car will be offered only as a five-door hatchback, but will have two trim levels – Style and Zetec. It will be powered by a 1.2-litre, four-cylinder engine, which is closely related to the 1.25-litre engine used in the Fiesta, but is cheaper to make. It is understood the car will come with a choice of two power outputs, 70hp and 85hp, although the lower-powered engine won’t be offered at launch.
Darren Palmer, boss of Ford’s B-car projects, believes the 85hp Zetec variant priced £10,295 (Rs 10.13 lakh) will be the most popular model, but points out that even the entry-level car is well equipped. Buyers who choose the 85hp engine will get a list of options including climate control, a leather-covered steering wheel with cruise control, alloy wheels, heated front seats, a DAB radio, rear parking sensors and heated/folding mirrors.
The Ka+ sits a little lower than the Indian and South American versions, and its ride and handling are much more in keeping with European tastes. Ford has in the past resisted associations with the budget end of the market, but this time it has named the Kia Rio and Dacia Sandero as competitors for the Ka+, mainly because they offer the same recipe of impressive accommodation for the money. Ford claims a class-leading headroom in the front and rear legroom, aided by the fact that the Ka+ is 42mm higher than the Fiesta, sits on the same 2,489mm wheelbase (because it uses Ford’s global small car platform), and is only 20mm shorter at 3,929mm.
The Ka+ is the third Ford model to carry the 'Ka' badge, but it is quite different following a change in Ford’s thinking about how to make money from small cars. The first Ka-badged car was developed 20 years ago as a sub-B-segment premium city car; the second was another city car, this time produced in Poland in cooperation with Fiat. The latest-generation Ka+ is all Ford, but it achieves economies of scale because it is already a volume-selling model in India and South America.
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