2018 Ford Ka+ revealed
The Ford Ka+ budget car gets updated looks, new engines and extra equipment, plus there's now an SUV-inspired Active version...
Priced from £10,795 Release date September
The original Ford Ka was a stylish city car, whereas today's Ford Ka+ prioritises practicality over fashionable looks. However, Ford is hoping to once again appeal to the heart with a new Active variant inspired by that most in vogue of car types: the SUV.
The Ka+ Active features a raised ride height (by 23mm), roof rails, tougher-looking bumpers, a black front grille and black wheel arch mouldings. Meanwhile, inside you get scuff plates embossed with the word 'Active', bespoke seat fabric and steering wheel designs, and all-weather mats to protect against muddy shoes and boots.
Other versions of the Ka+ are also being updated – albeit more subtly – with mesh in place of the current horizontal grille slats, and standard front foglights and daylight running lights highlighted by C-shaped chrome details.
There’s no word yet on what equipment will be fitted as standard, but rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, cruise control and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring will all be offered, as will the touchscreen infotainment system from the latest Fiesta.
Perhaps the biggest weakness of the current Ka+ is its underpowered 1.2-litre petrol engine, so it’s good news that this is being replaced by a new 1.2 that’s claimed to have up to 10% more torque at low revs. Outputs of 69bhp and 84bhp will be available, with the latter likely to be the one to go for, although a 1.5-litre diesel engine that emits just 99g/km of CO2 is also joining the range.
Prices for the new Ka+ start at £10,795 – a £1000 increase on today’s entry-level model. Although Ford hasn't yet confirmed how much the Active model will cost, we’d expect it to attract a further premium of around £1000.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
The best small cars of 2018
If you don't want to wait for the new Ka+, the good news is there are plenty of excellent small cars already on sale. Below we count down our top 10 – and reveal the models to avoid.
10. Honda Jazz
The Honda Jazz has long bridged the gap between small cars and mini-MPVs, and the latest version continues that tradition. It offers class-leading space and practicality and should outlast you with its outstanding reliability. It's just a shame the ride is rather unsettled.
Our pick: 1.3 i-VTEC SE
9. Renault Clio
The Renault Clio is an established name in the small car world, and it's still a popular choice in the UK. There's plenty of scope to personalise this stylish hatchback, and while it's a little bit behind rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo when it comes to engine quietness, the diesel engine recommended here is a real delight. The interior is reasonably spacious, too, even if some of the fixtures and fittings feel a little cheap.
Our pick: 1.5 dCi 90 Dynamique Media Nav
8. Audi A1
The Audi A1 is the classiest of all the small cars, with a high-quality interior that's pure Audi on a small scale. It has a strong range of engines in its line-up and offers an enjoyable drive. Go for the five-door Sportback version and there's room for two adults to sit reasonably comfortably in the back, too, although there are still more practical choices.
Our pick: 1.4 TFSI 125 Sport