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Ford Ka+ Active joins refreshed 2018 range. Image by Ford.

Ford Ka+ Active joins refreshed 2018 range
New petrol and diesel engines, additional tech and Active spec for Ford Ka+ line-up.
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What's all this about?

Ford is revising the Ka+ line-up. There's lots of new stuff to talk about and...

Hold on, can I just stop you there? A facelift? For a car launched in late 2016?

Umm... yes.

Doesn't that... rather hint at the Ka+ having problems?

Well, sort of. But Ford has done a lot to improve the Ka+ for 2018 and beyond. There's not just some additional tech and mildly revised looks, but entirely new, Euro 6-compliant engines, a new diesel option and a crossover variant.

A Ka+ crossover?!

Yes, it's called the Ka+ Active. Wearing black plastic body cladding, a unique design of 15-inch alloy wheels, roof rails and - if you so want - an exclusive bronze paintjob called Canyon Ridge metallic, the Active also sits 23mm taller than a regular Ka+. Inside, it has 'Active'-embossed kick plates in the sills, off-road friendly rubber floor mats for the cabin and cargo area, its own special steering wheel with cruise control functions and Sienna Hazel stitching, and upholstery that repeats the Sienna Hazel in both the pattern and the stitching.

Underneath, the Active also boasts a wider track, larger front anti-roll bar and bespoke power steering for 'optimised crossover handling'. The dampers have also been recalibrated and fitted with a hydraulic rebound stopper to improve the ride on rough surfaces, while Active Rollover Protection works with the car's stability control to offer additional security when carrying roof loads.

OK, so what has happened to the rest of the Ka+ range?

New bumpers can be spotted fore and aft, there's now a mesh grille with a chrome surround in the nose, the standard foglamps and daytime running lights are highlighted by a C-shaped chrome detail, and at the back the same C-shape is replicated by some trim mouldings at the outer edges of the bumper.

Inside, SYNC 3 infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is presented on a 6.5-inch colour screen, while rain-sensing wipers, automatic lights, Ford's Quickclear heated windscreen, a push-button start mechanism and a tailgate-mounted switch to open the boot are all added to the kit roster. Trim lines continue as Studio, Zetec and Titanium, with all the standard/limited amount of optional kit that they entail.

And what about these new engines?

Well, we're a bit confused by the petrol line-up. When launched less than two years ago, Ford referred to the engine as a Ti-VCT 1.2-litre, capable of delivering 70- or 85hp. Now, we've got an all-new engine, supposedly, which is also called a Ti-VCT (with Ford now referring to the old unit as a Duratec, weirdly) and which also kicks out 70- or 85hp. But it's definitely new, because it only has three cylinders instead of the four of the previous motor. Ford says the new Ti-VCT is related to the three-cylinder turbocharged 200hp engine that we'll see in the forthcoming Fiesta ST, so the Ka+ petrol models now have up to 10 per cent more torque between 1,000- and 3,000rpm.

Didn't you say there was a diesel, too?

Ah, this one's the peach. It's a 1.5 TDCi four-cylinder, running in a lower state of tune than the 120hp/270Nm you'd find in a top-spec Fiesta diesel. However, 95hp and 215Nm make this the most potent, torquiest engine available for a Ka+, with emissions as low as 99g/km. It should prove to be the nicest powerplant going for the budget hatchback and, like all other engines in the range, it uses a five-speed manual gearbox.

Anything else?

Yes, Ford sold more than 200,000 SUVs in Europe last year and has shifted 61,000 examples of the Ka+ in less than 18 months on sale. So the revised line-up, plus the addition of that Active model, is most welcome news. Prices start from £10,795 in the UK, with all vehicles hitting showrooms later this year.

Matt Robinson - 5 Feb 2018

2018 Ford Ka+ Active and update. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Ka+ Active and update. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Ka+ Active and update. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Ka+ Active and update. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Ka+ Active and update. Image by Ford.

2018 Ford Ka+ Active and update. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Ka+ Active and update. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Ka+ Active and update. Image by Ford.2018 Ford Ka+ Active and update. Image by Ford.    - Ford road tests
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