In 1996, Ford released the first generation Ka, intending it to be their smallest, cheapest car. And it was, but it was also one of the best and most original automotive designs in years. It is a wonderful future classic, and it was so good and so popular that Ford ended up making it until 2008. That is an eternity in the world of modern cars, but it speaks to two things. One, how good the original design was. And two, how bad all of its replacements were.
For example, here is the original Ka
Here’s another view
Ford also made a roadster version called the Streetka
Guillaume Vachey: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_StreetKa_(44730463712).jpg
And a hot-hatch version, the Ford Sportka
The Ka was fun and cool and interesting and about as far from boring as you could get. And then Ford ruined it:
Both pictures by Thomas doerfer: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_Ka_Mk2_Discoschwarz_Heck.JPG, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ford_Ka_Mk2_Discoschwarz.JPG
OK, so it isn’t completely ruined. And it was based on the Fiat 500, so I imagine it is quite a good car. But it just lacks the originality and the spirit of the original. But then, in 2016, Ford really ruined it. Take a look.
Both pictures by Vauxford: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2017_Ford_KA%2B_Zetec_1.2_Front.jpg, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2017_Ford_KA%2B_Zetec_1.2_Rear.jpg
Look at that thing. What a miserable and depressing little car.
Now, look. I am sure the new Ka (now called the Ka+) does its job just fine. I’m sure it is a perfectly acceptable car. But this car represents everything I hate about modern car companies. They are so risk averse that even when risks pay off, like the original Ka did, they will still replace it with something miserable and boring like this, because they want to please literally everyone. But in doing so, they have completely lost sight of what made the Ka so great in the first place. And this stuff happens all the time. Nissan did it with the Z-Car. Scion did it with the XB. Toyota did it with the RAV4. And every time it happens, it angers and disgusts me. Would it really kill carmakers to regularly think outside the box (or, in the XB’s case, inside the box)? If we didn’t innovate, and experiment, and try new things, we would still be lying naked in a cave rubbing sticks together. And more so, these cars are frightening, because it shows that nothing is safe from the powers of dullness.
Rory Cahill is a highly sarcastic teenage car enthusiast and amateur automotive journalist, who is especially interested in 80s/90s cars, classic off-roaders, and anything weird. He owns a 1984 Mercedes-Benz 300D Turbodiesel. He is also very interested in rock music and politics, and wrote this whole bio in the third person because he is a filthy, filthy snob