Crossover-flavored Ford Ka+ Active highlights facelifted 2018 Ka+ lineup

Ford's least desirable car spawns a mildly interesting high-riding variant

Following the Fiesta, the Ka+ is the second Ford model in Europe to get an Active crossover version with increased ride height, rugged exterior styling, and more tech as standard. The new variant highlights a comprehensive refresh of the Ka+ lineup, which is now said to offer more comfort, convenience, and driver assistance technologies, as well as styling tweaks both on the outside and on the inside.

Besides the 23-mm (0.9-in) higher ground clearance and plastic cladding, the Ka+ Active sports a unique black finish for the upper and lower front grilles, roof rails, dedicated 15-inch alloys, an exclusive interior finish, and more comprehensive standard equipment specification.

Inside, the Ka+ Active gains a special fabric design for the seats with Sienna Brown stripes and matching stitching, grained finish on the instrument panel, a dark charcoal color scheme with chrome accents, Active-embossed scuff plates, and a leather steering wheel with Sienna Brown stitching and cruise control switches.

Content-wise, the Ka+ and Ka+ Active are now available with the SYNC 3 infotainment system with 6.5-inch color touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps, parking sensors, Electronic Automatic Temperature Control, and Quickclear heated windscreen, among other things.

The crossover-flavored city car also features unique chassis tuning that favors handling thanks to a wider track, bigger front anti-roll bar, and a special setup of the Electronic Power Assisted Steering.

All these changes add to those gained by the regular Ford Ka+, such as the retuned dampers fitted with a hydraulic rebound stopper for a smoother ride over harsh surfaces. Ford also says there's now less road and wind noise in the cabin thanks to better soundproofing and aerodynamics.

For the first time, the Ka+ lineup is available with a diesel engine — a 1.5-liter TDCi that makes 95 metric horsepower and 215 Nm of torque. The oil burner is an alternative to an all-new 1.2-liter three-cylinder Ti-VCT (Twin independent Variable Camshaft Timing) engine that offers either 70 or 85 hp.

Replacing the previously-available 1.2-liter Duratec naturally aspirated unit, the new engine is expected to emit just 114 g/km of CO2. All powertrains are linked to with Ford's new low-friction five-speed manual transmission and feature standard Auto Start-Stop technology.

The 2018 Ford Ka+ and Ka+ Active go on sale later this year with prices starting from €9,990 in Germany and £10,550 in the United Kingdom.

All these improvements look good on paper, but we'd spend €3,000 more and get the new Ford Fiesta instead.

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