Ford Ka (1996-)

DEADWALKING

ĎNew Edgeí pioneer ate all the pies AS THE criminally under-rated (and now discontinued) Volkswagen Up demonstrated, Australians donít much care for city cars. Our streets are too wide, petrol isnít expensive enough and thereís no carbon pollution incentive for people to downsize.

The Ka was very much the Up of its day, struggling to lure buyers despite an instant cult following abroad.

That no automatic transmission was offered didnít help, but few manuals felt better to use.

In South America, however, the original Ka has been a massive hit, meaning it has flourished and evolved.

A 2008 makeover saw new sheetmetal, longer (though eye-searingly uglier) rear overhang to accommodate a third person (the original was a fourseater) and a more contemporary dash, but the doors and driveline are carry-over.

Vitally, it still rides and handles like a Ka. And thatís important because itís acknowledged that the now-dead Fiat 500-based 2008 Mk2 successor in Europe was palpably inferior in terms of dynamics and comfort Ė remarkable considering the earlier iteration was actually based on the 1989 Fiesta.

Sadly, though itís still being sold in Argentina and Uruguay, the original Ford Kaís days are numbered.

19 YEARS

AGE IN HUMAN YEARS

135

AFTERLIFE

Do cry for this Argentinean, the truth is, itís about to leave us HIGHLIGHTS HIGHLIGHTS How a cheap city car should steer and ride

LOWLIGHTS

They should have kept the original í96 New Edge styling