Ford’s corporate machine was locked into a no risk loop when kit developed the MK 4 Escort. The no risk approach hit the buffers when press reaction to the car was so bad that, according to the industry story, Ford bosses ordered the car to undergo a significant facelift within days of the first press report. Within couple of years aspirational engineers had taken control of the Ford machine, promising that fresh looking cars that were good to drive would bring long term profitability. No longer, it was claimed, could the European public be palmed off with stodgy, unadventurous transport. The first Ford to be completely conceived under the new regime was the Ka, which was both adventurously named, and style, and one of the best driving cars on sale at any price when it was launched. Dubbed ‘Edge Design’, the highly unusual styling was borne out of contemporary softly rounded shapes, but wit hard edges pressed into the overall whole. Simple join line gaps between the panels also made the Ka easier to build. The top speed was 96 mph (154 km/h). It reached 0-62.5 mph (100 km/h) in just 13.9 seconds.
The design was led by two young Ford stylists, and it was as adventurous as it was out. The Ka was also one of the first sub-B cars on to the market, aimed at the young and second car owners who wanted adventurous design and Mini like driving dynamics. It was the latter that amazed even more than the design. The Fiesta based Ka offered a smooth ride and kart like handling, and motorway refinement was also exemplary.