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Paris: New Ford Ka

Second-gen city car could hit US for the first time

The new Ford Ka is perhaps one of the more important world debuts at the Paris Motor Show, and will mean a lot more to the public than a Lamborghini Estoque ever will.

For the first time it could be sold in America too, following the decision to take the all-new Fiesta there in 2010. It follows a crashing market and halting SUV and pickup sales after spiraling petrol costs.

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If it does make it, they’ll be getting what is only the second version of the Ka – despite it hitting Europe way back in 1996. The outgoing car has done without styling revisions yet continued to sell well, earmarking it as a design classic.

A tough act to follow for Ka Mk2, then. And on first impressions, it isn’t as standout as the car it replaces, sliding subtly into the Ford line-up with none of the controversy that surrounded the first Ka.

It has been co-developed with the Fiat 500, and Ford is keen to ape the style and creativity of the Italian by parading a selection of Kas daubed in stripes and different designs. This red and white model, called the Grand Prix, is the smartest of the lot and could give clues to a potential Ka ST (using the Abarth 500’s 1.4-litre turbo) to replace the SportKa. Whether that car happens remains to be seen.

For now though, you can choose from two engines – a 68bhp 1.2-litre petrol and a 74bhp 1.3-litre diesel. A 1.4-litre petrol is on the cards too, and a Fiat-developed two-cylinder 900cc unit could even appear. Expect to pay from £7k for a Ka when it hits the streets in early 2009.

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