Ford looks to have found itself a truly competitive citycar, although it’s a vehicle that appeals more to the head than the heart.

The KA+, which replaces the uninspiring Ka and the cheaper versions of the Fiesta, is a very complete offering.

For starters, it has five doors, which gives Ford the chance to compete on an even-footing with some of the other top sellers in the citycar segment, including the Kia Picanto, Vauxhall Viva and Hyundai i10.

Then there’s the steering, which is direct and well-weighted, giving it Fiesta-like qualities and making it agile around the tighter and twistier streets.

It’s also a smooth and quiet little runner, with decent sound-proofing in the cabin combined with suspension that is compliant and absorbs the bumps with the minimum of fuss.

And the interior also feels reasonably upmarket and pleasant for a car in the £10,000 bracket.

However, where the KA+ lacks a bit of emotional appeal is in the engine department. The 1.2-litre petrol unit, producing 85ps, takes 13.3 seconds to go from a standing start to 62mph, with the potential to reach a top speed of 105mph.

There’s no getting away from the fact that it feels rather sluggish when you get out of the city onto the open roads, especially if you happen to be tackling one of Yorkshire’s steeper hills. There’s a bit more torque to be found in the mid rev range but, when you try to push it hard, the performance feels somewhat strained. However, a conventional 1.2-litre engine comes with some very important redeeming features, including an extra-urban fuel economy figure of 70.6mpg and an impressive combined mpg statistic of 56.6, complemented by emissions of just 114g/km.

And it’s worth remembering that those who buy a citycar may well be more interested in nimbleness, fuel economy and practicality than they are in blistering acceleration and punchy performance. In terms of practicality, there’s enough space inside the KA+ to make you wonder why you’d bother splashing out more money on a vehicle in the supermini segment.

The seats are very comfortable for a car in this class and, despite its compact dimensions, it’s a roomy cabin, with no shortage of headroom and legroom for the driver.

Four six-footers can get into this car quite easily, while a fair amount of luggage can also be accommodated thanks to a good-sized boot. Meanwhile, the materials used in the cabin, including the leather-wrapped steering wheel, are of good quality, making for a refined ambiance.

The controls are well laid-out, user-friendly and intuitive. The list of kit is impressive, with even the base KA+ including electric front windows and door mirrors, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, hill-start assist, a speed limiter and an alarm.

If you step up to the pricier Zetec version, tested here, you get a few extra creature comforts, including air-con, DAB radio, cruise control and the MyKey system.

The latter lets parents encourage teenagers to drive responsibly by allowing limitations to be put on things such as the car’s maximum speed and the top audio volume, and also preventing the stability control systems being switched off. While such safety measures are of paramount importance, it’s hard not to chuckle when thinking about some of the fraught father-son negotiations going on up and down the country, prompted by differences of opinion over speed and sound restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Zetec trim also brings with it 15-inch alloy wheels, which complete the car’s smart and sporty look rather nicely.

For a long time, Ford has been absent from the list of big sellers in the citycar market. However, if you can look beyond the lacklustre engine, there’s a good chance that buyers will be attracted by a car that provides decent practicality, refinement, comfort and equipment levels for little over £10,000.