Aww, isn't it cute?
This is Ford's Start concept, unveiled in Beijing and previewing how a future affordable city car might look. A Ka for emerging markets, in other words.
Designed at Ford's California studio, the Start was apparently inspired by the Porsche 356 Speedster and Alfa Romeo Zagato SZ. Built of aluminium and steel, it's around 140kg lighter than conventional city cars and features far fewer parts.
Its smooth surfaces mean a low drag coefficent, and that roof panel can be unclipped to create a targa-style opening.
All very nice, but the Start's engine is the most relevant bit for now: a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder petrol with Ford's ‘EcoBoost' technology. This means it gets a turbocharger and direct injection, meaning CO2 emissions under 100g/km and, says Ford, comparable power to a naturally aspirated 1.6-litre engine - around 110bhp, we'd guess.
The three-cylinder engine is expected to debut in the third-generation Focus before finding its way into the Fiesta next year.
We like the Start. It looks fresh and it's packed with realistic, affordable technology. And hey, it might even drive as well as the original Ka...