Polish-built newcomer radically updates Ford's iconic city car, including low-CO2 engines.

This new version of Ford’s Ka hits the streets at the end of the year. The newcomer, which can be seen in the metal in public for the first time at the Paris Motor Show next month, stays true to the spirit of the old model.

But where the current Ka now lags wfully behind more modern designs, as well it might, after 12 years in production, this one is bang up to date.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the choice of engines offered. From launch, there will be a 1.2 petrol and a 1.3 turbodiesel, each emitting fewer than 120g/km of CO2 and each delivering good fuel economy – up to 67.2mpg overall in the diesel’s case.

The new car’s looks are themed heavily on the designs used for the new Fiesta and Focus, but adapted to suit the proportions of a smaller car. As before, it’s a four-seater with three doors, but the seating is set higher than before, while the cabin is promised as far more striking and of higher quality.

While the original owed its direct steering and agile chassis to the mid-1990s Fiesta, with which it shared common parts, the newcomer uses the same underpinnings as the Fiat Panda and Fiat 500. Indeed, like those cars it will be assembled in Poland. Ford promises, however, that the Ka’s steering and suspension will be tuned so that it drives quite differently. Many of the lessons learned during the development of the Fiesta – which promises outstanding ride and handling for a small car – have been applied to its smaller sibling.

Four trim levels will be offered at launch: Studio, Style, Style+, and Zetec.