Independent review by Peter Hayward from Driving Force
- Cute looks
- Low running costs
- Entry-level models offer no frills
- Lacking some safety equipment
- 3-door only
What's the Ford Ka like?
Unlike the latest Ford Ka, which is based on the Fiesta, the previous model built from 2009 to 2016 was based on the excellent Fiat 500 and used two of the engines from the Fiat range.
Of course, the first Ka was a real hit, devised by Ford with sharp funky looks and great driving character back in 1996, but while the second generation is not as avant-garde to look at, it has better refinement, improved comfort and more miles per gallon, with the same fun character from behind the wheel.
In fact, in 1.2-litre petrol guise this Ka, which is only available as a 3-door, has almost identical performance and economy to the little Fiat.
As well as being fun to drive, it’s very cheap to insure and to run. It can handle motorway speeds without a problem, and almost all available used will have been personalised by the original owner from the extensive list of options.
Good supple suspension makes it comfortable to ride in and it’s perhaps a bit more of a ‘grown-up’ car than the model it replaced.
The two engine options are a 68bhp 1.2-litre petrol and a 73bhp 1.3-litre turbo diesel, while the diesel has the better economy, the petrol is far more plentiful and still manages a government average of 55mpg.
It takes 13.0 seconds to reach 60mph from rest, while that might not seem very fast, it feels much better from behind the wheel.
The turbo diesel sold in far smaller numbers and covers the 60mph sprint slightly slower than the petrol despite having more power.
However, it can claim a best of 68mpg, which makes for long and very welcome gaps between fill-ups.
Take into account the extra cost and rarity of diesel models however, and you’re better off with the petrol.
Both have safe, sure road holding and decently weighted power steering along with that excellent ride.
Safety and Practicality
Ka safety levels aren't as good as rivals, however. Stability control is an option on all models and standard fit is just two front airbags with more available as extras. All except for the Studio get ISOFIX child seat mounting points.
It may look larger than the original, but this model is actually the same length and, at around 3.5 metres long, is very easy to slot into tight parking spaces.
Like the previous Ka, rear legroom is small but headroom is a lot better and it feels less confining than other 3-door city cars.
The entry Studio model is very short on equipment and is to be avoided for that reason. There are no electric windows and no sign of air con, which are a given in most small cars these days.
The cabin is well-built and neatly laid out and the mid-range Zetec, although more expensive, comes with all the kit most people would want, including folding rear seats, electric front windows, remote locking and heated electric mirrors.
There are some higher priced special editions available used, so check out opposition like the Hyundai i10, Peugeot 107/Citroën C1 or Kia Picanto.
Road tax is very cheap thanks to low emissions and insurance is also minimal.
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Find your Ford Ka your way with CarStore
Popular amongst younger drivers, the Ford Ka is one of the best city cars your money can buy thanks to nimble handling and low running costs. You won't be confined to city streets if you buy a Ka either, as it's comfortable in both urban areas and on motorways.
Here at CarStore, you're able to buy your car your way. Whether that be online, in-person, or a mix of both, the choice is yours. With an extensive variety of used cars available, we're sure to have a car that suits your lifestyle.