Review

Ford Ka hatchback

Price  £8,995 - £11,995

Ford Ka hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Fun to drive
  • Good-looking
  • Huge dealer network
Cons
  • Relatively expensive
  • Comparatively poor fuel economy
  • Underpowered 1.2-litre petrol is only engine

At a glance

The greenest
Style 1.2 69PS 3dr £9,745
The cheapest
Studio 1.2 69PS 3dr £8,995
The fastest
Style 1.2 69PS 3dr £9,745
Top of the range
Titanium 1.2 69PS 3dr £11,995

"The Ford Ka looks modern and drives well, but there's only one engine to choose from and interior space lags behind the best in class."

The Ford Ka is a small three-door city car that sits just below the Ford Fiesta and competes with models such as the Skoda Citigo, Kia Picanto and one of our favourite small cars, the Hyundai i10. It shares a platform with the Fiat 500, but that car is much more stylish and sophisticated – and so more expensive. The Ka was launched back in 2008, so you won’t be surprised to learn that a replacement, likely to be a five-door only, is due at the end of 2015.

Unfortunately, the current Ka shows its age in one of the most important places: the engine. There's only one: an elderly and lacklustre 1.2-litre petrol. Performance is good around town, but out on the open road and on motorways it struggles and isn’t very refined. The car is reasonably comfortable, though, and on the right road it can still be fun to drive.

Thanks to its tall profile, the model is quite roomy in the front, but as the roofline drops, rear-seat passengers lose some headroom. Legroom isn’t bad, though. There are some useful storage ideas, but the boot is quite small, while access to it is hampered a fairly high lip.

There's only one engine, but there are six trim levels to choose from, including two semi-permanent special editions based on the Zetec. Some of them such as Edge (the basic trim) and Titanium (the top of the range) are familiar from other Ford models. Our favourite is the mid-range Zetec, which has air-conditioning, alloy wheels, a heated windscreen (very useful on frosty mornings) and styling details inside and out that flatter this otherwise ageing model.

There are lots of options across the range, including rear parking sensors, a rear spoiler and a panoramic sunroof on Zetec (it's standard on Titanium). However, a sat-nav is noticeably absent from the list.

The Ka was last crash-tested by Euro NCAP several years ago, when it scored four out of the maximum five stars. Things have got tougher since, so we wouldn’t expect it to do as well if it was tested again today. Anti-lock brakes, braking assistance and front airbags are standard, but side airbags are only an option. The model is reliable and its engine is old enough to have had any problems ironed out.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.3 / 5

Ford Ka isn't as cheap to run as newer rivals

Engines, drive & performance

3.2 / 5

Ford Ka is fun on country roads and agile in town, but struggles on the motorway

Interior & comfort

2.3 / 5

Smooth suspension but Ford Ka is noisy at motorway speeds

Practicality & boot space

3 / 5

Ford Ka has a reasonable boot and useful storage cubbies

Reliability & safety

3 / 5

Reliability should be good, but the Ka has fallen behind in the safety stakes

What the others say

3 / 5
based on 4 reviews
2 / 5
"Cute styling, better to drive than Fiat 500 and decent practicality, but it's expensive, poorly equipped and less fun to drive than other Fords."
10 / 20
"The old Ka kept going for 12 years, but the new one looks basically like a shrunken Fiesta. It is, however, based on the same basic bits as Fiat's 500."
3.5 / 5
"Like the original Ka, this one is supple over bumps yet crisp in its response to commands. The steering lacks the transparency found in the old Ka, but at this end of the market it's the price you pay for an electric system's economy benefits."
4 / 5
"Not happy with the FIAT 500's over-stiff, bouncy suspension and overlight power steeting, Ford chassis engineers inserted a torsion bar into the twist-beam rear axle, softened the rear springs and fitted progressive rear dampers."
What owners say 
3.7926818128066
3.8 /5 based on 220 reviews
49%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
21 Jul 2015
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