Review

Ford Ka hatchback

Price  £8,945 - £11,445

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
Studio 1.2 69PS 3dr £8,945
The cheapest
Studio 1.2 69PS 3dr £8,945
The fastest
Studio 1.2 69PS 3dr £8,945
Top of the range
Grand Prix III 1.2 69PS 3dr £11,445

"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 the product of a joint project with Fiat, so it's basically a Fiat 500 without the retro styling but with a Ford badge on the bonnet. As it's a bit less upmarket than the Italian car, it's also cheaper to buy, but unfortunately a rather dated engine makes it costlier to run. 

Unlike the Fiat, which has received regular engine updates throughout its time on sale, the Ford is offered with just the one 1.2-litre petrol that simply can’t compete with the exceptionally low running costs of the competition. This 68bhp engine offers decent performance in town, but struggles with motorway driving, where it feels short on power and becomes rather noisy. 

The Ford Ka's suspension goes some way to making up for this, as it's more comfortable than the Fiat 500's and also makes the Ka marginally better to drive. It's not as much fun as the Skoda Citigo – or the previous Ford Ka – but on the right road the little Ford can still put a smile on your face. 

The Ka has always been quite pricey, and the basic model is pretty sparsely equipped, with just a standard stereo, 12v power socket and stop-start technology coming as standard. Trim levels including this basic Studio, then there's Studio Connect, Edge, Zetec, Titanium, Metal and the top-of-the-range Grand Prix III. The mid-range Zetec model has air-conditioning, larger alloy wheels and front foglights, making it our pick of the range. Ford doesn’t offer sat nav in the Ka (even as an option) and while it's possible to buy an aftermarket system, this spoils the neat interior layout. 

Overall, the Ka needs a makeover to be competitive in such a hotly contested class. The Hyundai i10 (our Car of the Year) and the Skoda Citigo are both more refined and practical choices, while the Fiat 500 has more character and a wider range of engines with lower running costs.

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."

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What owners say

3.8045412789791
3.8 /5 based on 218 reviews
49%
 people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated
3 Nov 2014
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