Review

Ford Ka hatchback

Price  £8,995 - £11,995

Ford Ka hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Large dealer network
  • Sharply styled
  • Good to drive
Cons
  • Pricey for a city car
  • Not that cheap to run
  • Only one engine available

At a glance

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

“The Ford Ka is a handsome city car that’s entertaining to drive, but it’s small inside and there’s only one engine available, meaning rivals offer more space and choice.”

The Ford Ka is a three-door city car that competes with rivals like the Kia Picanto, Skoda Citigo and the excellent Hyundai i10. As the smallest model in Ford’s range, the Ka retains some of the driver involvement the brand is famed for, but is let down by its engine, which needs to be worked hard to make progress – particularly on the motorway. The Ka is also due for replacement imminently, so our advice would be to wait for the new model to come along.

The 68bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine Ford fits to the Ka returns reasonable fuel economy of 57.6mpg, and while the £30 annual road-tax bill it incurs is unlikely to break the bank, many rivals offer models that are road-tax-exempt thanks to their lower CO2 emissions. The Ka is enjoyable to drive around town and on twisty back roads, but on the motorway its limited power means you’ll soon tire of effort needed to keep pace with traffic.

Inside, the Ka offers a decent amount of room for the driver and front-seat passenger, but any adults in the rear are likely to find the sloping roofline cutting into their headroom – although there’s good legroom considering the Ka’s small stature. While the boot is reasonably sized for a city car, the Hyundai i10 and Skoda Citigo both offer more luggage space, while the Ka also has a pronounced load lip, which makes packing bags in harder than it needs to be.

While there’s only one engine available, Ford offers the Ka in six trim levels, including special ‘White’ and ‘Black’ editions of the mid-range Zetec. The entry-level Studio does without niceties like electric windows and alloy wheels, so is best avoided. At the other end of the scale, spending the £3,000 or so extra that Ford asks for top-of-the-range Titanium trim doesn’t make sense for a car in this price bracket.

We recommend the mid-range Zetec, as this comes with useful extras like split-folding rear seats, 16-inch alloy wheels and Ford’s excellent Quickclear heated front windscreen. The options list is relatively limited (there’s no sat nav available, for instance) but you can specify parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof and a rear spoiler should you wish.

Reliability hasn’t been Ford’s strongest suit of late, and the brand sat in 25th place (out of 32 manufacturers) in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey. The Ka’s safety credentials are also mildly disappointing: while a four-star Euro NCAP rating is far from disastrous, many rivals (like the Skoda Citigo, for instance) managed the full five stars.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.2 / 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 
3.7369942152431
3.7 /5 based on 173 reviews
49%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
19 Apr 2016
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