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.” 

Believe it or not, this Ford Ka and the Fiat 500 are related. They’re the result of an alliance between the two brands, but although the models share many major components, they have quite different characters.

Not only is the Ka more conventional-looking than the 500, it also feels a little less upmarket and fashionable. And while the 500 comes with a choice of efficient, up-to-date petrol and diesel engines, the Ka is available with just one: a rather elderly 1.2-litre petrol. It's zippy enough around town, but on the open road and motorways it feels underpowered and can be quite noisy.

On the plus side, the Ford is more comfortable than the Fiat, thanks to its softer suspension, while in the right circumstances, it's also slightly more entertaining to drive. However, on that score, the nimble Skoda Citigo beats both of them.

The Ford Ka is available in seven trim levels, ranging from basic Studio to range-topping Metal and Grand Prix III. All versions have good safety equipment, body-coloured bumpers and tinted glass.

The basic Studio is exactly that, and best avoided. Instead, we recommend the mid-price Zetec for its air-conditioning, front foglights, larger 15-inch alloy wheels and smart-looking privacy glass. Extras are reasonably priced and include a rear spoiler and a panoramic sunroof. However, across all models, sat-nav is notably absent from the options list.

Higher-specification versions offer snazzier detailing and finishes, but are likely to cost you more in depreciation than the Zetec.

Funky though it looks, the Ford Ka is no longer competitive in today's fiercely fought city-car class and is in urgent need of replacement – an all-new model is rumoured to be arriving sometime in 2015).

Our 2014 Car of the Year, the Hyundai i10, is a much more satisfying alternative on all fronts, as is the Skoda Citigo. Meanwhile, the Ka's sister model, the Fiat 500, has a lot more charm as well as a wider choice of engines that are much more economical.

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%
 people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
13 Feb 2015

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