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In-depth reviews

Ford Ka+ hatchback (2016-2020) - Engines, drive & performance

An engaging driver experience highlights the shortcomings of the engine fitted to the Ford Ka+

Carbuyer Rating

2.7 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.8 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.5 out of 5

Because the two cars share mechanical underpinnings, if you buy a Ford Ka+ you’re arguably getting a reskinned Fiesta Mk7. That’s great news when it comes to the driving experience, as the Ka+ is just as involving to drive as its larger brother. Accurate steering makes it easy to place on the road, while the slick five-speed manual gearbox keeps things pleasant and the suspension resists body lean well, while doing a decent job of ironing out potholes and pitted tarmac.

Ford Ka+ petrol engines

Things are a little less rosy under the bonnet, though. While the Ka+ sits on the same platform as the old Fiesta, it doesn’t get that car’s more appealing engines. Instead, Ford has decided to offer the Ka+ with a slightly old-fashioned 1.2-litre petrol engine in two power outputs.

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The 69bhp version takes 16 seconds to go from 0-62mph and that, with the best will in the world, is slow. Upgrading to 84bhp means you’re forced to choose the more expensive Zetec model (itself a £1,000 option), but once you’ve done that, getting the extra 15bhp is only £300. We advise you do this, as the extra power means the Ka+ takes 13.6 seconds to go from 0-62mph; by no means an impressive time, but significantly swifter than the basic model.

Whichever version you choose, though, the engine fails to impress. The limited power and performance on offer means you need to work the engine quite hard and it’s not that eager to rev or enjoyable to push.

That’s a shame, as if you can get past these limitations, the Ka+ is genuinely enjoyable to drive. Even when faced with bad tarmac, there are few underlying flaws with the Ka+’s suspension, it remained smooth and comfortable at all times.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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