The new Ford Ka is cute and cheap to run but isn’t the top dog it once was
When the first generation of the Ford Ka was released in 1996, it set the standard of what makes a perfect city car. With its iconic looks, cheap running costs, and fun handling, it was the best car to be driving around town in. The second-generation Ka we have today, first released in 2009, may, therefore, seem like somewhat of a disappointment in comparison. Built by Fiat in Italy, the new Ka isn’t as quirky as the Fiat 500 chassis it’s built on, nor does it provide the refinement and economy of some of its other rivals. It is, however, still a cheap way to get around town, and is much better than some when it comes to handling.
Easy to use controls, but lacks equipment levels and quality
One positive element in the interior of the Ka is just how easy to use the controls are. They’re laid out very simply, and most people aren’t going to have too much trouble working out what’s what. The high-mounted gear shifter is a slightly quirky addition that will definitely appeal to some as well. Plastics are a little on the budget side, but this is a city car, so we can’t expect too much. It does, however, lack the flair of alternatives such as the Fiat 500, and despite being based loosely on the interior of the Fiesta, it lacks a little in class too.
Space wise, the Ka is actually pretty decent for such a small car. There’s plenty of space up front for even the tallest of people, and whilst rear passenger space isn’t huge, you can still get comfy in the back, though long journeys might prove to be a little difficult. The boot size is reasonable, with 224 litres of space, but it doesn’t quite match that of the Hyundai i10, or the Skoda Citigo.
Equipment levels on the entry level Ford Ka Studio trim aren't up there with the best in the class. There’s no electric windows, central locking, or air conditioning. Bump the trim level up to Edge though, and all these are included, with the additional bonus of a colour-coded exterior trim.
All in all, the Ford Ka does lag behind a lot of its rivals when it comes to its interior. It is, however, simple to use, and storage space is decent for a city car. Whilst it certainly isn’t the market leader, it’s definitely not the worst.
On The Road
Better to drive than some, but lost some of the fun of the original
Where the first Ka was a hoot to drive around town, the new Ka seems to lack a little in Ford DNA. This is because the chassis is pretty much the same as that of the Fiat 500. Ford has improved upon this a little, tweaking the chassis to make it more nimble through the corners, and more stable over the bumps. It’s still not as good to drive as the VW Up, and it’s certainly not going to win any awards, but the Ka is a pretty decent car to drive about town.
There’s only one gearbox option available throughout the entire range. It’s a 5-speed manual shifter and it’s surprisingly intuitive to use. Like the Fiat 500, it’s also dash mounted, which makes gear changes around town both quick and easy.
Though the new Ka has lost some of the magic of the original, it’s still a decent drive by city car standards, but it doesn’t quite match up to some of its rivals. The lack of an automatic option may also put some buyers off.
1.2-litre petrol engine consistent throughout the range
When it comes to powering your Ka, you’ve got one option. Whichever trim you go for, your Ka will be powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine that produces 68 bhp. This will get you from 0-62mph in 13 seconds, topping out at 99mph. For a car this size, this is probably going to be punchy enough to get you around town, although longer, motorway drives may be a little on the uncomfortable side. It’s also a little bit on the noisy side. For those who are eco-conscious, the Ka produces 115 g/km of C02, which is neither market-leading nor completely unacceptable. In terms of fuel economy, the 57 mpg you can get from the engine is quite decent, so at least you won’t be throwing money away at petrol stations.
Average NCAP results, and not the most generous standard safety equipment
As the latest Ka hasn’t been NCAP-tested since before its introduction in 2008, the way in which we read the results is slightly different from current reports. Rather than one standard star rating, the results are split in three. The Ka achieved four stars in adult occupant safety, three stars in child occupant safety and two stars in pedestrian safety. This is obviously below the level we’ve come to expect from modern cars. There are also only two airbags fitted as standard, though there is the option of an additional four. For the safety conscious, this additional protection is definitely recommended.
Value for money
Efficient engine, but expensive when purchasing from new
One aspect that’s pleasing with the Ka is the efficiency of its engine. Producing 57 mpg, the 1.2-litre motor is going to at least save you some money on fuel. Insurance-wise it’s also pretty cheap, falling into group 3, no matter which spec you choose to go for. Tax-wise, the Ka is a little disappointing, falling into VED band C. With rivals offering tax-free city cars, this will put a lot of buyers off.
The Ford Ka, when purchased from new, is also quite expensive, especially considering standard equipment levels. However, due to high levels of first-year depreciation, used models are attractively cheap. With this in mind, you’re far better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
Whilst the latest incarnation of the Ford Ka isn’t the same car we once knew and loved, it’s certainly not the worst supermini on sale. There are disappointing elements in nearly every area, but handling is decent, and the engine that runs throughout the range is fuel efficient. After the initial first-year depreciation, it’s also quite cheap to buy, so it’s a good used car for those on a tight budget.
Buying a used Ford Ka online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Ford Ka for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Ford Ka. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Ford Ka online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Ford Ka? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Ka, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Ford Ka, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Ford to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.