Ford Ka review

Ford's original Ka revolutionised the small car market. So what of its successor? June Neary has been finding out..

Introduction

Ford's original Ka revolutionised the small car market. So what of its successor? June Neary has been finding out..

Will It Suit Me?

Hence my love of Ford's original Ka, a distinctive face in a sea of faceless citycars. I was eager then to try its replacement, less daringly styled but on paper, much better suited to my likely needs.

Practicalities

Whichever Ka you choose, you'll be buying into one of the safest small cars on the road today, meeting all current and future safety legislation for front and side impacts. Packaging is another Ka strongpoint. You wouldn't believe the amount of oddment space and front legroom that the designers have crammed into the tiny cabin. The sheer size restrictions of a car shorter than the already compact Fiesta had to catch up with them somewhere however, and as you might imagine, a few sacrifices have mainly been made around the two sculpted seats in the rear, though not as many as in the first generation version of this car. In fact, there's surprisingly generous interior space and comfortable accommodation for four adults and their belongings, though acceptable rear seat legroom will depend on the front seat passengers not resembling basketball players. The high seating position, carefully placed controls and excellent visibility should make this Ka easy to drive for owners of all ages.

Behind the Wheel

*Value for moneyIt's not quite as cheap as I expected: prices start at around £9,000. Buyers choose between four different trim levels - Studio, Edge, Zetec and Titanium - plus there are various option packs to consider. Specify the Bluetooth-enabled Connectivity Kit, and the Ka comes equipped with Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, a USB port to play music files through the sound system and steering wheel controls. Combine this with the six-speaker CD sound systems on offer and owners should have all the necessary equipment to keep passengers connected and entertained. Unique among vehicles in the small-car segment, this Ka also offers heated windscreen and heated seats, invaluable for safe and comfortable driving in cold winter conditions.

Value For Money

A citycar like this has to be both cheap to run and kind to the environment and of course, Ford loudly proclaims this Ka to be both. Of the two economical, low emission engines on offer, the vast majority of sales will be of the 1.2-litre 69PS Duratec petrol unit, which has cut fuel consumption by 21 per cent compared to the previous 1.3-litre Ka. With this in mind, it's hard to see too many Ka customers being able to cover mileages great enough to make the savings that would justify the premium being asked for the 1.3-litre 75 PS Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel. Still, the TDCi's combined fuel consumption figure of 67.2mpg is tempting and would be more so if Ford could better it with an ECOnetic version. Both petrol and diesel models are available with sub-120g/km CO2 emissions.

Could I Live With One?

The Ka deserves the success it is enjoying with young, free and single buyers and for me it would be a realistic option as a second car. Full marks to Ford for continuing to break the mould and bringing us a little car with a lot of spark.