Cute and easy to live with, wheelworldreviews Editor DAVID HOOPER looks at the latest baby Ka from Ford.
FORD’S Ka is now into its second generation, but after the long-lived success of the original, the newcomer has a lot to live up to.
With urban-proof plastic bumpers fore and aft and engagingly agile handling, the unusually named Ka recipe was one that Ford left largely unaltered for the best part of 12 years – an unusually long life cycle for any car in the modern motor industry.
An updated model then, was long overdue, and Ford got into bed with Fiat when it created the latest Ka which shares much of its being with Fiat’s cute 500.
There are four models to choose from, Studio, Style, Style+ and the Zetec model I have been testing, which comes with alloy wheels, tinted glass and front fog lights as standard. Power comes from either a 1.2-litre petrol engine, or a 1.3-litre diesel, so there aren’t too many choices to make in the engine department.
Designed to appeal to a younger audience, the interior of the Ka is a very pleasant place to be, and I loved the colour-co-ordinated trim detailing. Much of the centre console was finished in white, with silver Ka lettering in silver giving it trendy look. The white trim theme continued onto the steering wheel, instrument binnacle and door handles, which combined with plenty of glass, gave the car a light feel to its interior. There is seating for four – something to consider if you will need to transport five people occasionally.
Although the Ka is at the foot of the Ford model range, don’t think for a minute that it is lacking any of the creature comforts we have come to expect these days. In Zetec trim, the model I tested came with electric windows and mirrors, a Quickclear heated windscreen, power steering, a stereo Radio CD player with MP3 connectivity and and 12v socket to run your sat-nav from. You also get remote central locking and air conditioning.
A clever touch is to be found under the front passenger’s seat, the cushion of which flips over to reveal some under-seat storage.
With a small, 35-litre fuel tank, you could be forgiven for thinking that the Ka will have a fairly limited range, but during my test of around 250 miles, which included lots of town driving, as well as a trip to Lincoln and back, I was impressed to see on its trip computer that over that distance, the little Ka had recorded an average of 56.2 miles per gallon which is impressive enough, but driven more gently, some owners will be able to achieve over 60mpg without trying too hard.
The seating position is quite high, but the seats are supportive and comfortable and afford a good view of your surroundings. The car is easy to manoeuvre and park, and will cruise comfortably at the legal limits on faster roads.
The short gear stick is mounted off the floor on the centre console, and slots accurately and smoothly from gear to gear. The little diesel engine pulls steadily once on the go, but with a 0-62mph time of just over 13 seconds, and top speed of 100mph, it’s not going to set the world alight, but it will get you from A to B in comfort and without any dramas.
Ford have done good work on the suspension set-up, so the car will absorb most bumps without rattling the teeth of its occupants.
The boot is a good size too, with plenty of room for the weekly shopping, if you fold down the rear seats, there’s ample space for most occasions.
With cheap road tax, and reasonable residual values, the little Ka won’t break the bank to own and run either, so if you’re looking for an affordable town car, then it’s worth putting on your shopping list.
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Ford Ka Zetec 1.3 Duratorq.
FORD KA RANGE: From Ka Studio 1.2 3dr (£7,995) to Ka Titanium 1.3 TDCi 3dr (£11,245).
ENGINE: 1248cc, 75PS four-cylinder engine, driving front wheels through 5-speed manual gearbox.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 112g/km.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 100mph. 0-62mph in 13.1 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 54.3mpg. Country: 76.4mpg. Combined: 67.3mpg.
Fuel tank: 35 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 2.
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles.