- We like...Nippy to drive
- We don't...Too few airbags as standard
Cute city car is, after 12 years on sale, finally showing its ageAn all-new Ford Ka is due in November and, until then, the original soldiers on. The Ka arrived back in 1996 and despite a facelift and various nips and tucks, what you get today is essentially the same as you got back then.
Twelve years is a long time in car design and in the Ka, it shows. While the little four-seater remains a whizz to drive, darting and weaving nimbly through town traffic and keeping those inside admirably comfortable, its age is all too obvious once it’s compared against more modern rivals.
Occupant safety is a let-down – it scores three out of five Euro NCAP stars where most of the competition have four – and the £7350 entry model has only a driver’s airbag – you pay extra for side airbags or for one in front of the passenger. And while there’s good head and leg-room in the front, the lack of steering column or seat height adjustment on most models means the teeny and the very tall may struggle to get comfortable at the wheel.
Then there’s its 1.3 engine. It produces a just-enough 70bhp, but it uses more fuel and pollutes more than most newer rivals. Its 43mpg and 154g/km of CO2 are poor by comparison.
Space inside is tight, too. The boot has barely enough room for a sports holdall and the rear hatch opening is narrow because of the Ka’s big rear lamps. The two rear seats do split and fold, but there’s nowhere near as much space as, say, a Fiat Panda or a Kia Picanto offers for luggage or passengers. And while both of those rivals offer five doors, the Ka makes do with just three.
Insurance is group 2-4, depending on model, which puts it level with its competitors. But its second-hand value in three years’ time is likely to be poor: you should expect to see a trade-in price of just a third of what you originally paid. A same-age Hyundai i10 ought to be worth substantially more.
And, unless you buy towards the top of the model range, the Ka lacks standard equipment. Buy the cheapest and you’ll miss out on central locking, while one with air conditioning costs at least £8000.
But at least a Ka will be cheap to keep serviced and repaired. Ford parts prices are lower than most, and any mechanic worth knowing should be familiar with the little car’s engine and running gear.
The next Ka will share some major parts with the Fiat Panda and Fiat 500, and will even emerge from the same Polish factory as they do. But, we’re told, it will use a Ford engine and feel substantially different to drive from its factory-mates.
Until then, a Ka is worth considering – but only if you’re offered a big, big discount on the brochure price.
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- 0-60 mph14.8sec
- Insurance groups3
Motors.co.uk value verdict: