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The Ford Ka is one of the first city cars in the world. It was introduced in 1996 and took many people fancy: it was great to drive, looked fashionable, was comfortable, compact but capacious, and affordable to maintain. In other words, it was a very good choice for city dwellers who had to find a way to get around.
The first- and second-generation Ford Ka cars are three-door hatchbacks, but the first-generation models were also constructed as sport hatchbacks (the SportKA) and two-door convertibles (the StreetKa). Many Ford Ka fans wish a convertible model were carried further, to the next generation.
Last significant upgrade of the Ford Ka was made in 2008, when the second generation was launched. The car acquired new design, new technologies, and a new drivetrain, but many features are shared with the Fiat Panda and Fiat 500.
The Ford Ka is still fun to drive and pleasant to look at as it was twenty years ago when it just went on sale. Such features let it rival the Volkswagen Up!, Skoda Citigo, and Hyundai i10. However, the Ka car do not give you a right to choose a powertrain and is more expensive to purchase and run than other cars in the segment.
Exterior and Interior
The Ford Ka looks stylish despite its age. A single glance at it is enough to understand that you’re looking at Ford’s creation. Let’s take at least a famous trapezoidal grille at the front end. It’s also obvious that some styling cues are taken over from the Ford Fiesta.
The Ford Ka has the same domelike roof the Fiat 500 has. But it must be the only feature they have in common. Well, almost the only one.
The car’s interior design reveals itself after you spend some time inside. At first, you just notice how trendy and nice it is. Then, you realize that the materials aren’t of such good quality other manufacturers use although they don’t look and feel cheap. This is another feature the Ford Ka has in common with the Fiat 500 it’s based on together with radio controls.
An instrument cluster and dashboard controls are well arranged and legible. It’s a valuable feature that keeps a driver concentrated on the road instead of trying to find a needed button. A gear lever also occupies a good position (it’s lifted up a bit).
Once again, the Ford Ka is a three-door compact car. For this reason, access to the rear seats isn’t as easy as you’d like it to be (a tilting driver’s seat on the advanced models makes it a little easier, though). Hopefully, a five-door version will be available soon. Only then, it’ll be an appropriate vehicle for carrying more than two people regularly. Meanwhile, its competitors surpass it on this score.
Head and leg room at the front are excellent. A driver is offered brilliant outward visibility but they, unfortunately, cannot adjust a steering wheel to their body parameters.
Those at the back feel a bit cramped. Although there’s plenty of head room here, shoulder and leg room is confined. Also, a person occupying a seat in the middle isn’t provided with a seatbelt.
The car’s suspension fulfils its responsibilities very well. Your sit-upon won’t feel every pot-hole on the road while you’re in the Ford Ka. Be sure.
As for sound insulation, the manufacturer should pay particular attention to it. Wind and road noise as well as engine roar penetrates into the cabin, especially under acceleration. On long-distance journeys, it’s annoying.
The Ford Ka offers decent cargo space for the class. There are 224 litres behind the rear seats. But its rivals offer more. Due to the ability of the rear seats on the top models to fold flat, the car’s cargo space can be expanded up to 747 litres.
Loading and unloading a vehicle is always arduous. Loading and unloading a vehicle with a high boot lip is a torture. It’s another problem the Ford Ka has to tackle.
Good news is that the compact car provides enough compartments for storing knick-knacks. There are rather large door pockets and a glovebox in the cabin. Also, there are recesses for keeping gadgets and cup holders. The centre console and ceiling contain stretchy storage nets.
Powertrain and Fuel Efficiency
While design and comfort of the Ford Ka were improved, its powertrain remained unchanged for some reasons. It should have been paid special attention, though, because of its age.
The Ford Ka can be powered by one engine – a 1.2-litre petrol unit capable of producing 68 bhp. With the top speed of 99 mph, it accelerates the car to 62 mph in 13.4 seconds. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
The powertrain is adequate for driving in the city and on uneven country roads but it isn’t powerful enough to drive on highways. The engine is also quite adequate in terms of fuel efficiency. It’s estimated to return 57.6 mpg. However, some of its rivals do better (for example, the Skoda Citigo covers 67 mpg).
The Ford Ka is a car that can satisfy even the most exacting customers’ appetites. You can equip it with the combinations of exterior and interior colours and functions to your liking. The Ford Ka comes in three trim levels (Studio, Edge, Zetec, and Titanium) and three styles (Digital, Metal, and Grand Prix) despite the fact that it’s available with only one engine. Here are some features each model is equipped with.
The base Studio and Edge offer power windows at the front, remote central locking, and air conditioner. The more upgraded Ford Ka Zetec adds heated side view mirrors, fog lamps at the front, and 50/50 split rear seats. With the range-topping Titanium models, you can order the Advanced Music package that contains a six-speaker audio system, amplifier, and subwoofer.
Absence of smartphone connectivity (saying nothing of the sat nav as a built-in feature) on the latest Ford Ka can repel many buyers, especially young people who keep all the information important to them in their devices and want to be able to use it any minute, even behind the steering wheel.
If it isn’t about you, an infotainment system the Ford Ka offers may be quite sufficient. It’s represented by a four-speaker FM/CD/MP3 player and USB/Bluetooth connectivity; audio controls are mounted on the steering wheel.
Although the Ford Ka received four of five stars from Euro NCAP, this result isn’t relevant today as long as the car was evaluated according to an old system, before stricter evaluation rules were introduced. Obviously, under modern criteria, the Ford Ka would perform worse unlike its rival the Hyundai i10 that earned five stars according to new crash test evaluation parameters.
The Ford Ka provides airbags for a driver and passenger as standard features while side airbags are standard only on the Titanium models (optional on all the rest). An electronic stability control is also added.
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