The first Ford Ka single-handedly popularised the city car sector, with its space-age looks and attractive pricing.
The new Ka has been a long time coming and Ford has chosen to replace the original with a new Ka that’s based on the funky Fiat 500.
While the original featured distinctive bumpers – designed with first time drivers and the inevitable bumps and scrapes that come with it in mind – are now body coloured, the ‘cute’ front face and rounded, compact dimensions remain in the current generation.
It may look like a model straight from the Fiesta range, but the Ford Ka is actually based on Fiat’s Panda platform, an attribute it shares with the retro-styled Fiat 500.
As such, the new Ford bears a certain similarity to the little Fiat – and there are more similarities under the bonnet, including engines and transmission.
For the first time there is a diesel engine added to the single petrol engine offered with the Ka, which returns really good fuel economy of 67.3mpg but costs £700 more than the petrol alternative.
For the record the mid-range Zetec spec should cater for most tastes, and a 1.2-litre petrol engine is probably the best engine for most.
The petrol version returns 55.4mpg and delivers CO2 emissions of 119g/km. This is enough to qualify for free first year road tax and £30 for subsequent years.
These figures are not far away from the Fiat petrol versions – with the exception of the sub-100g/km two-cylinder TwinAir range Fiat recently introduced for its flagship small car.
Where the Ka does differ from the 500 is in ride and handling – both are noticeably better thanks to an anti-roll bar.
Ford engineers have worked hard on the steering and suspension to differentiate it from the Fiat, and the result is a very capable car in urban areas which is never overawed on the motorway.
The tweaks to the suspension are noticeable, offering more composure on bumpy roads and a more comfortable all-round drive.
In terms of practicality, the small dimensions are limit to space inside. Needless to say there’s not a lot of space in the back, but up-front it’s airy and there’s good room.
The instrument panel is taken directly from its Fiat counterparts, but the clever use of space still allows up to 700 litres of storage space rear bench folded down in the rear.
There are four equipment levels to choose from; Studio, Edge, Zetec and Titanium. The Zetec trim comes with all mod cons, including air-con, front fog lamps and alloy wheels.
If that isn’t enough choice, Ford offers some extra styling touches and special editions for the Ka, including custom colours and stripes for the exterior.
The original Ka set the bar, while the likes of the Fiat 500 have raised it again. However, the new Ford Ka picks up where the old one left off. Ford’s city car is every bit as able as the iconic original – and more.
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