The third-generation Ford Ka earned the ‘+’ moniker because– as you’d expect -it was a bit bigger than the previous versions. It’s not just a case though, of giving this fun city car a bit more room for your legs to stretch in. The Ford Ka+ adds a few nice touches whiles keeping the fun driving experience that the first Ka was famed for.
The Ford Ka+ could be compared to an accountant with a love for breakdancing - while it will put a smile on your face as soon as you turn the key, the car has a plain and simple appearance.
It has all the usual Ford styling cues of a trapezoidal grille flanked by large headlights, with various vents and angles in the bumper below. Its designers seem to have made the look less love-it-or-hate-it than the original Ka. Less cute, if you will. The tall sides lead back to a decent-sized tailgate that extends right down to the rear bumper.
The design undeniably works, because the car has always been designed to portray practicality in a small package.
The Ford Ka+ could be compared to an accountant with a love for breakdancing.
What’s it like to drive?
The Ka+ is based on underpinnings from the larger Fiesta model, which is a cracking start as the Fiesta is a truly brilliant supermini to drive. And so it proves with the Ka+.
Its light, accurate steering makes it a delight in the cut and thrust of city traffic, and parking the Ka+ is a breeze. Where some city cars start to feel slightly ill at ease when the roads open up and become a bit quicker, the Ka+ simply feels even more in its element: nippy and always on its toes. The car manages to combine this twinkle toes feeling with a ride quality that makes most bumps feels like they aren’t there.
The more powerful 1.2-litre petrol gives the Ka+ enough performance. Later cars also have the choice of a diesel powerplant, which feels more lethargic.
The Ka+ is based on underpinnings from the larger Fiesta model, which is a cracking start.
The Ford Ka+ has a fairly low purchase price so you might not expect it to feel like a BMW inside. Nevertheless, the whole ambience and feeling of quality is better than you might expect. Everything certainly feels built to deal with the rigours of a busy family life.
The dashboard is a pretty attractive offering with various shapes, cut-outs and vents to draw the eye. Immediately ahead of the driver sits a wonderfully simple steering wheel that has pleasingly few buttons on it. There mainly control just the telephone and audio systems.
In front of that, the instrument binnacle provides all the information you need, including revs, speed, water temperature and fuel gauge. Top the left of this on the dashboard is a small information display, while on higher-spec Zetec models there is a colour infotainment screen on the top of the dashboard.
In Studio models, this is surrounded by a selection of buttons seemingly designed upon a mobile phone from 2004. Zetec versions have a more modern set-up that’s easier to use and more informative. There’s no sat-nav available, but Zetec models come with DAB radio.
Ford has clearly learned the art of bending physics because the Ka+ is easily one of the most practical city cars around. It genuinely has space for five people and their luggage in a length that would take you around four paces to walk alongside.
They have though, so upfront there’s space for a couple of lanky adults to stretch out with little chance of them brushing the headlining with their barnets.
The clever bit is behind because a couple of tall adults should easily fit behind a couple of similarly tall folk up front. A third adult will also fit in the middle, but they’ll need to be on first-name terms with the others – Ford may be able to bend physics but it can’t work magic yet.
The boot, meanwhile, is one of the largest of any similarly sized vehicle, so you’ll get a week’s shopping in there easily. There’s also an underfloor area for valuables.
Running costs and reliability
The Ford Ka+ takes all the fun driving characteristics and cheap running costs that the original Ka was rightly lauded for, but adds genuinely amazing cabin space, boot room and general usability. It’s known for being reliable and the thrifty engines are fabulously thirst-free. There’s also a Ford dealer on basically every second street, so servicing and maintenance shouldn’t be a problem.
It’s also decently equipped. If there’s one caveat, the Ka+ scored only a middling three-star result when it was tested by Euro NCAP back in 2017 and was mainly marked down because it has no automatic emergency braking system fitted.
What we love
The Ford Ka was always a fun city car to drive. The second generation gave it serious credentials too. It looked like a proper scaled-down version of a bigger hatchback and was comfortable to be in, whether nipping round town or cruising on the motorway. Best of all, the Ka is easy and cheap to own.
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The low running costs and sensible styling of the second-generation Ford Ka set it apart from most city car rivals. It’s reliable, fun to drive and comfortable to travel in. The big options list makes it possible to find the perfectly equipped car for you.
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