A closer look at the Ford Ka+
What we have here is the entry level, simple, no nonsense and cheapest Ford you can buy. However, itís not the famed Fiesta but its new smaller brother.
Called the Ka+ it uses the Fiestaís underpinnings and is of similar size but fits below it while being around £4k cheaper. Think of it as a Fiesta- (minus) and youíre thinking along the right lines. This thinking continues in the cabin too because the Kaís dashboard feels very similar to the Fiestas but itís not quite there in terms of design or quality. The plastics used throughout have a slightly cheap feel to them while down at the bottom the plastic used around the gear level can be described as quite horrible. Having said this it is a cheap car so youíve got to expect this. Thereís pretty decent storage, youíve got a fairly decent sized glove box and you also get not two but four cup holders. Whilst the door bins arenít anything to shout out about theyíre still large enough to fit your standard bottle of water easily enough. Itís quite easy to get comfortable in the Ford Ka+ due to the height adjustable driverís seat. However, the steering wheel only adjusts up and down and not in and out.
The Ka+ comes in just two flavours. Youíve got the Studio which covers all the basics such as electric windows, air conditioning, Bluetooth, USB, aux inputs, electric mirrors, an alarm and front fog lamps. Meanwhile the Zetec trim adds alloys, a leather steering wheel, DAB radio and Sync Voice Recognition.
Much like the Vauxhall Viva and the Renault Twingo the Ford Ka+ only comes with 5 doors. This is great if youíve got a young family because youíve got easier access to the rear seats and the iSOfix fittings. When you sit in the back youíll find that youíve got a decent amount of knee room and the head room is ok. You can actually fit three people in the back and the person sitting in the middle even gets a decent amount of shoulder room as well.
Unfortunately, when you head to the back of the car things donít get off to a particularly good start due to the fact you donít get any exterior handle to open the boot. You either have to press a button on the centre console or press one on the key fob. Once itís opened you are greeted to what is actually a pretty decent sized boot which is very good for the city car class. As an idea of size the boot is only 10 litres less than the Ford Fiesta so thereís a good amount of space on offer to fit your luggage and groceries. Thereís even space for a space saver wheel and you can make the boot that little bit bigger by folding down the split-fold rear seats. The only problem we have here is that thereís a little step between the back seats and the boot floor which means you canít slide your goods towards the front with a great deal of ease.
As itís the entry level Ford you wonít find any interesting engines and neither will you get the excellent 1 litre turbo petrol which youíll find in the Fiesta. Instead the Ka+ makes do with a very conventional 1.2 litre petrol developing 69 bhp in the Studio and 84 bhp in the Zetec. Itís not particularly fast or eager to make any decent progress but it is smooth, quiet and can easily return over 50 mpg.
By now you should be thinking of the Ford Ka+ as a sort of Fiesta- (minus) because now we come on to the driving experience which is very Fiesta-rish. By this we mean that the steering is lovely, accurate and light which makes the overall handling very much like its older brother. The only real difference is that the body tends to roll a little bit more in corners. Having said this itís more comfortable on the road than the Fiesta. Itís not just the engine thatís quiet, despite this being a basic small car thereís plenty of sound insulation and very little tire and wind noise enter the cabin. The suspension is soft and the controls really are a delight to use. Overall it puts the more expensive and smaller city cars to shame for comfort.
The Ford Ka+ is without doubt a perfectly decent car. Ok, it doesnít impress you like a Skoda Citigo or put a smile on your face like the Renault Twingo but much like the Vauxhall Viva this is a very functional car. In many respects it does feel like a car from the class above and not like a budget city car. In many ways it feels like your typical old Ford. Much like the original Ford Ka in fact because the whole car feels very sophisticated for the price Ford is charging for it. The only thing that lets it down is the engine. The whole package is strong but itís the engine where it really falls down. The engine just feels that little bit too strained and less inclined to actually get you moving which is a bit of a shame. In many ways we really do wish that Ford had put the 1 litre 3 cylinder turbo petrol unit in this because it would make this car an absolute hoot. However, if they did do this then Ford would probably lose sales from the Fiesta to the Ka+.
While the performance is adequate the same canít be said for the styling. The Ka+ is a far cry from the original Ford Ka from twenty years ago and it looks particularly awkward from some angles. However, we have to remind ourselves that this is a totally different car with a different remit. Think of it as a cheap way to get supermini motoring and the dull styling suddenly becomes irrelevant.
To conclude, we would say that if you prefer your cars to be cute and cuddly then the Ford Ka+ is probably not for you. This is because itís such a far cry from the original. However, if youíre on a budget and you canít quite stretch to a Fiesta then itís definitely worth a look. Itís both practical and appealing in its own honest way. Take a look at some of the Ford Ka+, or any other cars mentioned in this article, by searching with DesperateSeller.co.uk.