Both engines – a 67bhp 1.2-litre petrol and a 74bhp 1.3-litre diesel – take much the same time to hit 62mph, so they won’t set the road alight. They are well suited to city driving, though – the diesel is more flexible, but the petrol’s appetite for revs makes it more fun to drive.
The Ka borrows its chassis from the Fiat 500, but tweaks to the suspension and steering have made the Ford better to drive: it’s nimble through the corners and accurate to steer. The ride is surprisingly good for such a small car – it’s still fairly firm, but more settled than the Fiat 500 it’s based on.
Work the petrol engine hard and it does make a racket. It’s a more endearing noise than the diesel's incessant rumbling, though. There's lots of wind noise around the door mirrors and the top of the side windows, and less-than-perfect Tarmac cranks up road roar more than we’d like.
The Ka’s biggest downfall is its price – especially considering the limited spec and lack of options. The discounts will help, but that and high sales volumes mean that the Ka's residual values aren't as good as the Fiat 500's. Both engines are frugal and cheap to tax, but the less expensive petrol makes much more sense to buy.
In the Ka, Ford has avoided the retro-route Fiat took with the 500, but has still come up with an attractive and workable interior. It's clearly built to a tight price, but bright colour options keep things cheery. There shouldn't be many worries about the Ka's dependability - owners rated its mechanical reliability as average in the 2012 JD Power survey.
The Ka scored four stars for adult protection in Euro NCAP crash tests. But, whichever trim you go for, only two airbags are fitted as standard – that’s simply unacceptable in this day and age. You can pay extra for four more – plus stability control – but that just pushes the lofty price even higher.
Getting comfy isn’t terribly easy, because you can’t adjust the reach of the steering wheel, and moving it up or down upsets the angle. The high seating position isn’t exactly sporty, but it does give a good view of the road. The simple design of the dash means it's easier to use than a knife and fork.
As small cars go, it's not too bad. Larger rear passengers won’t fancy a long trip, but those up front a well catered for. The boot’s a reasonable size, too – if you can haul your gear over the lofty lip. The rear seats fold down, but they aren’t split in Studio trim cars.
Entry-level Studio trim misses out on electric windows and central locking, and you need to step up to Edge trim to get air-conditioning. Sporty Zetec is our favourite trim, but even the top-of-the-range Titanium gets just two airbags as standard. There are plenty of accessories to personalise the car, as well as various 'Individual' models in the range, all with unique looks and bespoke interiors - but at a high price.
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It may be one of the dearer Kas, but this is our favourite version, as it has a sensible amount of kit to go with the fun drive it shares with every model.