What's the used Ford Ka+ hatchback like?
Once upon a time, the Ford Ka was a very small car, offered in its first generation as a diminutive three-door hatchback whose spirited handling soon captured the public imagination, and in its second generation as a slightly uninspiring city car based on the hugely popular Fiat 500.
Now, though, it’s known as the Ka+ and it’s a rather dumpy five-door hatchback that sits just below the Ford Fiesta in terms of size. It’s actually based on a small Ford hatchback that is made and sold only in India, albeit highly tweaked to suit European roads and needs, and as such it prioritises practicality and value for money above cheeky looks and engaging driving pleasure.
Engine choices are limited to just two, both are the same 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engine but you can have it in either 69bhp or 84bhp. Trim levels are likewise limited to two, the ultra-cheap Studio and better-equipped Zetec, which includes such desirable as alloy wheels, air-con and an infotainment system. There is also the possibility of tracking down two special-edition trims: White Edition and Black Edition.
In the showrooms, the Ka+ looks good, in the financial sense if not in the style sense. However, out on the open road, it is a little disappointing, with an unrefined and labouring engine, in either version, that needs revving hard to get the best from it and doesn’t sound pleasant when you do. To make matters worse, the Ka+ is equipped only with a five-speed gearbox.
On the flip side, it rides extremely well and smooths over bumps better than many larger cars. It steers nicely, too, and pushed hard it corners neatly. Just like the first-generation Ka, if you can ignore the engine this is a fine driver’s car.
There’s more good news inside, where there’s plenty of space for a six-footer to sit behind a six-footer, and the boot’s a reasonable size for this class, with 60/40 folding rear seats as standard. All the controls are all logically placed and easy to locate, and feel pleasant enough to use. However some of the materials used are a little low-rent and there are plenty of hard, scratchy plastics on view.
So overall the Ka+ has a lot going for it. It is, in truth, a much better car than the older Ka models and should prove a cheap car to run. In addition, prices on the used car market are now beginning to fall to levels that many would find quite attractive.