Is the Ford Ka the best budget super mini?
The Ford Ka is a delightful and charming little car that competes heavily with the Fiat 500, Vauxhall Adam and Mini One for sales. The 500 might be more popular, the Adam for customisable and the Mini more desirable, but the Ka caters for a segment of motorists who want a budget super mini that lives up to its name. It all starts with the design; the Ford Ka instantly stands out in the street. 15-inch 13-spoke alloy wheels come as standard in Zetec trim and buyers have the opportunity to choose different body colours for wing mirrors and the front grill. This customisability allows you to put a personal touch to your ride. Even if you opted for one solid colour, though, the Ka looks the part with a sporty stance and whatever model of Ka you choose, each one benefits from bold lines and sweeping head lights.
Inside, we really like the Ford Ka. There are several different trim designs to choose from which change the colour of the centre console fascia, seating and steering wheel inserts. These range from beige and turquoise to black and fluorescent green. These bold colours and combinations are sure to appeal to motorists who are considering a 500 or Adam, two cars that also offer this type of customisation. If you’re clever you can also match your interior to your exterior paint work.
From the driver’s seat the Ka offers a terrific view of the road ahead and the seats are comfortable and supportive. Birmingham’s Bristol Street Motors offers the Ford Ka, and if you drive one, you’ll be pleased with the driving position and the deceptively roomy interior. Just like all modern Ford, the Ka has well-weighted switchgear and everything is laid out perfectly. There’s even several cup holders within arm’s reach.
On paper the petrol and diesel engines available in the Ka offer similar performance, but it’s the petrol engines you will want; they are rev happy little units that make the Ka feel very nippy indeed. The 1.3 TDCi diesel engine has the potential to return good economy but the initial outlay is a whole £930 more than the 1.2-litre engine in Zetec trim, which is our pick of the range.
Standard equipment in the Ford Ka Hatchback 1.2 Zetec 3dr includes air conditioning, electric heated mirrors, heated windscreen (unique to Ford vehicles), CD player, MP3 / iPod connectivity, alloy wheels, front fog lights and split / fold rear seats. Strangely, Bluetooth is an optional £250 extra, whereas in the 500 it comes as standard.
Overall, the Ford Ka is a tempting budget super mini. The cost of the model listed above new is £10,545 and for the equivalent Fiat 500, you’ll be asked to pay £865 extra. Minus Bluetooth the 500 still rolls in at £665 more than the Ka. In the end, which you prefer is likely to come down to personal taste. In our view both are exceptionally good cars, yet the Ka pips the 500 at the post for bargain hunters.