Review: Ford Ka+ (2016)

Rating:

Impressive levels of comfort and refinement. Spacious interior and large boot. Well-equipped as standard. Good ride and very comfortable.

Not as efficient or as cheap to buy as its rivals. Bland styling. 1.2 petrol engine is characterless and slow.

Recently Added To This Review

18 September 2019 R/2019/228:

Un-fused battery monitoring system wire chafing. Fix: Visual inspection of the BMS wiring and replace the wire if damage is identified. Cloth tape is to be used to wrap the BMS wiring and install a... Read more

1 December 2018

Report of clutch failing on September 2018 Ford KA+ at 500 miles on 1-11-2018. Now 1-12-2018 and supplying dealer still unable to obtain a replacement clutch. Cannot give customer date to repair. Advised... Read more

5 February 2018 Updated Ford Ka+ arrives

The Ka+ gets Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlamps. It also has a new 1.2-litre three-cylinder Ti-VCT (Twin independent Variable Camshaft... Read more

Ford Ka+ (2016): At A Glance

The Ka+ is the cheapest new Ford, with its sub-£9k price pitching it squarely against the best five-door small hatchbacks on the market. Good build quality and low running costs make the Ka+ easy to recommend, although some might be disappointed by the bland styling and sluggish performance.

Despite the name, the Ka+ is not actually related to the Ka - it’s actually based on the Fiesta. Yet, despite being shorter than Ford’s best-selling hatchback, the Ka+ is a proper five seater and has a useable 270-litre boot.

There are only two trim levels to choose from - Studio and Zetec - but both versions get lots of kit as standard, including front fog lights, electric door mirrors, Bluetooth and electric front windows. However, unlike the competition, there are no colourful customisation options for the interior, which means you have to make do with lots of dull grey plastic. 

Despite being the entry-level car of the Ford range, the Ka+ doesn’t feel below par when it comes to quality. All of the doors shut with a satisfying clunk and the switchgear in the cabin feels on par with anything you’d find in the Mondeo or S-MAX. Soundproofing levels are also impressive, which means the cabin is quiet and a relaxing place to sit.

The Ka+ impresses on the road with a smooth ride that does a good job of ironing out bumpy roads and potholes. The steering is precise and light, which makes it easy to navigate tight urban streets and exploit gaps in traffic. The large windscreen and wide door mirrors also provide excellent visibility, which makes reversing and parking a stress free experience.

The engine and gearboxes choices are limited. In fact, there is just one engine - a 1.2-litre petrol that comes in two versions - 70PS or 85PS. And there's only a five-speed manual gearbox. Both versions of the four-cylinder engine return an official 56.5mpg, however, even in its most powerful form, the Ka+ is slow footed, with 0-62mph taking 13 seconds. Opt for the 70PS unit and you’ll be waiting 15 seconds to hit motorway speeds, which makes busy junctions and slip roads a frustrating experience.

Despite its shortcomings, the Ka+ is a decent small hatchback, even if it sorely lacks Ford’s excellent 1.0 EcoBoost engine. The interior gets all the basics right, with lots of space and impressive build quality. Running costs are also low, which makes the Ka+ an appealing choice as a second car. However, there’s no hiding the fact that the 1.2-litre engine is weak on performance. The dull interior only enhances the fact that the Ka+ desperately lacks the fun and style of its rivals. 

Ford Ka+ 2016 Road Test

What does a Ford Ka+ (2016) cost?

List Price from £11,300
Buy new from £10,230
Contract hire from £151.94 per month
Get a finance quote with CarMoney

Ford Ka+ (2016): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 3929 mm
Width 1911 mm
Height 1521 mm
Wheelbase 2489 mm

Full specifications

Despite measuring just four metres in length, the Ka+ is a proper five seater. However, owing to its upright stance, it actually feels more spacious than the Fiesta it is based on.

This is because the five-door Ka+ is 29mm taller than the Fiesta, which means even tall adults will fit in the back, without their head bouncing against the roof of the car.

The Ka+ gets one of the largest boots of any small hatchback, with 270 litres on offer, including a 13-litre underfloor storage compartment. This can be extended to 849 litres, with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats, but even with the rear seats in place there is enough space for a couple of large suitcases, although the high boot lip makes it tricky to load heavy items without catching the paintwork.

Unlike some bargain basement hatchbacks, Ford hasn’t scrimped on the quality of the trim and fittings. Everything feels solid and there are no rattles or creaks, which reinforces the impression that the cabin is built to last.

The dashboard does look and feel old fashioned though. The design is similar to the Fiesta, which makes it easy to read and use, but there is little colour or imagination with the layout. There are also no colourful customisation options for the interior, which means you are stuck with lots of dull grey and black plastics.

Standard equipment is good across both the two trim levels though. Entry-level Studio versions gets all of the basics, with front fog lights, electric door mirrors, remote central locking and a docking clamp for your phone. Zetec models add 15-inch alloy wheels, air con, cruise control and Ford’s Sync system, with improved smartphone integration with the infotainment system.

Standard Equipment (from 2016):

Studio has 15-inch steel wheels with 8x2 spoke wheel covers, body coloured bumpers, chrome upper grille, electrically operated door mirrors with side indicators, front fog lamps with daytime running lights, AM/FM radio with device dock, Bluetooth, USB connectivity, speed limiter, Ford EasyFuel, electric front windows, hill start assist, engine immobiliser, trip computer, perimeter alarm, remote central locking, centre rear head restraint, tyre repair kit and deflation detection system (DDS).

Zetec adds 15-inch 5x2 spoke alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, DAB radio with 4.2-inch TFT screen, Ford SYNC, MyKey, leather steering wheel with remote audio controls and cruise control.

Child seats that fit a Ford Ka+ (2016)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Ford Ka+ (2016) like to drive?

As with all small cars, the Ka+ excels in busy cities and towns, with its compact dimensions and precise, light steering making it great for navigating rush hour traffic or fitting into narrow parking spaces on the school run. Refinement levels are also impressive, with the smooth ride and quiet cabin giving the Ka+ the feel of a much larger car.

Despite being 40mm shorter than the Fiesta, the Ka+ feels stable and sure footed, with minimal body roll in the corners or buffering in poor weather. Sometimes small hatchbacks can feel a skittish in the winter - or when passing a large HGV - but the little Ford has no such problems.

The handling, like many Fords, is strong, with the weigh of the steering increasing in tune with the vehicle's speed. This means you can navigate a series of twisty bends, without having to guess how much grip the front wheels may have. The five-speed manual gearbox is also slick, which well-judged ratios.

The weak link in the package is the 1.2-litre petrol engine, which has been derived from the old 1.25 unit from the Fiesta. Available with 70PS or 85PS, the four-cylinder engine feels lethargic above 50mph and even the most powerful version will only muster 112Nm of torque at 4000rpm. As a result the Ka+ is hard work on the motorway, with one or two downchanges required to build momentum to exit a slip road or pass slow moving traffic.

Running costs also lag behind the competition, with the 70PS and 85PS units returning an official 56.5mpg and emitting 114g/km of CO2. In comparison, the best small hatchbacks will officially exceed 65mpg. But, as always, we recommend prioritising Real MPG ratings over anything the car manufacturers tell you.

While the engine might fall behind on performance and economy, it does have a good reputation for reliability in the Fiesta. It is also smooth and quiet, which makes the Ka+ a tranquil motorway cruiser, once you’ve eventually reached 70mph.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.2 70 55–57 mpg 15.3 s 114 g/km
1.2 85 57 mpg 13.3 s 114 g/km

Real MPG average for a Ford Ka+ (2016)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

85%

Real MPG

39–55 mpg

MPGs submitted

32

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Ford Ka+ (2016)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Should I be worried about owning a petrol car in the future?

I currently have a Ford Ka+ and am very happy with it but worry about owning a petrol car into the future. I don't drive to work so like to keep the car in the garage in the week so it needs to be quite narrow. What do you recommend for a suitably narrow EV or PHEV to replace the Ka+ when the time comes?
If you're happy with your Ka+, I wouldn't be too worried about its replacement for the time being. Petrol cars account for around 70 per cent of all new car registrations and EVs just 5 per cent - it will be a long time before petrol cars are under threat. At the moment there are very few EVs as small as your Ka+, but there are more on their way - the new Honda e, for example.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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