Ford Ka (2008 – 2016) Review

Ford Ka (2008 – 2016) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The second stab at the Ford Ka city car misses the sharp looks of the original, but this Fiat 500-based model drives well and represents good value as a very affordable used buy.

+Easy to drive and economical. Handles better than Fiat 500. More room in rear than the Fiat.

-Didn’t get TwinAir engine. Limited standard safety kit. Bland looks.

Insurance Groups are between 3–4
On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure

The second-generation Ford Ka is heavily based on the Fiat 500. That’s no bad thing and Ford waved its magic wand to improve the ride and handling for its version. There’s also a bit more rear space, but blander styling compared with the Italian model was a drawback. It also faced some talented rivals such as the Hyundai i10, and good-value Skoda Citigo. Read on for our full Ford Ka review.

The original Ford Ka that arrived in 1996 with chiselled good looks and nifty handling was a smash hit. Drivers loved it, and it sold strongly.

When it came to replacing it, Ford looked to Fiat to share the costs, and the two companies split the development between the Ford Ka and the reborn Fiat 500.

This all made sense right up to the moment the world went mad for the cute retro-styled Italian, and completely ignored the Ford Ka.

Ford had shot itself in the foot to a large degree with the anonymous looks of its city car, even if it had enjoyed a big slice of corporate product placement in a James Bond film.

It was all the more galling for Ford that it had invested time and effort in making its offering a better car to drive than the Fiat 500, with improved ride and handling. Ford had even squeezed a bit more space inside the cabin for those sat in the back.

A 1.3-litre diesel engine was offered, but most buyers opted for the 1.2-litre petrol and this engine makes most sense for the majority of used car buyers today.

The Ford Ka was not offered with Fiat’s cheeky TwinAir 0.9-litre engine, which feels like a missed opportunity.

A plethora of trims were available, but Zetec and Titanium are the ones to look for in the used market, as the others are all quite basic by comparison.

This is especially evident when looking at the amount of safety kit you get as standard with each trim. When tested in 2008 by Euro NCAP, the Ford Ka scored a so-so four-star rating, as it only had driver and passenger airbags as standard.

As a used buy today, the Ford Ka is cheap to own and decent to drive, but there are several more attractive alternatives from other car makers.

Fancy a second opinion? Read heycar's Ford Ka review here.

Ask Honest John

Where can I get a Ford Ka 2010 rear brake drum ABS sensor?

"We have been looking everywhere including on Ford website and can't seem to find the ABS speed sensor ring that goes on the rear brake drum hub. The brake drum has 4 threaded bolt holes for wheel bolts and two dowels to locate the alloy wheel. It is 180mm internal diameter and marked as Fiat internally. it has integral bearings with an abs sensor ring on the end. The Ford website has two ABS sensor rings but neither of these are correct as it looks like the magnetic surface is on the face and not the side. The ABS sensor is not flush with the back plate but it protruded in about 10-15mm to detect the magnet poles on the side of the ABS ring. Any ideas where we can get new ABS ring and how many poles it is likely to have, failing that new complete drum/bearings/ABS ring?"
This generation of Ford Ka was based on the Fiat 500, so you may have more luck trying a Fiat dealer or parts specialist, as the 500 has been in production for many years which should make finding the correct part straightforward.
Answered by David Ross

Why does the accelerator pedal on my Ford Ka sit so high?

"I have just got my first car which happens to be a Ford Ka 2010. I've noticed that compared to the other cars I have been driving recently the accelerator seems to sit very high, so much so that if when resting my foot on it, my foot is angled as far back as possible to the point where I get shin/ankle pain almost immediately. Is this normal and can anything be done to lower the position of the pedal?"
It would seem you are not alone with this problem as there have been quite a few drivers unhappy with the pedal position. However we do not have a solution (and it would seem neither does Ford). You may want to find a local garage who may be able to offer a solution or fix.
Answered by Alan Ross

What is causing my Ford KA to lose power when driving up hills?

"I have just bought a 2013 Ford KA. It has 13,000 miles on the clock. We live on a steep hill and it can barely get up the hill from a standing start with one driver and no luggage. Our old KA could do it no problem fully laden with two adults! The car dealer says the engine is smaller than the old KA, the car heavier and in order to get enough power/momentum to get up the hill we have to rev the engine hard. Is this right? "
Presumably, this is the 1.2-litre petrol engine that develops 69PS. It's a very slow engine - the 0-62mph dash takes a leisurely 13.4 seconds. This means it will require a lot of hard work on challenging hills. That said, it might be worth looking at the car's service history. The mileage suggests the car has spent most of its life standing outside. If it hasn't been serviced for a long time then dirty air and fuel filters may be impeding its performance.
Answered by Dan Powell

We want a small car for less than £2000. What advice would you give to a clueless buyer?

"We need a second car for local trips (the school run, popping to the shops etc - no long motorway journeys). I don't want to spend more than £2000 and I've narrowed it down to three (I think), all with full service history and falling around 2008-2010. They are Toyota Aygos 1.0-litre (mileage 45-79k); Hyundai i10 1.1 or 1.2 (mileage 44-55k); and Ford Ka (2009-10) 1.2 (50k or 84k). My head says Hyundai. What advice would you give to a clueless cash car buyer?"
At this price point, it's best not to focus too much on searching out a particular model. Keep an open mind and seek out a good car for sale locally. You might find a hidden gem – a car that's been well cared for, being sold by an honest private seller and for a good price. Evidence of regular maintenance is desirable (although don't necessarily expect a fully-stamped service book), as is a long MoT test. We'd generally advise avoiding trade sellers at this price range – there are quite a few unscrupulous sellers shifting cheap cars that have been plucked from auction and are fit for scrap. That said, you might find a reputable dealer selling a good car that's been taken in part-exchange. The Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto and Toyota Aygo (as well as the very similar Peugeot 107 and Citroen C1) are all good choices that'll be cheap to run, although their popularity with young drivers pushes prices up. You could also look at the slightly bigger Ford Fiesta – the 1.25-litre engine is very reliable and there are loads about (so you can be picky about condition).
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Ford Ka (2008 – 2016) cost?