Ford Ka, good first car? - lordwoody
My daughter is hoping to take a test soon and wants to buy a car to practise in and drive once she's passed her test. (she's unable to add herself to our cars insurance) She has a max of £1,500 and likes the Ka. At this price there are quite a few available. I have to go and look at a few in the next day or so, so is there anything I should look out for ( I believe they can have a tendency to rust) and is it a good buy? I have suggested a Micra myself but this is considered too 'old lady'. We have looked at Saxo too but that felt rather tinny and flimsy, and had no power steering. It also looked rather dated beside the Ka. Any thoughts anyone?
Ford Ka, good first car? - jase1
I'd prefer a Corsa or Fiesta myself.

The Ka is OK but it's very prone to rust, and the engines at the age you'll be looking at (these cars keep their value ridiculously well given that they only sell for £5K new) are very old-school and prone to being noisy, oil leaks etc.

If they were cheap, great (parts are very reasonable), but I just think they're overpriced for what they are.

For some solid alternatives to the (very good) Micra, you might want to have a quick look at the Seat Ibiza, Hyundai Getz (lots of low-mileage FSH examples about for £1800 or so -- just out of warranty so well looked after), Toyota Starlet and anything with a Daihatsu badge.
Ford Ka, good first car? - tyro
If you get one, check it carefully for rust first.

According to ADAC statistics, Kas first registered in 2002 are particularly reliable, with 2001 also being a good year.
Ford Ka, good first car? - DP
My sister has an early example (R reg) which was her first car, and three years later she's still got it. Brilliant little car and deserves its popularity (and high-ish residuals).

The only serious problem it's had was when the plugs corroded into the head (two have been drilled out and replaced, the other two are still in there for now). Otherwise, a reliable car that's easy to drive for beginners, fun for more experienced drivers (hence why sis has never got bored with it), and costs peanuts to run and insure. It's also one of the few small city cars that can doesn't feel out of its depth on a motorway, and feels cheap in a charming 2CV type way rather than a bland grey plastic Japanese way.

Sis's is still quite sound at 10 yrs old, but they do rot, and have to be checked carefully, and they also suffer from the Fiesta phenomenon of front suspension bushes made of cheese, but any indie garage can look after them for very little outlay. You will also not find lower parts prices on any car anywhere.

A word of warning though - my mum has an 03 reg StreetKa which has been a complete dog of a car and given endless problems (latest was a burst expansion tank to add to the failed coils, catalytic converter, thermostat, door locks, alarm, remote locking, anti roll bar bushes, brake calipers etc etc...). Within your budget, you'd be looking at the older pushrod engine which is a bulletproof thing as long as the plugs are removed and copper greased every service, and the tappets are kept adjusted.

Ford Ka, good first car? - jc2
I've owned several and driven a lot more-never had any problems at all-always made sure the plugs were greased.All except very early ones had PAS-tho' the steering was not heavy.Suprisingly good on motorways,outstanding in towns;don't go for ones with painted bumpers;the std.ones stand upto scratches and bumps and can be replaced at home-both front and rear come in three sections.The engine,whilst of old design,is reliable,has chain cam and is simple to work on and spares are cheap and easily available.I still drive a KA-tho' a 1.6-2.5 years old and not one concern.

Value my car