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Ford Ka 3 3-dr

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    5 Reviews
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      27.09.2010 15:26
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      Great cars for economy and reliability

      I was recently involved in a car accident which resulted in my lovely three year old Ka (with one careful lady owner and extremely low mileage) being written off. In their usual generous manner, and even after fierce negotiation, the insurers deemed it to be worth only £3,500 which wasn't going to buy me anything comparable.

      The experience of being rear ended by someone driving in excess of 100 miles an hour has left me realising the truth of the saying 'there are no pockets in shrouds', so I decided to bite the bullet and use some of my hard earned savings to buy a newer model.

      My previous car was the old shaped Ka which I'd bought new for £5,500 but the new models of the reshaped Ka have a start price of around £7,500 and upwards which was just too much money, especially as the car will drop at least £1,000+ the minute it's driven off the forecourt and besides, I'm saving to have the bathroom redone and the difference will go a long way towards paying for that. So I decided to go for a used car instead and found myself a lovely 09 reg Ka Studio with only 8,000 miles on the clock. The selling price was lower than I expected which I think may be due to the fact that it has a stylised flower design in black on the doors. The salesman offered to have thess removed but I've decided to keep it because I reckon it will help me find the car when I've forgotten where I parked it, as frequently happens in those ultra large zoned car parks!

      The original Ka was built on an old Fiesta chassis and the newer models, the salesman told me, are now built in Poland alongside Fiat hatchbacks and share the same chassis and engine as the new Fiat 500. Despite these shared components, the Fiat gets a full 5 star European safety rating and the Ka only 3.5 stars because it has a mere two airbags as opposed to Fiat's seven!


      Engine Specification (copied, and heavily edited, from my handbook):

      Cubic capacity: 1242 cc
      Cylinders: 4
      Valves: 8v
      Power: 69@5500 ps/rpm
      Torque: 76@3000 lb/ft



      My Opinion:

      I'm no car mechanic and I haven't a clue what the engine spec means. My car is simply used as a means of getting from A to B as comfortably and safely as possible so this review will be very much from a non-technical (and female) perspective but I hope it will be valid nonetheless.

      Looks:

      The KA range of colours is pretty limited with only nine colours in the entire range and only two solid colours available for the Studio model, the Sunburst Red and Crystal, which is an off-white shade. The other shades, of course, have fancy names but essentially are light and dark silver, grey, black, turquoise and burgundy.

      My car is in Sunburst Red which is a very in-your-face colour but at least means that it will be clearly visible to other drivers. Of course, being such a garish red, it does mean I'll no longer be able to wear pink when I'm driving, but I can live with that!

      I can't say I'm too enamoured of the new shaping for the KA because it now looks like every other small car on the road. The previous shaping was cute and distinctive and I feel that some of the car's individuality has been taken away from it and replaced by blandness. I can't see that anything has been gained, although I'm guessing the little spoiler bit (I told you I wasn't technical) coming off the roof may have some aerodynamics that were previously lacking but, quite frankly, in a car with a top speed of 100 mph, aerodynamics are something of an irrelevance anyway.

      The interior is suitably neutral. I daresay there are several colour and pattern options available but mine has grey fabric seats with a central 60s style floral pattern in lighter greys, which makes me think this car has been designed specifically with women drivers in mind. The dashboard is cream (Ford call this pearl white) as are some of the other elements of the interior which adds to the feeling of light and space. I do wonder though whether this cream shade will discolour with age and make the car interior look cheap. Only time will tell but it will certainly show up every little spot and speck of dirt, that's for sure.

      The dashboard is definitely an improvement on the old KA and now has the addition of a temperature gauge. Fitted as standard is a CD/radio plus a USB port for plugging in an MP3 player and the cigarette lighter port is still there too for mobile phone charging.

      Some of the twiddly features are quite innovative too - well I think they are. There is a trip computer which records range, distance covered, average speed and fuel consumption, which is bound to prove useful on my frequent long journeys north (once I've fathomed out how to use it). The other feature which I'm sure will prove invaluable, especially on the motorway, is the maximum speed alert which allows the driver to set the speed so that the car beeps at you and a light flashes to let you know if you exceed the speed limit. The hazard warning lights now come on automatically if braking hard whereas in my previous model it was a case of pushing the button yourself.

      The car seats 4 adults, I won't say comfortably because there isn't a huge amount of room in the back, but the front passenger area has a large open foot well which allows the front passenger to move the seat quite a bit further forward and still have plenty of leg room whilst allowing more leg room in the back as well.

      It's worth noting, too, that it isn't possible to disengage the airbags so this car isn't suitable for people who have front child safety seats.

      Drivability:

      The first thing to strike me when I originally took the test drive was the position of the gear stick. This is situated much higher and further forward which took some getting used to. I initially kept reaching to completely the wrong place when I wanted to change gear. However, I've been driving the car for a couple of weeks now and have since got used to it.

      I also struggled a bit with reverse, simply because my previous car was a very unsophisticated model. This new KA requires the driver to pull up a little lever underneath the knob to engage reverse.

      With my previous car being a 1.3 and the new one having a lower 1.2 cc, I was expecting it to be less responsive than my previous model but not a bit of it. The new model KA hasn't just had its body reshaped but its inner workings have also been refined it seems. I don't understand the why or wherefore but despite its lower cc, this car has more 'oomph' (another technical term) than my previous one. For anyone interested, it does 0-60 in 13 seconds which may not be fast enough for Silverstone but is plenty fast enough for me.

      Handling is pretty impressive. The new model has power assisted steering and I can't believe how light it feels to drive and how responsive the car is to the slightest turn of the steering wheel. Manoeuvrability is excellent and although I wouldn't go so far as to say it can turn on a sixpence, the turning circle is pretty tight.

      Visibility is good too with excellent all round vision.

      Fuel economy:

      The handbook claims that combined mpg (that is town and motorway driving) is 55.4 miles per gallon. I haven't had the car long enough to assess this personally but that would be about the same, or possibly a little better than my previous KA. A bonus with this car, however, is that it has lower CO2 emissions than the old KA resulting in a £30 road fund licence as opposed to my previous £125.

      Drawbacks:

      Well, I've already mentioned the blandness of its new styling but the boot is still very small and only has enough room for, say, 4 bags of shopping or a large suitcase. The rear shelf is removable, of course, which does allow for a little extra storage space and the rear seat folds down to allow even more space but this, in effect, turns the car into a two-seater.


      In summary, I'm more than happy with my new purchase. It's a nippy little car which is perfect for town driving and yet is sturdy enough to cope with a relatively long motorway journey too (although I've yet to pluck up the courage to do that following my accident). I wouldn't advise anyone around the six feet mark to buy one of these, however, as you may find difficulties in accommodating both leg and head room but for a vertically challenged person such as myself, it's the ideal size.

      I'm sure I've probably missed out loads of vital statistics for this car but suffice to say, this is my third Ka and I've found each one a pleasure to own and drive with low running costs and requiring very little maintenance.

      The driving experience in the post-09 Ka is definitely an improvement on the earlier models with a quieter engine, smoother ride and added refinements elsewhere but I do feel that these have come at the cost of its individuality. As it stands now, this car would have every right to claim it has substance over style.

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      • More +
        12.01.2010 10:05

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        Not the best hatchback but not the worst either

        We bought our Ka about 8 years ago, it was 6 months old with only had a few thousand miles on the clock. It is fantastic for local driving especially around town although the miles per gallon are not as good as I would have hoped. Still does about 30-35 so not to bad I guess. The Ka is however cheap to insure, road tax is a little on the high side at £150 per year as it is only a 1.3 litre engine. We have had the car serviced at Ford garages and local garages and Ford are really over the top on their charges and dont seem any more able to fix faults. The Ka has developed a few rattles over the years and can be uncomfatable on longer journeys. The best thing about owning a Ka is its reliability. It always starts first time and never lets you down. On the downside, the worst thing is trying to change a headlamp bulb even Ford mechanics can take an hour doing this....!
        Would I buy one again? On balance yes, its a cheap car and one that wont let you down.

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        27.12.2009 17:25
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        Ford Ka 1.3 8V Duratec

        Well after years of service my trusty Ford Escort 1.6 Ghia I needed to be replaced due to a slight rust problem. Given a woman's perspective I thought that I needed a smaller car with just two doors, cheap on tax and petrol. After a few weeks of surfing the net and checking what was available within my price range an unbelievable deal dropped in my lap via my brother in law (who is a mechanic). The 2004 Ford Ka 1.3 8V Duratec in Silver

        Although I had seen these cars around I had never really paid that much attention to them but I had this car on trial for a day so I thought what the hell lets give it a go.

        Outward appearance it was tidy and smart but my main concern was handling. I found the car to be very responsive with the power steering with the 1299cc 8V Duratec engine the vehicle put my Escort to shame on acceleration to 30mph. According to Ford the 2003 Ka will accelerate 0 - 62mph in 13.7 seconds although I have not tried this I can believe it.
        This car does come with the distinctive Ka styling - 3 door 'bubble car' as my sisters call it, I have found the interior is surprising roomy. There is enough room for a person of six foot to stretch their legs out in the front seats. I did find though if the headrests are lifted up to high then there can be an issue when moving the front seats forward for people getting in the rear of the car. The glovebox is a tiny and you can perhaps fit a pair of gloves and a phone charger inside which is a downside. The boot has enough room for a 'few' shopping bags and the rear seats are easily collapsible as well.

        The dashboard has a curvaceous design with a simplistic instrument control panel however I do miss the rev counter. But there is an odometer and low fuel warning light which gives you ample opportunity to find a garage (mine was on for 25 miles before I found a garage) for people who do not want to much fuss on their dashboard this is ideal.
        Although this design does not come with remote/central locking, it is not too much of a reach to open the passenger door, but it is awkward if you are carrying lots of packages and need to fish into your pockets or bag to open the door.

        I found the five gear box is compact enough so I have not experienced issues of missing gears. The windscreen wipers have the standard intermittent and two other speeds.

        The lights are standard functional however you do have the ability to adjust the lights from the drivers seat depending on how many people are in the car.

        I was a little nervous about taking passengers and thought that the Ka may struggle on hills a little but if driven in the correct gear it was not to bad.

        I have also found the Ka very easy to park in spaces that I would have normally though twice about parking in which has saved me lots of time and money in car parking fees!

        For a person such as myself who uses a car mainly for getting in and out of town for work, shopping and generally running around seeing the family I have found this a welcome addition to my drive. So good by Ford Escort and welcome Ford Ka on to my drive. (ps the only problem I have found since I brought my car 2 years ago is my husband keeps 'borrowing' it !

        Further information:

        6 months tax £66.50
        Tank petrol approx £43.00 (from empty) that is with petrol at £1.10 ltr approx 300miles per tank (small tank not sure of ltr size) of urban/city driving.

        This review can be seen on both my Dooyoo at dooyoo .co.uk (Trish70) and Ciao at ciao.co.uk (Yocal) accounts.

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          15.01.2008 17:25
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          Decent but not without its faults

          The ford ka is the second i ever owned and because of that it is probably the best car i have ever owned, but that is not to say that it is without its problems.

          Its main good point is that is very small, which is good for those learning to drive, as it makes parking easy. The 1.3 litre engine on such a small car means that it has a good bit of grunt to it, as it has good acceleration at low and higher speeds, but has a poor mid range. I have had no problems whatsoever with its reliability since i brought it in 2004.

          Its obvious main bad point is that it looks pretty rubbish and it is often described as a toy car. Another problem with it it does not handle very well as often it fells like the steering is not really linked to the wheels very well. It is also very small in the back, making it a tight squeeze for passengers, and it also only has room for 2 seats in the back.

          To conclude, the ford ka is a decent first car but it is not without its faults.

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            21.04.2001 00:43
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            A first car for my daughter. She has bought a brand new ex stock Ka3 for £8000. The model includes air conditioning, power steering, electric windows, CD player, central locking and immobiliser, and on the outside the all-the-same-colour bumpers. It also has front seat height adjustment, which is essential for anyone with long legs, as the steering wheel cannot be raised. Even with the driving seat lowered the taller driver still only just has enough room to clear the lap. Seat height adjustment is not available on the very basic Ka, which is a bit feeble. You get used to the funky design, all curves and swerves both inside and out, overall the Ka appears to be very well thought out. When the model first appeared I didn't take to it but maybe tastes have caught up with Ford's forward looking design; perhaps it was ahead of its time. First for the downsides and these are my only criticisms. The pedals are narrow and very close together and take some getting used to; you need to be careful not to rev as you brake, but you soon make adjustments to your driving position. This isn't the quietest car, the engine is very smooth but the road noise is noticeable, the Ka lacks much upholstery on the doors that would have helped muffled it. The suspension is pretty hard and you notice all but the smallest potholes, maybe this is supposed to give you the sporty contact with the road feel that I am not used to but it does make the ride in the back pretty hard. The front side windscreen struts are too wide and reduce your forward visibility, you need to take a little extra care to peer around them before you change lane and overtake, again you get used to this, but on the plus side, looking rearward, there is very little blind spot. There are several very positive points that I like. The manual gearbox is slick and you can make very rapid progress, it pulls away very happily in second when you are all but stationary and accelerates well th
            rough all the gears including fifth. The wing mirrors appear to be on extra long stalks and give good rear and side visibility and are not too curved to give a false sense of distance behind. The dials are the all-the-rage white background with black numbering, this sensible idea should have been put into practice years ago. The steering wheel has the 10-to-2 bumps on the steering wheel, which should make everyone hold the wheel properly and give them much better driving control. The legroom in the front is pretty good with the seats pushed back and so long as the front passengers aren't too selfish there is passable legroom in the back. The backs of the rear seats are plastic coated, which should help protect the fabric from knees; there are also seatback storage nets. The rear windows open to provide extra ventilation. The air conditioning can quickly clear the windows during these damp months and should be welcome if summer ever comes; overall the heating system is very effective. The glove box in the front is a bit fiddly, accessed by a lift-off lid; it is small but better than nothing. The cigarette lighter/power point is inside the ashtray. The boot is surprisingly large, and for that bit more space the rear window ledge/luggage cover is removable. The radio/CD player, which has a removable control panel for security, offers superb sound quality through two speakers in the doors, though, with, no sensible glovebox, there is know where to store the CD's. On locking the car the immobiliser is advertised by the flashing light in the dashboard clock and another one on the radio when the control panel is removed. The power steering makes parking easy together with the good lock, but there is still plenty of feel of the road, it very effectively lightens at low speed and gives you more to do at speed. The Ka is a pleasure to drive. All the controls you need are in pretty logical places. The headlamps are worthy of note;
            they consist of three bulbs namely side, driving and full beam and provide exceptionally good visibility and prove very restful on the eyes at night. On dipped lights visibility is probably as good as most cars on full beam with no evidence of glaring oncoming traffic, and when on full beam provide really extended vision. You can also adjust the angle depending on your load to get the best range. The 1400 engine is very nippy and with careful driving should easily achieve 40mpg. Insurance is cheap, road tax is at a lower rate and with an annual service at the Ford garage, which at present doesn't seem to be too pricey, her Ka should hopefully give years of cheap, trouble free motoring.

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