Product Type: Ford cars
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It Smiles at Me
Ford Ka in general
Member Name: aefra
Ford Ka in general
Date: 28/06/02, updated on 28/06/02 (2011 review reads)
Advantages: economy, fun to drive, reliable
Disadvantages: lack of luggage space
The exception was the 8 year old Senator CD which I fell in love with the moment I saw it on the forecourt of my local garage. I knew the moment I drove it away that this was the last I would see of anywhere near the 3000 notes I had just parted with. When the time came, who in their right mind would want a huge - by then at least 10 years old - computerised, all singing all dancing, 3litre i which did all of 18mpg? So I treasured it, enjoyed it and smiled ruefully as I fed £47 worth of fuel into it's greedy tank every 2 weeks. When I retired I gave it a hug and started to look for something more sensible.
Initially the "more sensible" was still expected to be a Vauxhall. I researched the net, the local paper and Auto Trader for a fairly recent Astra SRi at my price. It couldn't be done and for the first time in 30 years I looked for a Ford.
I didn't expect too much from a town car, but I had read several times that the Ka had spacious headroom and was the only one which appeared to offer some comfort on a long journey. Although rather an odd shape to my traditional eye, the other town cars looked pretty uninspiring. If I was to buy a baked bean can on wheels at least the Ka had some originality in design.
It didn't take long to realise that the 2 year old models at my price were a "come-on". One had had a "slight accident". I took this to be a euphemism for having slid sideways into a bus. Another had a mileage which
suggested that the one lady owner had driven to Russia and back once a fortnight. Others were just too basic. Finally, after a visit to a nice man with a garage/salesroom a couple of miles away, I drove home in a bright red 1997 Ka2 for just under £4000.
I love it! It may not have an onboard computer, is more whizz than vroom and the electric windows are audible; but they work, as does everything else in this fun machine. I have rediscovered the joy of a 5 speed manual gearbox with a knob and a clutch, which means that my driving has reverted to the sporty if I am not careful. The manoevreability is outstanding. The headlamps have a slanting wide-eyed twinkle which invites me to smile back and the curving body is uncluttered.
The Ka2 has electric front windows with rear opening lights. It has central locking, driver's airbag, dual circuit brakes, a fuel injection cut out switch should an accident occur, and lateral impact bars. It lacks alloy wheels but the wide hubs look smart. An addition is an immobiliser, so don't lose your master key. Despite the lack of size, I don't feel intimidated by large trucks the way I did with minis.
Although I am 6' there is ample head and leg room, although I don't feel it would be polite to seat an adult in the back for long. The lack of luggage space is a downside for someone used to an estate - or a huge saloon which let down it's rear seat to accommodate a 9'6" roll of flooring. But the fuel/insurance reduction allows me to not mind paying for delivery of goods which I can no longer carry in my car. Lack of space is made up for, to an extent, by the neat cubby holes dotted around the cabin. Although the 1.3 injection engine gives me satisfactory acceleration, there is an appropriate reduction in road tax. Before I bought the Ka I researched costs and am saving at least £40 per month on the Senator, which can't be bad.
I was pleased to note that
the luggage space is situated over the rear wheels. This means that I can carry 56 kilos of horse feed without the front lifting....with the inevitable effect on brakes and steering. One distant never- to- be- forgotten memory is the day that 2 very large ladies squeezed themselves into the back of my Hillman Imp. That is how I found out about these things. :-)
A nice side effect of this small car is that I now have 2 new flower beds beneath my front windows. The Senator was so long that, when I backed onto my drive, the exhaust fumes would have destroyed anything planted behind.
Whether or not you would like this car depends on your need for space, length of journeys and preference for design. I like it for it's originality (if you don't count the number of identical models I pass daily), it's splendid economy and the lighthearted feeling I have driving it. Eight months after purchase, the Ka2 has never faltered or given me even a suspicion of trouble. I shall definitely replace my happy little toy with a Ka3 one day.