Product Type: Ford cars
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The nimble nipper.
Ford Ka in general
Member Name: Astro
Ford Ka in general
Date: 01/10/02, updated on 12/11/04 (15107 review reads)
Advantages: Low price, Good fun to drive, Economical
Disadvantages: None for me
I had a thirteen year old black VW Golf GTI series 2 eight valve with alloy wheels and a damned good shine. This car was stock, no fancy modifications. My car was old, but strong and still able to hold her head up. Well cared for, this old banger looked after me to her dying day. When the moron that didn't know which side of the road was his wrote my darling off, I had to make a decision, wait for the measly sum the insurance company would give me or buy a new car.
Some months before the accident my wife, Rowena, needed a car after being transferred to the other side of the county with her job. I did a lot of research, including the dooyoo pages, to find her ideal car. Well, I did find the best match for the task and was surprised at the result. It is strange how things happen, the person you don't like at first ends up being your best mate, the unusual car winds up being the best choice!
I was determined that the Ford KA was not going to be the best car for the job. I didn't like it. I had to prove the tests to be inaccurate, so I drove one. This is when I had my pants pulled down around my ankles.
The KA was a revelation. What is wrong with me? Is life a pecker contest or are we just trying to get by?
Most of us are trying to get by. There is no point wasting money on fast cars, brand names suck us dry. Does having a fast car mean you have a big winky? Does it matter anyway? No more!
"Ron" got her Ford KA in May and loved it (the cars name is Betty, so predictable!). So did I, this KA was like an old Mini 1275 GT, but included comfort and safety.
What was the replacement for my Golf going to be, you ask. Don?t give me any, you have guessed haven't you? A Ford KA!
Why? Read on.
I'm a bloke, not so young now, but still a bloke. We are rather stra
nge as most ladies will attest to.Blokes love fast cars and big things. Most of us blokes don't have anything big to shout about. Women don't mind in most cases, they have more important requirements like a sense humour and a caring mind rather than big "things" and just put up with us.
Why not see the world from a female perspective and still be a bloke?
Specifications (a bloke thing):-
Engine: 1.3-litre Endura E
Power: 60bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque: 105Nm @ 2500rpm
Brakes: 240 mm solid discs front / 180mm drums rear
Wheels: 13x5in. With 165/65 R13 tyres.
Performance: 96mph, 0-62mph in 14.7 seconds
From this list you can tell that the KA has an engine, wheels, brakes and stuff. Most cars have these attributes but it is the sum of the parts that make or brake a car.
The outward appearance of the KA has always been its most talked about feature. "You either love it or hate it" was a phrase often touted in the motoring press, not wanting to commit to a preference and so risk offending anyone.
I neither love nor hate the shape of the KA. One thing is certain, until recently no small car was so talked about because of its style. Is it a smiley little bug or an ugly little space pod that belongs on Star Trek? Neither, it is a practical high roof small car that bucks the tall box trend that many "big" super minis sport.
This is not a true four seat car for adults; it is, as the original Mini was, a two plus two. The rear seats can be cramped if the front passengers are tall and need to move the front seats back. The KA is a mini; if you need more space, buy a bigger car.
The "boot" on the KA is quite small as dictated by the size and shape of the body. This is a problem with the rear seats in the upright position. But Ford have seen fit to make the rear seats a 50/50split folding type even on the entry level versions.
the rear seats folded down it is possible to get a lot in the back of the KA, 724 litres worth Ford says.
The other bit that opens is the bonnet. There is a lot of stuff in the engine compartment but all the fluid levels can be easily attended to and are well marked. I would not want to have to do any serious work on the engine in its small cocoon, with a three year warranty I shouldn't have too. Ford spares prices are less than many makers, find a good Ford dealer and maintenance costs should be low.
The doors of the KA are wide, there is no problem getting into or out of the front or rear even for tall people.
All base model KAs have dark grey rap around bumpers made of impact resistant polycarbonate. Many people think these are ugly, I disagree but this is another KA controversy isn't it?
The lights on the KA are blended into the body shape and add to the smiley bug appearance. Some people have criticized the dipped beam performance of the headlights but I have not found this a problem.
The whole exterior of the KA is clean and smooth and round. Perhaps that is why this car is a doddle to clean. Wash it and the water just flows off, I can clean the KA in half the time it took to clean the golf.
Ok, that's the controversial outside of the KA described, now to the inside.
The KA gives the impression of space and tidiness from the driving seat. Plenty of leg and arm room for a slender 5'11" me. Shorter, non-me people (Ron) have enough seat movement to reach the pedals and steering wheel.
The seats are quite firm and supportive, upholstered in a complimentary colour to the cars body colour.
The dashboard is a work of art. Ford designers must have spent many hours working on this and it shows. Every control is well set out and easy to use. The basic radio cassette player is simple to operate which makes it safe to use when driving. This item also soundsquite good, a
surprise at the price point.
All the sticks and stalks are close to hand, the heater controls being below the stereo.
The dials on the dashboard are kept to a minimum, a speedometer and a fuel gauge is all you get, apart from the funky oval timepiece in the centre of the dash. Having had rev counters and trip computers how could I do without them? Easy---- I don't need them, all the major components, engine oil and stuff, have warning lights that can't be ignored.
Stowage space in the KA is adequate if not generous with lots of cup holders. You could almost think you are driving an MPV, almost. The "glove box" has a clever rotating lid that hides a small area to store things; this could have more capacity in an ideal world.
Ventilation is taken care of by screen ducts and foot well ducts as is normal. Four large-ish fascia mounted outlets to blow in your face, also normal. What is unusual is the opening rear quaterlights, something once popular on certain (eh hem) older small cars. The fan has enough speeds and direction flow to suit most conditions.
The KA has all the important basic things I need, good driving position, good seats etc, but what about seeing out of the thing? When I first drove a KA my first reaction was "Where the hell does it begin and end"? I cannot see the tip of the bonnet or the end of the tailgate. This takes a while to get used to after driving a larger car with bigger windows. Hey, you are human, adapt! This is a key word, adapt. All cars are different and need the user to get used to them. Some cars resist this process to the point of being unusable for some drivers. I would expect that relatively few people would fail to get used to the KA very quickly and easily. There are those that simply won't want to.
A good interior with enough space, pleasing to the eye, but I'm not just going to s
it there looking at it!Driving a car is what the things for. S
o let's do it.
The KAs engine is an old but revamped Ford unit that's seen much service in the product range. The 1.3 litre "Endura" engine may be an old design but does its duty well in the KA. With 60 bhp it won't set your knickers on fire but it will get you to work.
The engine starts at the first turn of the key and feels quite smooth when cold. Let the engine warm up gently for a few miles and it becomes apparent that this old slugger is smooth and willing throughout the rev range. There is enough power in this little engine to propel the KA even on fast roads and still keep up.
The power steering standard on all KAs makes it easy to drive and very easy to park. The clutch is light and the gears smooth and precise. The brakes and tyres on my car are still bedding in but on "run-in" samples I've driven the brakes are good.
How does the car drive, it is not a sports car or is it?
The handling is a revelation, very good grip, little body roll. It's a go-cart!
Noise and vibration are low for a car of this class and comfort high. Handling on twisty roads is very competent, in a straight line faster, bigger cars will leave the KA standing but in the bends it is not so clear cut.
The gutsy engine, smooth controls and good handling make the KA very nimble, not just in town.
The KA in the standard, unmodified form is one of the best handling small cars I've driven.
Saying this does not convey the amount of FUN the KA is to drive.
I mentioned the original Mini before and you may have guessed what car I'm going to compare the KA to. Yes, the Mini!
The new BMW Mini is not the same as the original, BMW knows that. It isn't supposed to be. The KA, however, is of the same breed as the first Mini, small, nimble and fun but safer, stronger, and a lot more comfortable.
Economy is an important factor in buying a car. Read al
l the specifications and tests and you won't be any wiser about fuel economy until you have the car in your hands. People have different driving habits, my mate; Sgt Burton Plod of Staffs Police tends to stay in lower gear than I do. It is easier to stop in lower gear than higher gear. Safe but less economical.
The Ka, like most petrol cars runs on unleaded fuel. Ron's KA has never turned in less than 37 mpg. She has a lighter right foot than I do but I think my KA will yield around 5-7 mpg more than the Golf.
The road tax is less for the KA than the Golf and, not surprisingly, so is the insurance.
The KA comes with a three year mechanical warranty, a years RAC membership and six year body warranty. Normal servicing is priced at a little over £100, the interval being 12 months or 10,000 miles. A major service costs around £150 but this is only needed at three years.
There are four models of Ford KA available with different levels of trim and more toys as you progress through the range. As this opinion is about the base model I won't go into the details of other models, but the basic KA is the building block for all the range.
So that is basically the Ford KA. But what is it and who is it made for?
The KA is often said to be a "girlie" car. Why is that? The appearance could be called cute. I think that this KA is a future icon, a style statement .....maybe. Even after five years production the design is fresh and inspires new car styles.
If the term "girlie" is supposed to mean easy to drive and park then that may be right. But who says I can't have a nice easy car to drive that can also make your buttocks clench through the bends? Owners of the KA are an eclectic mix of men and women of all ages. We are the people it's made for.
This car is one of the best designed cars in the class. It has faults but very few and none are
serious. Ford will put
one of its more modern engines in the KA soon; this will help dispel criticism from some quarters.
For £6000 the KA is a well rounded package (pun), don't judge before you drive!
With my KA being new, I can't comment on reliability now but I will in time. Stay tuned.
Been ill, the old spine injury and stuff. I have'nt driven the KA as much as I would have wished and so it has stood and rotted..... Not so. The KA has started at the first turn of the key at each stage however long it has remained inactive.
Looking at older KAs that have not been taken care of, I note that there is no rust visible.
This is a good sign.
My KA has been given a free Ford "check" of its bits and passed easily.
I would guess that the service intervals are optomistic. One year is not a realistic period to tend to any car, particularly when it is used for short trips. An oil change at 6 months is still a wise move on any car used for short trips.
I feel that this car, like most, needs more attention than the maker states.
The car you own is your baby. Service it at an interval shorter than the manufacturer states if you think that's right!
Good motor so far!