Small car buyers are really spoilt for choice because there are just so many options currently available on the Irish market.
Yet if value for money is the key consideration, then the field narrows considerably.
Enter the new Ford Ka+. Slotting in below the popular Ford Fiesta supermini and replacing the cute but outdated Ka, the new Ka+ is a five door city car that promises a lot of bang for your buck.
Sex appeal and desirability have not been key considerations in the design of the Ka+ and Ford has no intentions of joining the customisation crew with their new budget offering.
With prices starting from €13,050 the Ka+ is a sensible small car. It’s slightly shorter than the Fiesta but just under three centimetres taller and sports a miniature version of Ford’s new characteristic trapezoidal grille. Style icon it is not, but the Ka+ has a neat and compact appearance.
There is a distinct Ford family feel to the interior and the perceived quality of the materials is good for this class of car. The cabin is not particularly stylish but it won’t cause any headaches.
The interior space is excellent for a car of this size, making this a practical small car. The doors open wide and there is a slight elevation to the seating position. Rear legroom is good and it should be comfortable enough to transport one or two adults in the back from time to time.
The 270 litre boot is also generous, being on the larger side of what we expect from a city car. There are 60/40 split-folding rear seats and a good few storage spaces throughout the cabin.
The Ka+ comes in two trim levels, Studio and Zetec. Studio models (from €13,050) include 15” steel wheels, front fogs and daytime running lights, speed limiter, trip computer and remote central locking. Zetec models (from €14,650) add manual air-conditioning, 15” alloy wheels, Ford SYNC, leather steering wheel and cruise control.
Power for the new Ford Ka+ comes from a naturally aspirated 1.2-litre petrol engine with two power outputs. A 70hp version is exclusive to the Studio trim and an 85hp version is exclusive to the Zetec. A five speed manual gearbox comes as standard. Both 70 and 85hp versions of the 1.2-litre engine qualify for motor tax of €200 per year, with claimed fuel economy of up to 56.5 mpg.
My Zetec test car had the 85hp version. It’s no performance star but it purrs along nicely. It’s perfect for town driving but it takes a bit more patience out on bigger roads as 0 to 100kmh is a leisurely 13.9 seconds. Once cruising speed is reached, the Ford Ka+ is remarkably refined and comfortable for a small car. The steering is light but with an elastic feel that makes it a fun little car to drive. There is body roll when you push the car hard into corners, but it grips the road well.
The Ford Ka+ won’t set hearts racing but it is very accomplished for a sub-€15,000 car. The space, handling, comfort and refinement make it an easy car to get along with. The engine is probably the weakest link as it’s not very robust out of the confines of the city, but Ka+ makes up for it by being a sensible but fun small car.
Model tested: Ford Ka+ Zetec
Price: €14,650 (Range starts at €13,050)
Engine: 1.2-litre petrol
0-100km/h: 13.9 seconds
Top speed: 168km/h
CO2 emissions: 110g/km
Motor tax: €190 per year
If you are looking for a budget city car you might also like this review of the Opel Karl.