Ford KA+ Active (2018-present)

It’s small and frugal, with off-roading looks. But is it a good value alternative to a regular supermini?

Strengths & Weaknesses


Rufty-tufty looks
Cheap to buy


Dated interior
Petrol engine is glacially slow
No four-wheel-drive
Ford KA+ Active prices from £7,799  Finance from £118 per month

Sixteen years ago, the Rover Streetwise was unleashed into the world. It was a supermini with a beefed up exterior, which looked a bit like a mini off-roader. It didn’t catch on.

Maybe it was ahead of its time. Because there are tens of mini-SUVS (faux by fours if you’re feeling unkind) on the market now. After all, the KA+ Active goes toe to toe with the Vauxhall Viva Rocks, the Fiat Panda Cross and the Suzuki Ignis.

We’ll start with the positives - the Active spec adds new 15-inch wheels, a painted black grille, and roof rails over the regular KA+, which bring a needed bit of spice to the car.

It’s 23mm taller than the regular KA too, further adding to its presence. This ride height will happily help out while mounting a kerb, but won’t really help when climbing a mountain.

It starts from £13,045, which is slightly more money than a Suzuki Ignis (which starts from £10,449). But by the time you spec an Ignis with similar kit, they begin to look similar money.

The kit for the money is reasonable too - you’ll find a touchscreen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, electric door mirrors, and hill start assist.

Inside, it does feel dated. It’s based off the previous generation Ford Fiesta and feels as old as it looks. The font and colours of the dials behind the steering wheel are reminiscent of a 1970s text-based role playing game straight off an Atari 2600.

There is a decent amount of space. The added height gives passengers more headroom, and four adults can travel comfortably. At 270 litres, the boot is only slightly smaller than the larger Ford Fiesta.

The controls are simple, light, and easy to use. The buttons throughout are neatly arranged and easy to find, and important heating controls are operated via physical switches, and not on a touchscreen. This is a big plus and makes regular use simple and swift.

Look down to the left of the driving seat, and there’s a five-speed manual gearbox. There’s no automatic option. But the five-speed is easy enough to use, and the clutch is light too.

There are two engine options; a 1.2-litre petrol or a 1.5-litre diesel. The diesel is more economical, but costs £1600 more. Ford reckons only four percent of buyers will opt for the diesel.

The petrol is enough for most people who just want a car for mostly town and city driving. It feels and sounds coarse under hard acceleration. Which you will need to do if you want to get up to motorway speeds, or up particularly steep hills.

It rides well soaking up broken roads found in cities well. The fact that you’re relatively high-up and further away from potholes does some work in dulling the vibrations found in them. It handles surprisingly well too, with little lean cornering at B-road speeds. Visibility is brilliant, which gives you plenty of confidence for squeezing through tight spots.

The Fiat Panda Cross and Suzuki Ignis are more capable off-road, and the Vauxhall Viva Rocks is cheaper. But if you want something compact, with off-roading looks, it’s worth your consideration.

It’s hard to recommend over a regular supermini like a Ford Fiesta. It may well be around £900 more to buy outright, but, it does have a nicer interior, better selection of engines, and is physically larger and has more room for passengers. Plus it will most likely be worth more money when you come to sell it.

Last Updated 

Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 10:15

Key facts 

Three years/60,000 miles
Boot size: 
270 litres/849 litres
Tax (min to max): 
165 in the first year, £140 thereafter

Best Ford KA+ for... 

Ford KA+ Active 1.5TDCi
There are no prizes for guessing that the diesel engine is more economical than the petrol version. The latest kind of real-world testing puts it a respectable 56.5mpg.
Ford KA+ Active 1.2Ti-VCT petrol
We shouldn’t imagine people are going to do galactic mileage in such a small car, so most families will prefer the cheaper petrol engine.
Ford KA+ Active 1.5TDCi
Neither the petrol or diesel engine make the KA+ Active fast car. The petrol takes 13.5 seconds in the 0-62mph sprint, where as the diesel will do the same in 11 seconds.


2016 New KA+ launched
2018 KA+ Active comes to the UK

Understanding Ford KA+ car names 

  • KA+
  • Engine
    1.2 Ti-VCT
  • Trim
  • Gearbox
  • Engine
    There’s one petrol, or one diesel engine on offer. The petrol is a 1.2-litre, and is badged 1.2 Ti-VCT. The diesel is a 1.5-litre and is badged 1.5 TDCi.
  • Trim
    There’s only one trim to pick from, and it’s simply called Active.
  • Gearbox
    One option here too - a five-speed manual.

Ford KA+ Engines 

1.2 Ti-VCT, 1.5 TDCi

Engine choices are simple with the KA+ Active - there’s a petrol and a diesel.

The petrol (badged 1.2 Ti-VCT) will be the big seller, and one most people gravitate to naturally. It suits the KA + Active better than the diesel, because the car will mostly be used by people who travel regular journeys, at slow speeds, in and out of towns and cities.

For that, the engine is fine. Under hard acceleration it is loud, but once it gets up to the desired speed, it does settle down to a quiet thrum. There’s very little urgency low down in the revs, and it really takes revving to around 6,5000rpm to get into its stride. This essentially means you’ll be making the most out of the gearbox, having to keep changing down should you need an urgent acceleration boost.

This is the first time a diesel engine has been offered with the KA+ Active. On paper the 1.5 TDCi looks good; it’s a fair chunk faster than the petrol and is also more economical. Whether it’s worth the extra money or not is dependent on how many miles you cover.



Fuel consumption


0 - 62mph


1.2 Ti-VCT






1.5 TDCi






Ford KA+ Trims 


There’s only one trim level for this derivative, simply called . Most of the changes over the regular KA+ are on the outside.

The biggest change is in its stance. It’s 23mm taller than the regular KA+ and comes with new 15-inch alloy wheels too. Unique to the Active is a bodykit, which includes a painted black grille, roof rails and a different nose.

Elsewhere, it’s filled with gadetry you’d expect for this price. There’s a 6.5 inch touchscreen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as hill start assist, and a tyre pressure monitoring system. It also gets electric door mirrors and front windows. But rear passengers will have to wind their windows manually.

Ford KA+ Reliability and warranty 

It’s too new to really comment on the KA+ Active’s reliability.

However, it shares many mechanical parts with the previous generation Ford Fiesta, which did feature in Auto Express’ 2016 survey . It placed 105th out of 150 cars. Admittedly, the KA + Active does have some different mechanical parts, and is built in a different factory to the old Fiesta.

Used Ford KA+ 

In 2018, around 40% of the KA’s sold in the UK were Actives. So a fair few will be floating around on the used market.

There are currently 28 Ford KA+ Actives available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £7,799 to £12,499 for nearly-new models.

Ford expects diesels to make up only 4% of sales. So diesel choices will be extremely limited on the used market.

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