Ford KA+ (2017-present)

A roomy and practical city car but the Ford Ka+ is let down by underpowered engines

Strengths & Weaknesses


Comfortable and nimble
Spacious interior
Cheap to buy new or used


Underpowered engines
Anonymous design
Lacks useful safety technology

City cars are miracles of performance and packaging, and the new Ka+ is no exception. While its price pitches it against cars such as the VW up! and Hyundai i10, its size means it treads on the toes of larger cars such as the VW Polo and Hyundai i20.

That’s because it’s based on the old Ford Fiesta, which has enabled Ford to keep the price low, because it hasn’t had to develop a new car. But it offers more space than the old Ka - which has meant that it’s been renamed the Ka+.

Ford has concentrated on practicality over style with a high roof, five doors, and a usefully large boot that’s only a few litres shy of the Fiesta’s, and bigger than a Skoda Citigo’s, a Hyundai i10’s and a Fiat 500’s. It’s spoiled, though, by a high sill and the fact that the 60:40-split rear seats only fold onto the squabs, creating an awkward step.

The rear interior is roomy though. There’s lots of headroom and the front seat backs are deeply scalloped to create additional knee room. The back seats are quite upright which adds to the impression of space but prevents you stretching your legs. There’s space for three children along the back seat (there’s a proper seatbelt for the centre occupant) but room only for two adults, or a third at a real squeeze.

Remarkably, rear as well as front passengers get a pair of cupholders and Ford claims there are 21 storage cubbies in the car.

As if to emphasise the car’s no-nonsense ambitions, there are just two engines, both 1.2-litre petrols, to choose from. They’re slow and old tech; no modern 1.0-litre EcoBoost engine here. The more powerful one is usefully quicker and not much more expensive. It’s definitely the one to choose as both return around 56mpg.

The Ka+ shares the same qualities that make the Fiesta fun to drive. The steering gives you a real sense of how far the wheels are turning, helping you to take corners and squeeze through gaps more accurately. The five-speed gearbox is precise, and the car resists leaning in corners while ironing out potholes and bumps. In fact, ride comfort is one of the car’s most impressive qualities.

The interior is similar in looks to the Ford Fiesta that it’s based on - so it’s button-strewn and looks like it’s from a car that’s five years’ old. Ford has done a good job of disguising the model’s budget positioning but look closer and there are signs of cost-cutting in the finish, some materials and the way that the boot, in particular, ‘clangs’ shut.

Entry-level Studio trim is not badly equipped. It has electric front windows and Bluetooth but Zetec, the next trim in the range, is the one to have for its smarter alloy wheels, digital radio and Applink software, giving you the ability to control some apps on your smartphone through the car’s voice control and steering wheel buttons.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 17:00

Key facts 

3 years/60,000 miles
Boot size: 
270 litres
From £165 in first year, £140 thereafter

Best Ford KA+ for... 

Ford Ka+ 1.2 70PS Zetec
Although this and the 85PS engine each do 56.5mpg and cost the same to tax, the 70PS is a fraction cheaper by £300. It’s an even closer run thing since you might find yourself driving the 70PS harder to make progress, but all things equal, it represents a saving of sorts.
Ford Ka+ 1.2 85PS Zetec
With its stronger performance and MyKey convenience, a system that allows parents to adapt the car’s performance to younger, less experienced drivers, this version is the best for a small family.
Ford Ka+ 1.2 85PS Colour Edition
It’s no faster than the standard 85PS Zetec on which it’s based but the Colour Edition does at least look the part with its contrasting paint scheme and rear privacy glass.
Ford Ka+ 1.2 70PS Studio
The most basic specification and slowest engine do nothing for the appeal of the Ka+.


  • 2016 Ka+ launched with a 1.2-litre petrol engine in two power outputs (70PS and 85PS) and two trims (Studio and Zetec). All do 56.5mpg and emit 114g/km CO2. 
  • 2017 Colour Edition range, based on Zetec, arrives bringing a choice of two sporty-looking styles: Black Edition and White Edition.

Understanding Ford KA+ car names 

  • KA+
  • KA+
  • Engine
    1.2 85PS
  • Trim
  • KA+
    In name, the Ka+ recalls Ford’s recently discontinued Ka three-door supermini. Otherwise, there’s no relationship, the Ka+ being based on the larger Fiesta and intended to bridge the gap between tiny city cars and compact superminis.
  • Engine
    The figure ‘1.2’ is the size of the petrol engine and 85PS its power, broadly equivalent to the more familiar 85hp rating. A lower powered 70PS version does duty in the Studio but is very slow, no more economical and costs the same to tax.
  • Trim
    There are two core trim levels: basic Studio and mid-level Zetec, both familiar from other Ford models. Meanwhile, a sporty-looking Colour Edition range has joined the line-up based on the Zetec 1.2 85PS and available in Black Edition and White Edition.

Ford KA+ Engines 

1.2 70PS, 1.2 85PS

The Ka+ is powered by a 1.2-litre petrol engine, available in a choice of 70PS or 85PS power outputs. Although the powertrain features regenerative battery charging, a system that converts wasted energy when braking or coasting into electrical power, the engine itself is quite conventional.

For example, it has four cylinders instead of three, an arrangement increasingly found in engines powering rivals including the Kia Picanto and Skoda Citigo.

All that said, the more powerful 85PS engine is as quick as cars such as the Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPi 75PS, if not as frugal or cheap to tax. The 70PS version on the other hand is very slow and best avoided, certainly if you regularly undertake long journeys or drive fully loaded. In any case, it costs just £300 less than the 85PS.

Ford KA+ Trims 

Studio, Zetec

Studio opens the Ka+ trim range, but it’s not as basic you might expect for a car at this price. True, looks-wise you get the obligatory steel wheels with plastic covers but on the upside there’s lashings of body-colouring both of the bumpers and wing mirrors which feature smart, integrated indicators.

The interior benefits from electric front windows, 60:40-split and fold rear seats, a mobile phone dock and Bluetooth but otherwise it is a little dowdy. Still, the things you can’t see, including a perimeter alarm and hill-start assist, as well as mandatory things like electronic stability control and tyre pressure monitoring, make it a decently equipped entry model. A glaring omission, either as standard or an option, is emergency city brake, which does so much to reduce low-speed collisions and drive down insurance premiums.

This feature isn’t available on Zetec trim, either. However, alloy wheels, air conditioning, a digital radio with Applink and 4.2-inch screen, cruise control and a leather-covered steering wheel all are. It also has Ford’s MyKey system that allows parents, for example, to tailor the car’s performance to younger, less experienced users. It’s well worth its £1000 premium over Studio.

Ford KA+ Reliability and warranty 

In the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, Ford finished 26th for the reliability of its cars, out of 32 manufacturers. In the same survey, the Ford Fiesta, on which the Ka+ is based, charted an unimpressive 97th out of 150 models.

At least it’s covered by a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, although this does lag behind Hyundai’s more confident five-year and Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranties.

Used Ford KA+ 

The city car and supermini sectors the Ka+ inhabits are incredibly competitive, so expect discounts to be generous and plentiful. It all means a nearly new Ka+ is probably a better buy than a new one. In terms of its future value and saleability, a 1.2 85PS Zetec in an attractive colour is the best buy.

Expect nearly new models of the most powerful engine in Zetec trim to start at around £8,000, saving nearly £2,500 off the price of a new one.

Other Editions