2000 Ford Ka evaluate: Fast drive

Take me for a experience in your Ka

FOR: Enjoyable design parts, good experience and dealing with, inclusion of big-ticket tools objects in value.

AGAINST: Sluggish engine, small boot, no auto choice, lack of adjustment to driving place.

HOW IT RATES: 3.5 stars (out of 5).

The toughest factor about spending a while with Fords new Ka is taking it severely. For one factor theres that title, which takes loads of explaining to those that ask as a result of, though it is pronounced the identical as automotive, inevitably the motive force resorts to “kay-ay” simply to keep away from confusion.

Then theres the look of the factor, which pulls practically as a lot consideration as if youd rolled as much as the site visitors lights within the newest mannequin Ferrari.

The Ka was designed to make an influence and, in contrast with many different bland three-door hatches on the backside finish of the worth scale, thats not a nasty factor. The one downside is that bystanders appear to have a look at it anticipating to see Noddy and Large Ears occupying the entrance seats.

And whereas Ford is closely pushing the Kas enjoyable and vogue components (youve by no means seen the phrase funky used so many instances earlier than in a single brochure) it’s certainly a severe promoting proposition.

Though the Ka isn’t anticipated to search out houses in enormous volumes, Ford Australia expects to shift about 2500 in its first yr because it sells alongside the much more standard Festiva.

And thats the catch: the Ka is a distinct segment mannequin for Ford, geared toward youthful inner-urban singles and {couples} who’re into fashion and clearly acutely aware about what theyre seen driving to the cafe on a Sunday morning.

So it’s priced above the scrum of $13,990 drive-away fashions, coming in at what looks as if a hefty $16,500 for what’s, in any case, a 1.3-litre, three-door hatchback.

The Ka purchaser does get quite a lot of big-ticket objects of normal tools included in that value. It comes with air-conditioning, twin airbags, a single-disc CD participant and even a sunroof – a bundle none of its rivals can handle and one which lifts their value significantly if added as choices.

You wont be capable to get a Ka with an computerized transmission as a result of it isn’t accessible. Theres no probability of ABS, both, and there are a couple of much less horny however helpful issues lacking, similar to central locking, a drivers footrest and even map lights.

Theres just one choice, in reality, and thats $400 value of “premium” paint for the entrance and rear bumpers, which does lots in the direction of lifting the already outrageous styling.

That physique was one of many first expressions of Fords so-called edge design, which additionally discovered its means on to the Cougar and the Focus small automotive, which isnt but introduced into Australia. Large, angular headlights are minimize sharply into the entrance guards and theres a distinctively sloping hatch on the rear.

The Ka is brief, not for much longer than a Mercedes A-class, but it surely has a really lengthy wheelbase and quick overhangs. This makes the inside deceptively roomy, an element helped by the tall physique and excessive seating place, which supplies legs room to search out house in a downward, as a substitute of ahead, course.

The boot is small, nonetheless, and in contrast to the Toyota Echo, theres little flexibility within the seating preparations: you’ll be able to fold the Kas rear seat down, with a 50/50 break up, but it surely doesnt go away a flat load house.

Rear seat passengers get an affordable quantity of leg room, however anybody approaching the 1.8-metre mark will discover head room is restricted.

Simply two seatbelts are fitted within the again, making the Ka a four-seater.

Reality be informed, the again bench is kind of slim anyway. Not that the Ka is prone to be purchased by household sorts.

These anticipating a zippy, comparatively fast hatchback can be upset by the engine, nonetheless. Its of a really outdated design, with pushrods and overhead valves as a substitute of the extra typical overhead camshafts and multi-valve respiration.

The facility output of 43kW is low and, regardless that the Ka weighs lower than 1000kg, acceleration from a standstill is much from brisk. Switching on the air-conditioning appears to halve the efficiency and an incline kills it fully.

Theres no tachometer, however the enhance in noise from underneath the bonnet leaves the motive force in little question that revs are reaching important ranges and a gearchange is due. In actual fact, seeing as most torque is delivered as little as 2500rpm theres little level in revving the engine laborious as a result of an early gearchange will obtain comparable outcomes.

Aside from the lacklustre engine, the driving expertise is especially constructive. The gearchange is mild and fairly swift and the steering is superb, loaded with really feel and weighted excellent.

The suspension does its job properly, offering a remarkably fluid experience given the Kas tiny measurement and weight, and theres sufficient grip to make tackling a twisty street loads of enjoyable, aside from having to work the engine so laborious.

In an city setting its sufficiently small to suit into the tiniest gaps in site visitors, parallel parking is a breeze (and helped by glorious rearward imaginative and prescient) and you need to work laborious to get gasoline consumption a lot worse than 8.0 litres/100 kilometres.

The Kas overtly styled exterior is matched by a cockpit that goes a couple of steps above the plain or mundane. The dashboard is deeply sculpted, with a protruding centre part, and the entrance seat passenger is confronted by a shelf with a wierd rotating tray that may maintain little greater than a pair of sun shades. Theres no correct glovebox.

The stereo has huge buttons, so it is rather simple to make use of even when it does have solely two audio system, however the huge clock mounted up excessive continues the toy-town theme, as does the white backing for the speedometer.

The driving place is a let-down as there’s top adjustment for neither the seat nor the steering column. In actual fact, pull the pink lever underneath the steering wheel and also you pop the bonnet.

Add a steering wheel offset to the left, pedals which are too small and shut collectively and the dearth of a footrest and its a removed from excellent driving setting for various physique styles and sizes.

Recover from these issues and the Ka is clearly filled with appeal and greater than a bit of capacity. It matches a variety of house right into a small bundle and aside from the weedy engine has virtually a sports-car feeling to the dealing with and steering.

Its additionally good to see a mainstream producer has the gumption to construct loads of character into what’s, contemplating the excessive tools ranges, an eminently inexpensive automotive.

The Ka wont be for everybody as a result of the uncompromised nature of the design is certain to polarise opinions, however there can be these on the lookout for one thing out of the atypical who will look previous its shortcomings.

ENGINE: 1.3-litre, OHV, 8-valve 4 cylinder 43kW at 5000rpm and 100Nm at 2500rpm.
TRANSMISSION:Transmission 5-speed handbook solely. Entrance-wheel drive.
STEERING: Rack and pinion, 2.9 turns lock-to-lock. Turning circle 10.0m.
BRAKES: Discs entrance, drums rear. ABS not accessible.
SUSPENSION: Entrance: unbiased by MacPherson struts with stabiliser bar. Rear: torsion beam axle, with coil springs and stabiliser bar.
WHEELS/TYRES: 5.0 x 13-inch metal wheels, tyres 165/65R13.
DIMENSIONS: Size 3660mm, width 1640mm, top 1400mm, wheelbase 2450mm. Kerb weight 955kg.
ECONOMY: 8.1 L/100km. Gas tank 50 litres.
Toyota Echo 3-door, $14,990.
Mitsubishi Mirage, $14,990.
Hyundai Excel GX, $16,990.

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