Ford Ka 1.3 TDCi (2009) CAR review

Ford Ka
Ford’s just launched a diesel version of the new Ka. And why not? All the hardware was there for the taking because the Ka is based on the Fiat Panda/500 platform, so that’s where the engines come from too.

This one’s a 1.3-litre common-rail turbodiesel with 74bhp, so it’s 7bhp up on the Fiesta’s PSA-sourced 1.4. The question is, will anyone buy it?

Are you saying the new Ford Ka diesel's no good then?

Far from it – just looking at numbers really. Ford plans to sell 19,000 Kas in the UK this year; it’s the leader in a growing segment, and 48% of buyers opt for top Zetec spec. That’s the only trim level you can buy the diesel in, and Ford expects the split to be biased 96% towards the 1.2 petrol. So if you buy the TDCi, you’ll be one of only 365 who do.
Does it deserve to be so rare?

The official figures suggest this 74bhp car matches the 68bhp petrol to 62mph and beats it by 1mph flat out, and it’s about 6% ahead on emissions and a fifth better on fuel efficiency (but remember, diesel fuel costs 12% more at the UK pump). So there’s not a huge amount in it – especially when the diesel costs £686 more than the petrol version to buy in the first place.

But there’s no doubt that, to drive, this is a much better car than the petrol Ka. The diesel’s a punchy, free-revving engine that even manages to sound enthusiastic – once you’ve got past some low-speed whine and clatter, anyway. Its urge suits the perky character of the Ka and makes you feel very confident about nipping in and out of tight spaces in traffic. By comparison, the petrol version feels rather uncouth – its engine is surprisingly loud (much louder than it is in the 500) and needs to be revved harder to keep up.
Any sign of Ford’s handling magic?

A bit. Truth be told, it’d be a much better car if it shared bits of the Fiesta platform rather than being a revised Fiat. It’s said to be 70% stiffer in roll than the Panda and it certainly feels more sophisticated than the 500. There’s an anti-roll bar for the rear torsion-beam axle, the springing feels more pliant, the ride is far better damped and there’s less crashiness from the front suspension – though it’s not entirely eliminated.

There’s more resistance and liveliness to the steering too, and you can have some fun on twisting country lanes.

Ford Ka

Ford Ka

Ford Ka

Ford Ka

Ford Ka





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