Ladies, ladies, gentlemen and everything in between, into the Almost Cars ring enters a heavyweight in terms of sportiness and fun – the Ford Ka I.
Sure, for 99% of the population the Ford Ka I is just a tent on wheels you buy when your budget is the equivalent of 3 allowances. And that’s probably what’s left of the legendary Ford Ka I, but things haven’t always been this bad.
Essentially we have the smallest body of the Ford Fiesta – Ford Puma – Ford Ka triad and we have been among the most fun cars in their class, since their day. We’ve got sports suspension modified specifically for agility and fun even when you’ve only got 15 horsepower at your disposal. And the Ford Puma at least was a colossal success in the European market, being bought by the pallet by people who wanted a fast, fun, and cheap car.
So why is it that the Ford Ka I has remained just a bit of a joke of a car and doesn’t have the sporty stigma it was built for?
Because it was built to standards that even British Leyland would laugh at. Legend has it that the cars came rusty from the factory and you had to check the car carefully to see if you got a steering wheel or not. And until 2002 you had one engine, even more shoddy that UK’s current state but from 2002 things explode like you’re in a Bollywood movie because an Mazda sourced engine appears.
And so we come to the main topic of the day because in 2003 the Ford StreetKa is launched and that has as much to do with the Ford Ka as Amy Schumer has to do with humor or Tom Jones has to do with vulgar music. And you can sing along to Daft Punk’s Interstellar 5555 when talking about how out of touch with reality they are because the only common element on the outside between the StreetKa and the Ford Ka I is the bonnet. That’s it. But the differences don’t stop there, because the StreetKa was built to a different, much higher standard, doesn’t have big rust issues, has a different suspension, a different interior, different materials used, and usually came with the delicious 95 horsepower 1.6 MPI. Sure, you’d laugh at the 95 horsepower, but the Ford Ka I and StreetKa weigh 50 pounds both together. That’s why the Ford Ka is such a fun car even with a microscopic 1.3 petrol 15 horsepower. Even when your car is a genuine tent on wheels.
Ford Ka I Engines
- 1.3 MPI of 60 and 75 horsepower – Like I said, the pre-2002 engine is to be avoided but there’s nothing left of the Ka’s built before 2002 anyway because they’ve all been eaten by rust. So you’re left with the 1.3 MPI 75 horsepower Mazda origin and that means apart from oil consumption, you’re good to go.
- 1.6 MPI of 95 horsepower – For the Ford Ka I this engine is too much because at the first turn you have a good chance of being flung through the window, if you forgot to close it. Great for the StreetKa instead, if you had where to store the necesarry oil barrels.
Ford Ka I General Issues
- The Ford Ka I is the official car for those without family or friends because the back seats are put just for show. And second, because if you have a Ford Ka I you most likely have no friends.
- The main reason why the Ford Ka I is such a rarity and exclusive on the streets is rust. Rust has eaten them all.
- The steering column is another weak point for the Ford Ka I, but it’s not the only one. But at least you don’t need power steering on this car, you can steer it with the power of your mind because the car weighs 25 kg. And you don’t even need power steering, because the pedal gets stuck occasionally. And you don’t even need to park it, thanks to the parking brake cable that comes loose and makes noise, but somehow works.
- The spark plugs are most likely stuck so when they need replacing, you’ll most likely change the car too.
- It’s raining in the fuse box, but at least the Ford Ka isn’t the village champion of electronics. Or technology.
- The dash shakes the same way women’s legs shake when Tom Jones shows up in the area.
- The climate issues are quickly solved because the Ford Ka has a living area of 2 square meters so if you opened the window (either one), you don’t have to worry about it.
- The moment the hood latch breaks it’s a sign you need to retire the car.
- A special mention for Ford StreetKa is that when you need to change the headlight, you have to dismantle the whole front of the car. Like the Megane, but more complicated.
Ford Ka I Verdict
Yes, the Ford Ka I was a tent on wheels that was fun but that time has matured faster than Dua Lipa. But Ford StreetKa, that car is worth buying because it’s much sportier than it looks. So today I feel like I’m at the Binterview. For the Ka, I’ll have to say pass, but for the StreetKa I’ll give it three yes
What engines do you recommend? 1.3 MPI 75 horsepower after 2002 for the Ka, and 1.6 MPI 95 horsepower for the StreetKa.