The problems with this car started the day after I bought it.
The main problem was a persistent overheating fault which the dealer couldn't repair, even after four attempts.
However, the electrics on the car were also very poor. The headlights and brake lights blew and the rear window wiper persistently didn't work. Also the radio was faulty and the dealer again couldn't fix it.
The steering was another problem area. On two occasions I had to call the AA due to power steering failure, resulting in a new rack being fitted. The garage overtightened the rack though when fitting it which meant the car was reluctant to straighten up after turning a corner.
Other minor faults included - inoperative heating (in the middle of winter!), rust patches on the doors, faded back bumper, trim coming loose on the doors and in the boot, and a leaky door.
I bought this car October 2002 and have just sold it back to the garage I bought it from as a part exchange against a brand new Ka.
This one was nothing but trouble. In 6 months of ownership I covered 6000 miles (not a lot for me), however the car was back 10 times, had the AA called to it 4 times, and I had a courtesy car for almost 3 of those months.
The main dealership I bought it from were simply not interested. I spoke to various people in the servicing department (including the service manager) and found them to be absolutely useless. They never returned my calls or apologised for the number of times the car was back. Eventually the manager of the dealership agreed to buy my car back for what I paid for it as a trade in against a new Ka.
On the plus side, the Ford Ka is a really nice drive - nippy, easy to drive with fantastic, communicative steering and amazing handling. It also is very fuel efficient.
Its probably best suited to single people or a couple as the back seats are too cramped for any more than occasional use. The boot is also quite small and it doesn't have a light.
I'd also like to warn Ka owners of a serious problem with this car. The spare wheel is mounted on a cradle underneath the car, and is highly susceptible to thieves. Both myself and my girlfriend (also a Ka owner) have suffered the theft of the spare wheel and it costs about £200 to replace by the time you get a new wheel and tyre. I'd advise asking your Ford dealer to remove the wheel from the cradle and placing it in the boot of the car where it is not vulnerable to theft.