2004 Ford StreetKa Luxury 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland
Great in parts, but the quality and reliability are shocking
Camshaft sensor failed (breakdown)
Thermostat jammed shut (breakdown)
Fuel pump failed (breakdown)
Heater valve seized meaning no warm air into the car.
Paint scuffing from hood cover due to poor fit.
Intermittent squeal from clutch release bearing.
Intermittent misfire for the first few miles on a cold start (fine once warmed up)
Alarm sometimes goes off if locked with the remote key. Dealer cannot fix it!
Passenger door handle linkage broke.
Oxygen sensor failed (management light on, poor performance - not linked to supermarket fuel)
Various creaks and squeaks.
This is my wife's car - I drive it only occasionally, but I have been well aware of its poor reliability record.
Great concept and a lovely design, but let down by poor reliability and appalling build quality.
The 1.6 engine is torquey and has a strong midrange, helped by short gearing. Acceleration is peppy enough, and there's a nice growl from the exhaust. Motorway cruising is a pain because the 5th gear is so low, but it was never sold as a motorway cruiser.
Handling is superb - the definition of kart-like. Good, meaty steering with plenty of feel and strong front end grip. It's a joy to sling around country lanes, and will even oversteer if you lift sharply. A truly cracking chassis then. The driving position is good too with plenty of room for me at 6ft 2, and yet comfortable for my wife at 5ft 5. Ford usually do this well in my experience.
Sadly, the car seems to suffer from "lowest bidder" components which fail at stupidly low mileage and can often immobilise the car completely. This car has left us stranded on three separate occasions, and has suffered a catalogue of other build related problems which make the car feel cheap and actually quite tired at 42,000 miles. I didn't expect Audi build quality, but neither did I expect to use the AA quite so much. The car is maintained regardless of cost to the Ford schedule by a Ford dealer. It is not abused, and driven hard only occasionally.
The other big issue is fuel economy - it is dreadful. Even without using the revs, it just about cracks 30 mpg, with 25 on the cards if you are a little more enthusiastic. I have a BMW 330i which has an engine nearly twice the size, making more than twice the power, and in a car 250kg heavier, yet uses no more fuel. What is Ford's excuse?
There is a lot to like about this car. It looks fantastic with it's wheel at each corner stance, its funky styling (I like the standard Ka as a piece of design too), and fantastic handling, but it's just too fault prone and too poorly screwed together. Buyers need to be aware that despite its heady £12k list price when new, it is based on a car that sold for half that, and has no improvement in material or build quality over its cheaper cousin. The rag top on ours is at least still draught and leak free which I'm told is quite unusual.
Not since the Fiat X1/9 has such a great piece of design been executed so badly. Disappointing.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 19th February, 2008