Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5

Ford Ka performance levels are what you might call adequate. Two engines are available in the Ka but it's the 1.2-litre petrol with 69bhp that will be the biggest seller. Despite its modest output, it is surprisingly peppy around town with decent pick-up from low revs. Of course,with a 0-62mph time of 13.1 seconds, straight-line acceleration is relaxed.

However it remains smooth, even up to high revs - although it can get a little vocal when pushed hard. But in everyday driving it copes well thanks to a responsive nature and will happily keep up with fast flowing motorway traffic - plus it can return 55mpg. The other choice is a 1.3-litre TDCi with 75bhp. The extra power from the common rail diesel delivers punchier in-gear acceleration than the petrol model, although it's no quicker from 0-62mph on paper.

It is however more economical with an average of 67mpg achievable. Both engines emit less than 120g/km of CO2 making them cheap to tax too. A slick five-speed gearbox is the only transmission choice, with a high mounted gear-lever close to the steering wheel.

As the Ford Ka was developed alongside the Fiat 500 and uses the same platform as its base, it is little surprise that the two are quite similar to drive. However Ford has changed the suspension of the Ka and consequently there's less bodyroll in bends and a smoother ride too. The steering has also been revised and is more responsive and better weighted than in the Fiat, making the little Ford surprisingly enjoyable on a twisting road and great fun when nipping in and out of traffic.

The steering is still light enough to make town driving easy, helped further by good all round visibility. Despite its small size and weight, the Ka is also very stable on the motorway, even in windy conditions.