The original Ford KA was the king of the city hatches in 1996 thanks to its cute looks, sharp handling and affordable price. The second generation car has been around for seven years now – can it still cut it?

There's no doubt in the car's appeal. With the easily recognisable Ford grille, the car's assertive looks are its main selling point. While that may sound superficial, it isn't anything new – just look at the Mini or the Fiat 500 for how styling sells city cars. 

Inside, the car is just the same. It's got a stylish, high quality fascia which, while perhaps not as distinctive as the Fiat 500's, is perfectly good for a city car. Standard kit on entry levels is modest, but the Edge version gets alloy wheels, air conditioning, remote central locking and electric front windows. Safety is covered with two air bags, stability control and tyre pressure monitors as standard, and if you'd like more protection, you can spec a curtain airbag.

On the road, the 1.2 litre petrol engine is very sprightly, and matched to a typical Ford gearbox it's great. Motorway journeys are not something the car excels at and its little engine takes a while to get up to speed, but for city driving you wouldn't really notice. The steering is surprisingly direct, and it just edges the Fiat 500. That's something, because underneath they're pretty much identical. However, it's not as much fun to drive as the Volkswagen Up and it's starting to show its age. The Ford KA is neither refined at high speed nor exciting down a B-road, but its attractive looks and Ford build quality ensure it nails its city car breed.