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Ford Ka Best Mods & Upgrades

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Table of Contents


In this article we’ll mainly be focusing on the first 2 generations of the Ford Ka which were manufactured between 1996 – 2016.

When it comes to modifying the Ford Ka, the most common approach is cosmetic mods to the exterior and interior to personalise it. If you are after increased increased power, there isn’t a great return on investment. You will be looking at a 10 to 15bhp gain at most, and that will involve quite a few physical modifications to the car. To most, this won’t be worth it but we will cover some of those mods in brief detail to give you some more info should you want to extract as much as you can from your Ka.

While there isn’t much power gain to be had from these engines, the performance of your Ka can be improved via handling and brake upgrades. This can make your driving experience much more enjoyable and make driving through back roads a blast. They can even make for a lightweight fun track car if set up correctly!

Lets get started looking at the best mods you can do for your Ford Ka.

Aftermarket Wheels

The OEM wheels that come with the Ford Ka models don’t tend to be the most exhilarating or inspiring. 

If you’re looking to add an extra element of sportiness to your Ford Ka, then aftermarket wheels might be the way to go.

Aftermarket wheels help to give your Ka a more modern look. If you’re trying to get away from the slightly outdated looks and want something more sleek and stylish instead, then aftermarket wheels can definitely help with that.

Escort Cosworth RS wheels are  a nice compliment to the car and fit nicely.

4-2-1 Performance Exhaust Manifold

This is a more invasive power increasing modification but is probably the best value mod available for power gains for the Ford Ka.

A 4-2-1 exhaust manifold is available for certain models of the Ford Ka and has proven and tested power gains throughout the rev range.

If you are tracking your Ford Ka and want to get as many ponies out of the engine as you can, then this could be worth looking into.

Take a look at one here for the 1.3L Ford Ka. As well as increased power and response, it can also improve fuel economy as well which is a nice little bonus.

To compliment this, consider getting a more free-flowing exhaust system. However, don’t change the diameter of the exhaust piping as this can actually result in a loss of power in these cars.

Aftermarket Air Filter

An aftermarket air filter is a good way to extract a little extra performance from your car, as well as getting some nicer intake sounds. You have a couple of different options available depending on the year of your Ford Ka. You can opt for panel filters that slot into the place in the standard airbox, or you can opt for a cone filter replacing the standard airbox. 

Aftermarket intakes can increase the air flow to your engine leading to better throttle response and increased power, as well as have better shielding for dust and other small elements you want kept out your engine.


If you’re looking to improve handling performance, or just add a little style to your car, coilovers are a great modification.

Coilovers are the ultimate way improve your Ka’s handling. They allow you to adjust the ride height and stiffness which makes for a more engaging driving experience. 

Fitting coilovers will make your car much more responsive in the cars. The suspension responds immediately, so you can turn into corners more confidently and quickly with reduced body roll. You’ll also have better traction and grip, which will help you get through turns faster and make it easier for you to launch off corners.

Aside from performance benefits, coilovers can help you lower your Ka nicely to give it a more aggressive stance. Combine them with an aftermarket set of wheels and spacers and your Ka can look a lot more aggressive. 

There are a variety of great sets you can check out on eBay.

Body Kit

Body kits are controversial at the best of times, and can be even more controversial on the Ford Ka.

However, if you want something a little different and want to make your Ka a bit more feisty, a body kit could be the way to do it.

This doesn’t necessarily mean replacing every panel of your Ka with an aftermarket panel that transforms your car into something else entirely. 

This could be subtle touches like adding some aftermarket side skirts to accentuate the lines of the car. Or perhaps a subtle rear roof spoiler to make the rear of your Ka a little more sporty. Or it could be a front bumper/splitter to make the front of your Ka look more aggressive when you’re in a Ferrari’s rear mirror chasing it down. 

How far you want to go with the body styling mods will depend on the budget and how much you want to physically transform the car. Subtle touches can go a long way and you may be satisfied with just a rear spoiler or side skirts which really can make a big difference. You could have these body parts sprayed to match the colour of your car to make them blend in, or you could have them in a contrasting colour to draw attention to the new sporty body elements.

The choice is yours!

Interior Mods

Ford Ka Interior Mods

We’ve spoke a bit about performance and exterior styling mods, but what about the inside of your Ka?

That is where you spend most of your time after all.

The interior isn’t as modern and elegant as a newish German car by any means, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add some personal touches to it.

Interior mods can be some of the cheapest mods you can do to your car, and you can often install a lot of them yourself.

For small subtle touches, why not consider replacing the gearstick knob? Or maybe add some footwell lighting to compliment the body colour of your Ka. Subtle touches like this can really make a big difference to the interior and making your Ka stand out from the rest.

Or if you are an audiophile, consider getting an aftermarket stereo and upgraded speakers.

Engine Swap/Conversion

Why not leave the craziest til last, right?

Not exactly a bolt on or easy modification as such, but there have been many engine swaps and conversions done to Ford Ka’s over the year by enthusiast owners who truly want something unique.

One of the most popular swaps is the 1.7L Puma engine however there are other options too.

An engine swap requires a lot of planning, preparation and custom work done so unless you are really handy with the tools this is one you are going to want to hand over to a garage to complete.

If you are going for an engine swap, then chances are you want bigger power than the standard engines can reliably produce. This of course often requires other upgrades to accompany the added power. Budget for better brakes, suspension components and mounts. If you are putting a turbo’d engine in, then of course you will need all the associated components of a turbo engine like the intercooler etc. With limited engine bay space, you will need to get creative at fitting everything in neatly.

Finishing Thoughts

Whether you’re looking for a little bit of extra style or some slight performance upgrades, there are plenty of options out there for your Ka. Many older models of the Ford Ka can be picked up for quite cheap which means you can spend more money on customising it to make it your own!

We hope this guide was helpful in helping you find the right mods for your Ka.

Happy modding!