Just like a fine wine, the Kuga from Ford, gets better with age as we find out with this all-new model.
Ford’s Kuga has been on the market for some 12 years now and looking back, the first generation model wasn’t too pretty. It was helped in 2012 with a makeover, however rivals such as the Kia Sportage, Nissan Qashqai, and Peugeot 3008 often appeared to be a more popular choice on our roads.
This latest Kuga isn’t the cheapest car available in the mid-sized SUV category. Yet it’s not the most expensive either. Priced at a glance, fairly, thanks to the abundance of standard equipment, safety, and technology, it could prove to become a more familiar choice.
The Kuga range is kept simple with just five trim levels to choose from. A total of five engines are available, one of which is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), another a mild-hybrid (mHEV). The popularity of the Kuga as a family car means the vast majority of models sold will be front-wheel-drive.
With a single four-wheel-drive option available, there is still scope for those who live in the sticks, or for those who tow a caravan, boat, or small horse box on a regular basis. Sitting in the middle of Ford’s SUV line-up, the all-new Kuga is much less rugged than before, sporting a city-sleek look, instead.
Based on the Ford Focus, which you would have read about on these pages in recent weeks, it’s no surprise that the driving dynamics of the Kuga are some of the best in its category.
Priced from £24,615 a ‘Zetec’ trim offers 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, LED tail lamps, privacy glass, rear spoiler, twin exhausts, air conditioning and Quickclear heated windscreen, keyless start, full electric windows, Ford SYNC 3 infotainment system with 8-inch touch screen, and mobile phone wireless charging pad.
You also get a leather steering wheel and gear knob, cruise control with adjustable speed limiter, front and rear parking sensors, pre-collision assist with autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping aid with lane-departure warning, and selectable drive modes: Normal, Eco, Sport, Slippery, and Trail.
A ‘Titanium’ trim starts from £27,865 and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, front LED fog lights, dual-zone climate control, rain-sensing wipers, ‘Bang & Olufsen’ premium audio with subwoofer, ambient lighting, auto-dimming rear view mirror, keyless entry, and partial leather sports seats.
An ‘ST-Line’ starts from £29,965 and adds an ST-Line body kit, front LED fog lights with cornering function, red brake calipers, sport suspension (engine dependent), full digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster, alloy pedals, and red stitching around the upholstery.
An ‘ST-Line X’ is priced from £31,265 and adds 19-inch alloy wheels, power opening panoramic roof, hands-free power tailgate, 10-way electric adjustable driver’s seat, and heated front seats. The pinnacle of the Kuga the range comes at a cost of £32,565 for the Vignale model.
Featuring a unique Vignale body styling kit, automatic LED quad projector headlamps with glare-free, metallic paint, leather-wrapped instrument panel, Vignale premium leather heated seating, gear knob and heated steering wheel, head-up display, automatic park assist, and active noise cancellation.
Trim dependent, you have the choice of five engines starting with a 1.5-litre EcoBoost. A turbocharged petrol engine, paired only to a 6-speed manual gearbox, and available with either 120ps or 150ps, achieving 0-62mph in 11.6 seconds or 9.7 seconds, with a combined return of 41.5mpg or 40.9mpg, respectively.
If you are environmentally conscious, or perhaps in the market for a new PHEV company car, the 2.5-litre petrol Plug-in Hybrid is most certainly worth a look.
With an electric-only range of up to 35 miles, it could be for you. Producing 225ps, this engine, paired to a CVT automatic transmission, will see 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds, with a combined return of an estimated 201.8mpg.
A 1.5-litre EcoBlue turbocharged diesel engine is available with a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic ‘box. Producing 120ps, 0-62mph can be done in 11.7 seconds, with a combined return of 54.3mpg.
The sole four-wheel-drive Kuga is equipped with a 2-litre EcoBlue turbocharged diesel engine paired to a 8-speed automatic ‘box, which is good for 8.7 seconds on a 0-62mph dash, with a combined return of 46.3mpg.
A mild-Hybrid option also features the 2-litre diesel engine paired to a 6-speed manual ‘box. The output of this combination being 150ps, which sees 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds, with a combined return of 54.3mpg.
It is safe to say that the Kuga from Ford, has never looked so good, nor offered so much in the way of technology and safety, never mind the plethora of punchy and eco-friendly engines.
Ford offer a 3-year, 60,000 mile warranty (whichever comes first).
Words : GRAHAM BAALHAM-CURRY