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Ford Kuga. Ford Kuga.
13 May 2013 Posted by 

MOTORING: Road testing the Ford Kuga

By Motoring Writer, Zain Swaleh

THE Ford Kuga is Ford’s answer to the rapidly growing compact SUV market. It joins the Ford Focus, Fiesta and Mondeo as part of Ford’s “international” range. 

Ford believes, much like their founder Henry Ford with the original Model-T, that their cars have a wide-ranging appeal across a variety of markets. The Ford Kuga shares some of its design characteristics with the current Ford Focus, which means that it is a great looking car.

This coupled with the choice of 18 or 19-inch rims give the car a certain presence on the road. The styling of the Kuga, for a compact SUV, is sleek and can be described as European. Thus, it is no surprise, that the Kuga was designed in Europe.

These European qualities not only shine through in the design of the car, but in the mechanics and safety of the Kuga.

Safety

When tested by the European NCAP the Ford Kuga received one of the highest safety ratings achieved by any car. In Australia it has received a 5-Star ANCAP safety rating.

The Kuga offers a myriad of technology aimed at preventing road collisions as well as minimizing harm to occupants in the result of a collision. Ford calls this technology their Intelligent Protection System (IPS).

The IPS includes seven airbags as standard, a collapsible steering column, computer optimized body structure, anti-submarining seat bases, Dynamic Stability Control, ABS, and Emergency Brake Assist.

On top of this, the Trend and Titanium models of the Kuga offer an additional safety package. Active City Stop detects unexpected stops by the car in front of you and automatically brakes. The Lane Keeping Aid will vibrate the steering wheel if it detects that you are straying out of your lane.

Additionally, AdvanceTrac Roll Stability Control will selectively brake while cornering to ensure there is no possibility of rolling. All these safety features will keep your mind at ease, whether it is you at the wheel, your wife or your children.

Performance

The Kuga comes with two engine choices: a 1.6 litre EcoBoost and a 2-litre turbo diesel. 1.6 litres in a compact SUV may seem small. Moreover, the size does cause reluctance amongst some buyers according to a Thomson Ford sales consultant. However, there are two key factors that make the 1.6L EcoBoost in the Ford Kuga different from others.

Firstly, the engine is turbocharged, which means extra power and better fuel economy, approximately 8.0 litres/100km.

Secondly, the engine is mated to Ford’s 6-Speed Powershift gearbox, which utlilises the engine’s 134 kilowatts as efficiently as possible.

The 1.6 EcoBoost provides plenty of low to mid range power, which is great in the suburbs and the city, while the 6-speed gearbox makes for fuel-efficient cruising on highways and country roads.

I was unable to drive the diesel variant, as it will not be released for another month. However, the statistics show that it has excellent fuel economy 6.4L/100km and a braked towing capacity of 1.5 tons.

Diesel variants are recommended for individuals who do a lot of long distance travelling. The diesel engine in the Ford Kuga does carry a $3,000 premium over the EcoBoost models.

Interior and Practicality

The inside of the Kuga is a very pleasant place. It is spacious and comfortable. The seven-way adjustable seats also make it very easy to find the perfect driving position.

Much like the exterior, the Kuga borrows on its design and features from the current Ford Focus. The Trend and Titanium models feature a Sony 9-Speaker system with iPod and USB connectivity.

Additionally, the Ford Sync System, developed by Microsoft, allows for hands free connectivity for smartphones and other electronic devices. This is part of Ford’s hands-free technology philosophy.

The Kuga also offers a voice control system as part of its on-board technology. What is great about this particular voice control system is that it actually works.

You are easily able to make calls, play music, set the climate control, or have the car read out a message merely by talking.  Naturally, being a compact SUV, the Kuga will be targeted at those who have an active lifestyle.

Thankfully the spacious boot has plenty of rooms for golf clubs, the shopping or even the family dog. The rear seats can be folded down, creating even more room for bikes or skis.

Drive and Handling

The Ford Kuga has plenty of low to mid range grunt. This punchy power makes it great for getting around the city and suburbs.

Additionally, on the highway, the 1.6 EcoBoost does not struggle and easily cruises at 100km/h. The Ford Kuga gives you a degree of ground clearance that is expected in a compact SUV. However, despite this, it feels planted and corners well with little body roll.

This is thanks to Ford’s intelligent All Wheel Drive system, which adjusts the torque, delivered to each wheel every 16 milliseconds.

The Ford Kuga’s suspension is confortable while not feeling wobbly. Even on a bumpy road, like certain sections of Parramatta Rd, the car glides along. It truly is an excellent blend of sportiness and comfort.

Value

The Ford Kuga is priced competitively against its compact SUV rivals. The Ambiente Front Wheel Drive starts at $29,000, the Trend at $36,000 and the Titanium at $44,000.

The diesel variants carry a $3000 premium. All Ford Kuga models come with a 3-year/100,000km-factory warranty and 6 years capped price servicing. The Ford Kuga delivers European quality, design and technology, without the European price tag.

You can contact Thomson Ford at Parramatta on 1300 978 599 for an obligation-free test drive of the Kuga or any of the Ford Range.



editor

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Michael Walls
michael@accessnews.com.au
0407 783 413

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.