Ford's Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium On Test
Andy Harris, Motoring and Property Editor
The original Kuga saw its UK debut in 2008. Selling around 10,000 units in its first year, Kuga was destined for great things.
Five years later a new version arrived but with every mainstream manufacturer now fighting for the lucrative mid-size crossover/SUV market, Ford could not afford to rest on its laurels hence the 2017 makeover.
Recent worthy newcomers include the Audi Q2, Renault Kadjar and my particular favourite, the SEAT Ateca.
Immediately apparent is the bold new grille, similar to the bigger and brasher Edge, introduced to the UK for the first time last year.
The tailgate has been reshaped and new lights front and rear complete the new look.
Inside the introduction of an electric parking brake frees up more storage space, whilst the new infotainment screen now boasts Ford's latest SYNC 3 connectivity.
It works well, but recessing the screen makes it hard to read, especially on the move.
Pricing is competitive with a range opening 'Zetec' model available from £21,895. Of more interest perhaps are the PCP deals available which will see a well specified 'Titanium' variant on your driveway for as little as £269 per month (0% APR). Your local dealer will tell you more.
Big news is the introduction of new 1.5-litres engines in Kuga. The EcoBoost petrol has a choice of three power outputs (120, 150 and 182PS), but it is the 120PS diesel engine that is likely to find favour, especially in the fleet market.
Up to 64.2mpg is claimed together with low emissions of just 115g/km CO2.
On test here is the more familiar 150PS 2.0-litre diesel engine, combined with front-wheel drive and six speed manual gearbox.
From rest, and thanks to a low first gear, the Kuga feels a little sluggish.
Once underway however, the smooth diesel engine has plenty of performance for comfortable cruising and safe overtaking.
The gearbox is slick in operation and the clutch light and progressive. A Powershift automatic gearbox is available for an additional £1,650 and from memory it works well.
Ford quote 60.1mpg for the combined economy cycle and during my week of mainly local running around, the Kuga returned 42mpg. Emissions are commendably low at 122g/km CO2.
The Kuga has always been a fun car to drive. Although ultimately set up for comfort, the Ford SUV is still one of the best drivers' cars in the sector.
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The interior offers space for taller occupants to spread out, with a 456-litre boot for luggage. Soft-touch materials abound, fit and finish is fine but it would be fair to say that some rivals do offer more wow factor.
Titanium trim boasts such niceties as automatic climate control and satellite navigation. At a heady £27,145 as tested I had expected at least partial leather seats...
From my briefing notes at the launch event earlier this year, I read that Ford has high hopes for the updated Kuga and hopes to shift 40,000 units this year. This is part of a concerted attack which will see a range of five new or updated SUVs on sale in the next three years.
Kuga must lead the charge and it seems well equipped so to do. The aforementioned attractive PCP deals and proliferation of proactive dealerships will clearly help.
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium
150PS 2.0-litre diesel engine
6-speed manual gearbox (Auto add £1,650)
Optional Four-Wheel Drive
0-62mph in 10.1 seconds
Top speed 121mph
Combined economy 60.1mpg
Emissions 122g/km CO2
3 year/60,000 mile warranty
Towing capacity 1,900kg (braked)
Ford's Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium On Test, 27th June 2017, 10:54 AM