Kuga On The Prowl – A Week With Ford’s Popular SUV
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 fighting for the lucrative mid-size crossover/SUV market, Ford could not afford to rest on its laurels hence a 2017 makeover. Since then the market has got even more crowded, so I suppose the question is, does the Kuga stand comparison with the best?
The nips and tucks saw a bold new grille being fitted, similar to the bigger and brasher Edge, whilst the tailgate was reshaped and new lights front and rear were added.
Inside the introduction of an electric parking brake freed up more storage space, whilst the new infotainment screen now boasted Ford’s latest SYNC 3 connectivity. It works fine, but recessing the screen makes it hard to read and to operate on the move.
Pricing is competitive with a range opening ‘Zetec’ model available from £23,225.
On test here is a plush ST-Line X model, powered by a familiar 180hp 2.0-litre diesel engine. Ford’s six-speed Powershift dual-clutch gearbox and all-wheel drive complete the package.
After a little low speed hesitation, the Kuga moves off briskly and shifts smoothly through the gears. The torquey motor provides plenty of pulling power and is nicely muted even at higher revs.
Ford quote 47.1mpg for the combined economy cycle and during my 800-mile week the trip computer read a commendable 41.3mpg. CO2 emissions are 160g/km.
The Kuga has always been a fun car to drive. Although ultimately set up for comfort, the Ford SUV is one of the better drivers’ cars in the sector. Aiding and abetting the Kuga’s prowess is a torque vectoring system which helps boost stability and traction.
High speed cruising is a relaxed affair, with wind and road noise pleasantly muted. The adaptive cruise control works well and reduces stress on our overcrowded motorways.
The interior offers space for taller occupants to spread out, with a 406-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.
ST-Line X trim boasts such niceties as automatic climate control and satellite navigation. At a heady £35,625 as tested however, I cannot help but feel that the Kuga is punching above its weight. Better to rein in the spend...
Look around and there are plenty of Kugas on our roads. A top ten seller in the UK, only the Nissan Qashqai outsells it in the SUV class. Mainstream rival Vauxhall now has a range of models aiming to compete, but ignoring their shiny, modern exteriors, they are universally uninspiring to drive.
So returning to my original question.... yes the latest Ford Kuga is set fair to continue its march up the sales chart. Find a friendly dealer, peruse the range of affordable PCP deals and buy with confidence. One caveat mind, do try the Qashqai first!
Ford Kuga ST-Line X
180PS 2.0-litre diesel engine
6-speed Powershift Dual-Clutch gearbox
0-62mph in 10 seconds
Combined economy 47.1mpg
Emissions 160g/km CO2
Kuga On The Prowl – A Week With Ford’s Popular SUV, 5th July 2018, 6:39 AM