Ford’s new Kuga will soon be delivered to customers who liked the look of it when it was revealed at the Geneva motor show. Deliveries are expected before the end of the year, but motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, managed to get an early drive of the updated Kuga this week.
Poland To Lithuania
The new Ford Kuga is a delight to drive. I should know, as I’ve just spent 24 hours driving one from Warsaw in Poland to Vilnius in Lithuania. And let me tell you, Eastern Europe’s roads are not as kind to cars as Britain’s are – and that’s saying something. Many of the roads in Poland and Lithuania are peppered with potholes, broken up by the odd stretch of motorway, but often littered with roadworks. The new Kuga made light work of the potholes, due to its excellent suspension and well-padded seats.
The only real grumble came from the car’s petrol engine. My Kuga was fitted with the 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine, in four-wheel-drive 182PS guise. It returns 38.2mpg and 171g/km of CO2, and it’s quite noisy when you put your foot down for overtakes. That said; the Ford’s melodramatics soon subside, and the car is happy to settle into a less raucous cruise when it sees the open road ahead.
Although Ford is billing the latest Kuga as ‘new’, it’s more of a face-lift, with the design taking its influence from the new Ford Edge. On the outside, the modernised Ford Kuga now has a more profoundly fashioned bonnet. This gives the car a ruggedly handsome look, but it’s not been done for pleasing aesthetics alone. The bonnet has also been produced to offer improved pedestrian protection in the event of a car vs person collision.
One of the most obvious Ford Edge styling cues in the fresh Kuga is the fitting of a trapezoidal grille. Additionally, the model now benefits from LED daytime running lights, bi-xenon headlights, and up-to-date fog-lights. The rear of the Kuga hasn’t been left out either. Here, there are redesigned tail-lights and an electrically-operated tow bar that stores itself out of view when not being used. The tailgate can also be released by you doing a little kick under the new Kuga’s back bumper. And, while you’re doing that, you’ll see the Kuga’s alloy wheels are different. They are now obtainable in 17-inch, 18-inch and 19-inch sizes.
Sync 3 System
Step inside, and the Kuga’s cabin is cleaner – in the sense that there aren’t as many buttons littering the dashboard as there were before. An electronic parking brake has also joined the party. Ford’s new Sync 3 system is responsible for doing away with many of the switches. It consists of a large touchscreen and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. It also enables you to control functions using voice instructions. For instance, by saying “I need a fuel station”, the sat-nav will find the nearest fuel pumps for you.
While it’s really a face-lift, the new Kuga does have some new stuff going on underneath the bonnet, too. There is a new 120PS 1.5-litre TDCi diesel unit with front-wheel-drive, which delivers up to 64.2mpg and 115g/km of CO2. If you prefer more clout, there is a 2.0-litre TDCi engine with 150PS, and you can choose to have it with all-wheel-drive or front-wheel drive. This variant will return up to 60.1mpg, while emitting 122g/km of CO2. If you want even more power, there’s an Intelligent All Wheel Drive version with 180PS. This does 54.3mpg on average and CO2 emissions are 135g/km. The 1.5-litre Ecoboost petrol engine stays, and comes in two states of tune – 120PS or 150PS. Finally, as mentioned earlier, the four-wheel-drive 182PS variant of this petrol engine, driven here, returns up to 38.2mpg and emits 171g/km of CO2.
Parking Made Easy
All-wheel-drive Kugas, like the one I drove, also include semi-autonomous Perpendicular Parking tech. This helps you to park, without using your hands, in tight spaces alongside other vehicles. I found this particularly useful when trying to park up in a congested area of Warsaw – as you do.
The new Kuga can be bought for £20,845 in entry-level Zetec trim, and the Titanium model is priced from £24,245. The ST-Line model is on sale from £25,845, while the more luxury oriented Kuga Vignale comes in at £30,745.
The new Kuga is an affordable car. It comes well equipped and has enough space for a family of four. The Kuga is comfortable and makes mincemeat out of long trips. The hours I spent travelling from Warsaw to Vilnius would be grueling for any car, but the new Kuga coped well, and, more importantly I did, too. Everything in the car is simple to use, and there are lots of handy storage compartments for things, such as cash for toll booths, and cup-holders for bottles of much needed water and mugs of coffee.
The boot is also a good, square size, and you can load things in easily due to the low load lip. While the new Kuga isn’t as refined as some in terms of engine noise, wind and tyre roar is suppressed well. The car is also a doddle to park, with or without parking aids – and visibility is very good. All in all, the new Ford Kuga offers good value for money. It’s certainly worth buying or leasing if you need a main car that isn’t too big, yet is large enough to cope with a family of four. In four-wheel-drive guise it also turns into a useful tool for the winter – something many parents, like me, will find invaluable on frosty, rural, school-runs.
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Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Handsome √
- Comfortable √
- Kit √
- Space √
- Noisy engine X
Fast Facts (ST-Line 1.5T Eco 182PS AWD Auto – as tested)
- Max speed: 124 mph
- 0-62 mph: 10.1 secs
- Combined mpg: 38.2
- Engine layout: 1498cc 4-cylinder turbo petrol
- Max. power (PS): 182
- CO2: 171 g/km
- Price: £30,180