Ford Kuga 2.0T AWD ST Line review

Ford has been both generous and clever with the Kuga ST line. They offer the driver a responsive fun car to drive with sporty looks and fairly sporty performance and then add dollops of luxury items as standard for a very fair price.

It is both a luxury mid-size SUV and a sporty feeling car at the same time. And very good value for money in its segment.

I really enjoyed driving the ST Line ( note: not ST) Kuga and could live very happily with it even though it is not terribly economical in turbo petrol guise although Ford claims 8.7L/100km. I think most users will average around 10L/100km, although the diesel will be lighter.

Ford Kuga 2.0T AWD ST Line

The ST Line badging implies it is not a real ST high performance derivative, but rather has more performance and upgraded suspension than the standard models, a bit like Audi offers the S-Line trim, Mercedes-Benz the AMG Line, and a number of BMW derivatives bear M badges.

The interior is restrained but smart and practical. A very pleasant space to spend time in. The Synch3 infotainment system is one of the best out there. Nothing to fault in that department.

An electric tailgate is now standard on all Kuga derivatives and includes a leg-swing opening function, a feature that allows for hands-free operation of the tailgate (even if the car is locked), as long as the key is in your pocket. The function is activated by swinging your foot under the rear of the car to open the tailgate. The technique needs a little practice, but once mastered its pretty useful.

A nice surprise was the  240-Volt two-pin plug port provided for the rear passengers. Very nifty, I thought.

A reverse camera is standard across the range, so parking is easy. The view from the very comfortable and adjustable driving seat is commanding.

The suspension easily soaks up imperfections in the road and rough surfaces and, on smooth tarmac, the Kuga offers a premium, luxury experience. It drives and feels like a car, albeit higher of the tar.

While the suspension has been tweaked to be firmer for better handling, the engineers have achieved an admirable balance between comfort and sharper handling. Its really very good.

Available in Ambiente, Trend and Titanium specification levels, with 1.5 and 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engines or 2.0 TDCi diesel.

The 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine has power and torque figures of 177 kW and 340 Nm, while the diesel gets 132 kW and 400 Nm with up to 40% less consumption than the petrol.

All Kugas have a four-year or 120 000km warranty.

Pricing is from R403,700 to R576,700. Fortunately they are well equipped, so what you expect is what you get.

The KUGA ST LINE SUV 2.0P 6AT AWD we drove costs R561 300, the diesel is R576 700. The model I like is the KUGA 2.0 TDCI TITANIUM POWERSHIFT 6AT AWD SUV at R530 600.

The Kuga is a good size, not too big, but also not cramped. With the the extensive specification, the above average handling and road holding and the great feel in mind, the Kuga must be on your list if you are looking at a medium sized SUV.

 

 

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Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium AWD

Ford Kuga

Ford Kuga

 Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium AWD

The top-of-the-line Ford Kuga is quite a beastie. Nimble. User friendly. Nice bite from the oil burner. Claws retracted most of the time.

To drive this smaller SUV is to be astounded just how much automotive technology has progressed in recent years. It mollycoddles you from the getgo. But gives you your head as well.

Ford have produced a gem in the Mk 2 Kuga. If it seems like I was impressed with her, you will be right.

Courtesy nightlights point down from the side mirrors.

Courtesy nightlights point down from the side mirrors.

Design

The Kuga looks good. The lines flow and create a harmonious balance. The look grows on you. The dimensions seem optimal for a compact but roomy SUV.

From the silver roof rails to the dual stainless steel exhaust pipes the parts add to the whole.

From a safety point of view the Kuga has it all. Seven airbags, Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Brake Assist (EBA) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD, brilliant lights.

The hands free tailgate is a useful feature. You can open the tailgate by waving your foot under the car at the back. The system is a little difficult to get the hang of though.

Interior

Ford are up there with the best when it comes to the cabin. Fit and finish is top drawer. Premium. The cabin has a pleasant mix of soft and hard, shiny and matt. It is a soothing place.

The car is well equipped and depending on trim level the list of goodies gets longer.

Kuga2_cabin

For example, heated sporty 10 way power adjustable leather front seats grace the Trend models. Rear eats have decent leg room and are also comfortable. Needless to say there are a host of storage bins and cup holders. Also storage under the seats.

In car entertainment includes a Sony audio system with 9 speakers and a 4.2″ TFT colour screen together with the Ford SYNC system with Bluetooth and Voice Control.

Kuga-3-007Driving impressions

The Kuga grips the road with as Ford says all wheel drive ‘Intelligent AWD-System’ with variable torque distribution, electronically controlled.

It rides a healthy 192cm off the floor unladen giving good ground clearance.

Useful touches include hill launch assist, electronic stability programme (ESP) with traction control, cruise control and park assist.

The Duratec diesel is excellent. Power is a generous 120 kW @ 3750 and a very useful torque of 340Nm @ 2000 – 3250.

The Kuga is superb both on- and off-road. Off-road in the context of gravel and jeep tracks. Cornering for a SUV is stunning. Handling and road holding is typically modern Ford, and that’s good.

The top models with the driver package installed can even park themselves. More useful are the lane control, blind spot control, collision warning and cruise control.

Summary

The new Kuga is very good. It is also very good value. We recommend it.

R418 900 as tested. We got to drive the AWD, 2.0  automatic diesel. The range starts with the manual FWD 1.6 Ecoboost Ambiente at R298 900. Its a great little high riding station wagon.

Warranty is 4 years or 120 000km and corrosion warranty of 5 years unlimited. Service plan 5 years or 90 000km. Service intervals are 15 000km.

Ford Kuga 2.0 AWD Trend

Ford Kuga 2.0 AWD Trend

New Ford Kuga for 2013 announced

Ford South Africa has confirmed that the all-new Ford Kuga will be available in 2013 with a 1.6L EcoBoost petrol engine with 6-speed SelectShift automatic transmission and a 2.0L TDCi turbo diesel engine with PowerShift automatic transmission.

Smart technologies like Ford’s voice activated in-car SYNC connectivity system will be available as standard while features such as Active Park Assist will be available as options on certain models.

The global EcoBoost technology also features turbocharging and direct injection so that the EcoBoost engines can rival the power and performance of a larger engine – but at a fraction of the fuel consumption.

The inclusion of a diesel will be welcomed by South African buyers. Ford may have a winner on their hands if it improves on the first Kuga which we tested earlier this year.

Looking at the picture it looks like a good looking car.

Ford Kuga 2.5 AWD Trend review

Ford Kuga 2.5 AWD Trend review

The Ford Kuga is the perfect wheels for the urban warrior and the mom on her taxi runs. It works well in so many ways and on so many levels. There are two models, Trend and Titanium.

I really enjoyed the Kuga for the week that I drove her. Reminded me of  my wife’s Freelander 1, just a much updated feel.

It’s a smooth SUV which does everything effortlessly. It also feels just a bit more spacious than its direct competition. A premium car.

Bad points

The Kuga is not very light on fuel, but having said that I thought consumption was acceptable especially considering the power and performance available. Pity there is no Diesel available yet.

Opening the bonnet is quite a little operation. First you have to disassemble your key. Then you have to try opening the bonnet lock with the tiny metal key that you removed in step 1. After a few fiddles, some choice language, perhaps a few laughs you do eventually get the bonnet open. Do not try this at night, in the rain or wind.

This Ford is a little pricey.

Good points

I discovered the seat warmers on a cold damp Cape winters evening. Lovely stuff. The rest of the interior is just as good. Switches are in the right places, work the right way and look and feel good.

The seats are very comfortable and highly adjustable as is the steering.

A good point of the Kuga is the handling and its road manners. This vehicle is a real pleasure to drive.

The Kuga has a feeling of space augmented by a number of cup holders and storage spaces.

Driving impressions

Volvo’s T5 2.5 5-cylinder turbo petrol engine is a classic bit of engineering. It is called the 5-cylinder 20V Duratec Turbo in Fordspeak. It fits very well into the Kuga scheme of things. It sounds suitably growly, almost like a V6. It pulls amazingly when on full song but is docile when pottering around the parking lot. Produces 147kW @ 6000 and torque of 320Nm @ from 1600 to 4000 rpm. You can feel it.

The power on tap translates into a 0 to 100km/h time of 8.8seconds and a top speed of 205km/h. Ford claims an average fuel consumption of 10.3 litre per 100km. I got around 10.

I loved driving this car. In slightly dodgy conditions it comes into its own with amazing grip, excellent acceleration and stunning handling even though its a tall SUV style car.

Steering is well weighted and accurate. The brakes feel as if they mean business.

It is very difficult to find fault with the on road performance of the Kuga.

Summary

Cost R385 580 as tested. The Titanium model costs R406 850. Special deals are available at many dealers.

Competition includes VW Tiguan R340 000 , Land Rover Freelander 2 R458 995, Kia Sportage R307 995 , Toyota Rav4 R370 000, Audi Q3 R500 000

The Kuga is very competent and a pleasure to drive. An excellent iteration of the SUV niche.

It comes with a 4 yr/120 000km warranty, 3 yr/unlimited km roadside assistance and 4yr/80 000km service plan.