Caroline reviews the Ford Kuga Vignale 2.0TDCi diesel.
The Ford Kuga SUV has been a success story for Ford in Ireland and it’s the brand’s third bestselling model here behind the popular Ford Fiesta and Focus.
The Ford Kuga is an attractively styled mid size SUV that’s been around since 2008. So ten years later the Ford Kuga is well known and now it’s even more popular than Ford’s MPVs like the Ford S-MAX and C-MAX.
With pricing starting from €33,395, the Kuga offers passenger space for five with a generous boot. Engines include the well-proven 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol, and 1.5 and 2.0-litre diesels.
The styling of the car is imposing and the Ford Kuga received a facelift in 2016, principally a new grille and new lights. New trim levels like ST-Line and Vignale were also added, joining Titanium.
What’s special about the Ford Kuga Vignale?
The car I had on test was the Kuga Vignale model with 2.0-litre TDCi diesel. This model retails from €42,385, which is on the pricey side. Ford bill their Vignale range as upscale, premium models. So what do you get over and above Titanium and ST-Line?
There is a special Vignale bodystyling kit that includes a hexagonal grille design and 18” alloys. The headlamps are bi-xenon and the taillights LED. The interior has full leather seats and some more leather interior finishing, while the Sony stereo with nine speakers is excellent.
Refinement is also enhanced with ‘Ford Active Noise Control’, which uses three microphones strategically placed throughout the cabin to monitor engine noise in the interior. Directing opposing sound waves through the audio system cancels out engine noise and improve cabin ambience.
What’s the interior like?
The interior of the Ford Kuga Vignale is mixed with some more soft touch materials among harder plastics so it lacks a cohesive premium finish. It’s competitive among other family favourites like the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, but it’s not as convincing when you move up into the more expensive models like Vignale. Infotainment is provided via the 8” Sync 3 infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The rear bench in the Kuga is a generous size and legroom is decent too, but the huge boot is a real boon for families. The square shape and low loading sill makes it easy to load.
Titanium models are the entry into the Kuga range and include 8” touchscreen with Sync 3, 17” alloys, partial leather trim, keyless entry and dual zone climate control. The ST-Line retails from €36,195 and has sportier styling, 18” alloys, Active Park Assist, and sports suspension.
The Ford Kuga is awesome to drive
On the road the Ford Kuga is a great drive for an SUV of its size. It hunkers down on the road well with not too much body roll in the corners and handles more like a hatchback. My car had a 6 speed manual mated to a 2.0 litre diesel with 150hp but the manual was not too laborious to drive. Automatics are also available as is four wheel drive.
The engine has plenty of power and torque but there is also a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel with 120hp and 1.5-litre petrol with 150hp for more urban drivers. My fuel consumption over a week of driving was about 6.7l/100kms but the 1.5-litre diesel has the best claimed efficiency at 4.4l/100km.
To sum up the Ford Kuga: this is a great family SUV that’s spacious, comfortable with plenty of kerb appeal. I’m not convinced that the Vignale trim adds much to the Ford Kuga except a hefty list price. Grab yourself a Kuga Titanium or ST-Line and you will have a fine family SUV!
Model tested: Ford Kuga Vignale 2.0TDCi
Price: €43,385 (Range from €33,395)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
0-100km/h: 10.1 seconds
Top speed: 194km/h
CO2 emissions: 122g/km
Motor tax: €270 per year
Visit www.ford.ie for more information on new Kuga.