Ford Kuga

Ford Kuga 2.0TDCi Review

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?

Ford Kuga
The interior of the Ford Kuga

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.

Ford Kuga
The Ford Kuga makes a stylish and comfortable family SUV and it's great to drive

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!

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: Ford Kuga Vignale 2.0TDCi
Price: 
€43,385 (Range from €33,395)
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel
Power: 
150hp
Torque: 370Nm
0-100km/h:  
10.1 seconds
Top speed: 194km/h
Economy: 
4.7/100km
CO2 emissions:  
122g/km
Motor tax: 
€270 per year

Visit www.ford.ie for more information on new Kuga.


Ford Kuga Puts Sport in SUV

Car Review: Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi (140PS) Titanium S

Compact SUVs are highly fashionable means of transport. The emphasis tends to be more on the sport side of S-U-V than utility but the four wheel drive Ford Kuga I drove had sportiness and utility.

However, the body kit that came standard on my top of the range Titanium S trim car meant that I stayed firmly on tarmac during my test drive!

So how would I rate the Kuga?

Design

The new Kuga is bigger than the one it replaces and it’s one of the best looking SUVs in this class with a genuinely sporty look to it and the sort of presence that will scare the daylights out of supermini drivers. I had the Titanium S model to test and it seriously ranks up the bling with a body kit and 19” inch wheels. The good news is that lesser specced cars look just as good from the outside.

Ford Kuga Review
Ford Kuga: Enough presence to scare the daylights out of supermini drivers

I may have had a few grievances about the interior of the Fiesta and the Focus but the smartly finished cabin with lots of gloss black and an upgraded stereo make Ford’s busy centre console design much more palatable in the Kuga. There is a real feeling of quality to the cabin and once you close the door it’s instantly comforting and homely (if that’s possible for a car!). The Titanium S model has beautiful part leather trimmed seats that are brilliantly supportive and oh so comfy.There is lots of storage in the car including a cubby in the centre console, large door pockets all round and a large glovebox. If cupholders are a priority - there are two in the front and two in the back. There are also separate fan controls for rear passengers, so everyone on board is well catered for.

Ford Kuga Review
The cabin is smart with lashings of gloss black adding a sophisticated feel

It’s comfortable to seat five with loads of head and leg room and you can recline the rear seats easily too. The boot volume has been increased by 46 litres compared to the old model, bringing the total volume to 406 litres with a mini-spare wheel included, but a Honda CRV and Mazda CX5 have bigger boots if that is a priority. The boot has a practical square shape and a handy low and flat loading sill. You can add a “hands-free tailgate” as an option which opens the boot with just a gentle kicking motion under the rear bumper with the keys in your pocket.

Ford Kuga Review
The boot has a practical square shape and a low, flat loading sill

Driving

There was a time when you could expect a 4x4 like the Kuga to lumber about and be a bit “agricultural”. But from the minute you press the start button this Kuga will impress – it’s so car-like to drive and it will hunker down on the road for you like a hot hatch. We expect nothing less from our SUVs. I drove the popular 2.0 litre TDCi with 140bhp and from the get-go it was a wonderful match for the Kuga - swift, quiet and refined. This is a mightily impressive car on the road, probably the best handling compact SUV that you will find, but the ride is a little harsher than expected. But with handling so tight, we don’t mind. Like all Fords, the steering is excellent too with loads of feel.

Economy

The model I drove was four wheel drive so it is thirstier and more expensive to tax than the front wheel drive model. The official economy figure is just under 48mpg and I averaged 40mpg while I had the car. Annual road tax costs a hefty €390.

Equipment

Zetec models get 17” alloy wheels, front fog lights, heated windshield, cruise control, daytime running lights, rear spoiler, twin exhausts, alarm, trip computer and leather steering wheel with remote audio controls. Titanium trim adds unique 17” alloys, auto lights and wipers, front scuff plates, dual zone air conditioning, driver’s lumbar support, partial leather seats, Sony radio/CD, Ford SYNC connectivity and premium centre console with sliding armrest. Titanium S trim adds a body kit, 19” wheels, roof rails, rear parking sensors and Active Park Assist.

Verdict

Ford is leveraging their new Kuga as a luxury SUV and I was very impressed with the fit and finish of the car. Out on the road it is equally impressive, more like a hatchback than a big, lumbering utility vehicle. Buyers of these sorts of vehicles don’t really care for the utility part of S-U-V. They really just want the space and 4x4 attitude. The Kuga scores for its excellent handling and refinement, tough looks and oodles of space.

Model tested: Ford Kuga Titanium S
Price: €43,370 (Kuga range starts at €33,450)

Transmission: 6 speed manual, four wheel drive
Engine: 2.0 litre TDCi, turbo diesel
Power: 140bhp
0-100km/h: 10.7 seconds
Economy: 47.9 mpg (5.9l/100km)
CO2 emissions: 154g/km
Tax band: C (€390 per year)

Caroline Kidd


The Ford Kuga sold well in Ireland in September

Behind The Scenes With The Ford Kuga

Last week I found out what it’s really like to be an SUV driver. I suppose I have a bit of a negative attitude towards SUV drivers and I always expect the worst sort of road behaviour from people who choose to drive soft-roaders.

On Monday I picked up the Ford Kuga to review. It definitely fits into this category well because it is so polished and is thankfully more car-like than agricultural.

It did come fitted with 4WD for some moderate off-roading. I didn’t try it out because the test car was wearing a serious body kit and I wasn’t going to bring it back to Ford missing parts of its armour which inevitably would have happened if we had tried some proper off-roading.

It felt a bit strange at first driving something so high off the ground - and well big - but the Kuga did a really good job of getting me around the place. In short, it’s a car I could live with and that’s probably the highest form of praise I can give a car. A full review will be coming shortly.

I enjoyed being the anti-SUV driver – I didn’t tailgate or bully people in smaller cars. I even let people out of junctions. It was entertaining to see their surprised faces at such generosity from an SUV driver.

But what about me? Did I get bullied? Well despite driving a huge, kick-ass SUV yes I got bullied by, wait for it, an MPV. I know, an MPV.

But then with a surge of power from the 2.0 litre diesel engine and 320Nm of torque I gave it the slip and left it at the bottom of a hill. That was the last I saw of it.

Caroline Kidd