Serious cat purrs along
APPETITES for SUVs don’t look like being satisfied yet and Ford’s new Kuga promises to make the menu choice even harder.
Adding a front-drive entry-level model as well as a diesel to the line-up that made a cameo appearance on its pricelist from February last year, the Kuga goes on sale next month from $27,990 for the petrolpowered front-drive manual — a $11,000 drop to buy into the Ford cat family.
Ford Australia’s David Katic says the price marks the Kuga as a ‘‘serious contender.’’ ‘‘Customers today are chasing value-formoney and the Ford Kuga delivers,’’ he says.
More space within a stronger structure, a diesel engine option and the debut (for a Ford vehicle here) of the Emergency Assistance system are all key points to the Kuga’s appeal. VALUE: The Blue Oval has the entry-level Kuga — the Ambiente front-wheel drive petrol six-speed manual — starting from $27,990, rising to $31,490 if you want the more-powerful all-wheeldrive and a conventional six-speed automatic.
Standard fare includes cloth trim, stop-start and brake energy recovery fuel
Customers today are chasing value-formoney and the Ford Kuga delivers
saving systems, 17in steel wheels, fog lights, a reach’n’rake adjustable leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth phone link, USB and auxiliary inputs for the six-speaker sound system and poweradjustable heated exterior mirrors.
The mid-spec auto-only Trend starts from $36,240 for the AWD petrol-auto, rising to $39,240 for the dual-clutch turbodiesel auto AWD.
For the extra outlay the Trend offers 18in alloy wheels, leather trim additions, power adjustment for the driver’s seat, an auto-dimming centre rearview mirrors, dual-zone climate control with rear vents, automatic headlights and the Sync nine-speaker sound system with digital radio reception.
The Titanium flagship retains the same drivetrain, asking $44,740 for the petrol and $47,740 if you prefer a diesel/dual-clutch drivetrain, adding 19in alloys, a glass sunroof, bi-xenon headlights with LED running and tail-lights, leather trim, front seat heaters, ambient LED interior lighting, power-folding exterior mirrors, the hands-free tailgate, front parking sensors, aircraft-style rear fold-down tables for rear occupants, keyless entry and ignition, satellite navigation and a reversing camera. TECHNOLOGY: The new Kuga claims a 25 per cent lower thirst for petrol (between 6.7 and 8l/100km) by way employing the 1.6-litre EcoBoost direct-injection turbo petrol engine— the entry-level car get’s a 110kW/240Nm tune or the AWD models upgrade to 134kW, still down on the outgoing (but thirstier at 10.6) Kuga’s 147kW/ 320Nm output.
The two-litre turbodieselis largely a carryover engine, producing 120kW and 340Nm with a thirst around 6.3 litres per 100km. DESIGN: Sharper looking than the outgoing car, the new Kuga has the same wheelbase at 2690mm but is 81mm longer, 4mm narrower and 8mm lower — the boffins have given the rear occupants and the load area the benefits of revised packaging to improve rear space.
Cargo space has risen from 360 to 406 litres when the rear seats are occupied, or when folded the volume has gone from 1355 to 1603 litres when only two-up. SAFETY: A structure boasting more than 30 per cent of high and ultra-high strength steel — including the A and B pillars and door sills — has helped get the Kuga five stars from NCAP, as does a front chassis subframe that detachs in severe frontal impacts.
Safety features also include a driver’s knee airbag, dual front, front-side and curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control,roll-over and trail sway control systems. VERDICT: Ford’s return to the medium SUV market has merit — competitive pricing, and drivetrains, a quiet and refined package, improved cabin space and comfort — and should make it on to the shopping lists for those in the market. The segment is crowded but the Kuga has some key safety features in a solid overall package.
The entry-level Ford Kuga SUV has improved cabin space, added safety features and technological advances that should impress buyers