Looking past the negative publicity
LONG-TERM FLEET/ The Motor News team bids farewell to the Ford Kuga long-term test car, writes Lerato Matebese
Once again, the time has come for us to bid farewell to two of our long-term test cars — the Ford Kuga TDCI you see here and the Renault Megane GT.
We have spoken about the fire controversy surrounding the Kuga extensively, so we can firmly park that topic this time around as we look at the merits that still make the model one of the great packages in its segment. Over the past six months that we’ve had the model in our garage it has proved to be a versatile, comfortable and particularly economical vehicle, averaging a consistent consumption figure of 7.7l/100km.
The dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission may not be the slickest in the segment, but it gets the job done and is relatively smooth.
Just as the odometer turned over the 10,000km mark, the vehicle was due for an oil change as is the case with most diesel cars, but alas we did not have sufficient time to book the vehicle in for this exercise as our time with the Kuga had drawn to a close. However, we have it on good account that this will be covered by the model’s standard six-year/90,000km service plan and no cost will be incurred by the owner.
Personally, though, what continues to impress with most Ford products is the level of standard equipment, whether it be safety or technology, and our top tier Kuga model is no exception. All the driver aids such lane keep assist and autonomous braking were put to the test and are extremely useful especially in countering the actions of other distracted drivers, which in the age of smartphones and the like, remains a daily occurrence.
However, the versatility and practicality as a family-oriented vehicle is where the model excels the most. Both my children and their accompanying paraphernalia were swallowed up with relative ease including items such as child seats, a baby stroller, picnic baskets, changes of clothes and all that involves travelling with kids.
I also particularly enjoyed the 240V point located in the rear quarters centre console, which came in handy for charging up my laptop, and you could also use it to plug in a tablet to entertain the kids while on the move, as editor Mark did over the festive season.
The segment in which the Kuga competes is awash with various options and one can argue that it is even oversubscribed, the buyer being truly spoiled for choice in this regard, and one needs to look closely at what each advocate in the segment has to offer at the price.
What we have gleaned from spending time with the Kuga is that it remains one of the best propositions in the segment, a shining beacon for the brand and one of the most complete family vehicles on the market.
Having to bid farewell to a vehicle with such merits will leave the team a little poorer as the vehicle performed exceptionally well.
Its nonchalant, easy-going disposition is what we will miss the most and we can only hope that the buying public will see beyond the negative veneer of its pre-facelift model as it deserves a second look if you are buying in this segment.
WHAT CONTINUES TO IMPRESS IS THE LEVEL OF STANDARD EQUIPMENT, WHETHER IT BE SAFETY OR TECHNOLOGY
The Ford Kuga has proven itself well over six months but it’s reputation is possibly too damaged. Left: The interior is spacious and comfortable and the level of standard equipment is superb.