Evo­lu­tion lets Ford get to grips with the fam­ily

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - ROAD TEST -

THE Ford Kuga has evolved in sec­ond gen­er­a­tion form into a larger, more prac­ti­cal and more ef­fi­cient propo­si­tion that’ll be equally at­trac­tive to Qashqai-like Cross­over and RAV4-style soft road­ing SUV buy­ers.

The sin­gle five-seat bodystyle is now prop­erly fam­ily-sized and gets some clever tech­nol­ogy that seg­ment buy­ers will like. In other words, if you’re shop­ping in this sec­tor, here’s a car you have to con­sider.

Un­der the bon­net lie a cou­ple of torquey 2.0-litre TDCi Du­ra­torq diesels, de­vel­op­ing ei­ther 140 or 163PS. Which­ever one you se­lect, there’s the op­tion of ei­ther two or four-wheel drive and a six-speed man­ual gear­box or a twin­clutch Pow­ershift auto trans­mis­sion.

The al­ter­na­tive route for UK buy­ers is petrol power, with the avail­abil­ity in this MK2 model of a cou­ple of 1.6-litre EcoBoost en­gines of­fer­ing 150PS with man­ual trans­mis­sion or 180PS as an au­to­matic.

Though this sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Kuga de­sign shares many of the aes­thetic cues that char­ac­terised its pre­de­ces­sor – the head­lights for ex­am­ple and the ris­ing belt line – it’s also very much its own car – and very much larger too, 81mm longer than the orig­i­nal.

Since this Kuga tar­gets both Qashqai-like Cross­over mod­els and RAV4-style soft road­ing SUVs, you’d ex­pect it to be priced some­where be­tween th­ese two mar­ket seg­ments – which is pretty much how it turns out.

The range is pitched be­tween £21,000 and £30,000, with the bot­tom end of that spec­trum buy­ing you the en­trylevel 1.6T EcoBoost 150PS petrol unit.

Most Kuga cus­tomers though, will want diesel power. Go­ing for the 2.0 TDCi 140PS engine gives you more op­tions and only costs £1,000 more than the base­line petrol al­ter­na­tive.

Prices start at around £22,000 and from here, you can choose to find £1,500 more for au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. And/or £1,500 more to go from front to four-wheel drive.

Mak­ing a car big­ger is not usu­ally a recipe for im­prov­ing its on-road dy­nam­ics.

Quite the re­verse in fact. Which might be a cause for con­cern if the rea­son you chose the first gen­er­a­tion ver­sion of this car was the way it felt al­most as sharp as a Fo­cus to drive. But loyal Kuga cus­tomers needn’t fret. This ver­sion might not have quite the same “chuck­a­bil­ity”, but it’s still a class-lead­ing driver’s car.

Like many of Ford’s lat­est mod­els, this one gets two clever sys­tems – torque vec­tor­ing con­trol and en­hanced dy­namic cor­ner­ing con­trol – both de­signed to help get its power onto the tar­mac more ef­fec­tively, some­thing you no­tice when turn­ing hard through a tight bend, a time when you also note the feel­some na­ture of the elec­tric power steer­ing.

And a time where you’ll also be­gin to ap­pre­ci­ate the tar­mac ben­e­fits of the “in­tel­li­gent all­wheel-drive” sys­tem was de­vel­oped for this sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Kuga.

Un­der the bon­net lie a cou­ple of torquey 2.0-litre TDCi Du­ra­torq diesels, de­vel­op­ing ei­ther 140 or 163PS. Which­ever one you se­lect, there’s the op­tion of ei­ther two or four-wheel drive and a six-speed man­ual gear­box or a twin­clutch Pow­ershift auto trans­mis­sion.

The al­ter­na­tive route is petrol power, with the avail­abil­ity in this MK2 model of a cou­ple of 1.6-litre EcoBoost en­gines of­fer­ing 150PS with man­ual trans­mis­sion or 180PS as an au­to­matic.

AT­TRAC­TIVE: The Kuga has be­come more prac­ti­cal as well as more ef­fi­cient.

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