Ford’s new Kuga sim­ply street­wise

The new Ford Kuga has come out look­ing sportier, bolder and more fuel ef­fi­cient since its re­cent launch by Ford

Daily Dispatch - - Weekender - MBALI TANANA [email protected]­

The new 2018 Ford Kuga has come out look­ing sportier, bolder and more fuel ef­fi­cient since its launch in South Africa ear­lier this year.

And build­ing on the so­phis­ti­cated ap­peal of this model is the new ST-Line for the pow­er­ful 2.0-litre EcoBoost and TDCi mod­els.

The Kuga range has also gained an ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive all-new of­fer­ing in the fru­gal yet punchy 88kW 1.5 TDCi tur­bod­iese­lengined mod­els, avail­able in Am­bi­ente and Trend spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els matched to a sixspeed man­ual gear­box.

Gen­eral man­ager for mar­ket­ing at Ford Mo­tor Com­pany SA Doreen Mashinini the Ford said: "The new Ford Kuga is an ex­cep­tional of­fer­ing in the highly com­pet­i­tive SUV seg­ment, and we've now made it even more ap­peal­ing to buy­ers across the spec­trum. The Kuga ST-Line de­liv­ers a bold de­sign that mir­rors its ath­letic char­ac­ter. It stands out from the rest of the range thanks to the high-gloss ebony black fin­ish for the front grille, along with a strik­ing hon­ey­comb de­sign for the lower por­tion of the grille and match­ing sports mesh fin­ish on the fog lamp bezels," she said.

A few days spent test driv­ing the Ti­ta­nium model re­cently - a six-speed au­to­matic with a 2.0l EcoBoost en­gine boast­ing all wheel-drive – left quite an im­pres­sion.

The Ti­ta­nium model’s good looks – high­lighted by a thick chrome grille – as well as a pow­er­ful Sony sound sys­tem and mas­sive boot space which can be ex­tended by fold­ing over the rear seats – has all the qual­i­ties to en­joy long road trips with fam­ily and friends.

De­spite the pow­er­ful en­gine ca­pac­ity boast­ing kW177/Nm340, the Kuga is a car you sim­ply want to cruise in, whether you’re a soc­cer mom driv­ing the kids around or a pro­fes­sional driv­ing for work and plea­sure. I was happy to en­joy my time with the win­dows down, el­bows out, cruis­ing along.

Yes the car is as big in­side as it looks from the out­side, with loads of leg room. The soft leather seats are also a win­ner in this de­riv­a­tive. The heat­able front seats would also come in very handy to keep the chills at bay.

I was im­pressed by the safety fea­tures – sen­sors front and rear as well as blind spot fea­tures which are trig­gered by mo­tion from ei­ther side. I was fas­ci­nated with the “Driver Fa­tigue” sen­sor which caught me off-guard dur­ing a long drive, which sug­gested I should take a break and maybe get a cup of cof­fee.

A ‘lane keep­ing as­sist’ func­tion vi­brates on the steer­ing wheel when the driver crosses over lanes, and was, for me, an­other unique sell­ing point. The nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem was also ac­ti­vated with ease and can be ac­ti­vated by voice prompt.

The con­sole boasts great ac­cess to the touch screen, which is fit­ted into the dash with a few key but­tons for ease of ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity. And the three-zone cli­mate control sys­tem al­lows multi-pas­sen­gers to be com­fort­able.

Did I men­tion it drives like a boss? With a smooth four-cylin­der turbo petrol en­gine the Kuga makes for a great drive, amaz­ing han­dling and ex­cep­tional cor­ner­ing, and priced from R518,500 this de­riv­a­tive seems like great value for money.

The great­est joy for my six-year-old daugh­ter was by far the rear trays mounted be­hind the front seats where she en­joyed plac­ing her tablet dur­ing rides to and from school.

Very aware of mom's golden rule – no eat­ing in the car – she of­ten ar­gued that the trays were there for meals.

Yes the car is as big in­side as it looks from the out­side, with loads of leg room

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