What is it? Ford’s urban warrior, the Kuga is one of the most stylish crossovers around. Pronounced K-U-G-A, not Cougar, crossovers may share some of the macho styling of the old fuel guzzling 4x4s but underneath they are much more car like than their beefy exterior hints at. Think of the Ford Kuga as a jacked-up Focus!
Who is it aimed at? This is a family car and while it is not huge by any means it certainly provides enough space for the average family.
Styling? With aggressive yet sporty looks the Kuga is an all round good looking car.
Under the Bonnet? We drove the top of the line Ford Kuga Titanium model, which came equipped with a 2.0L diesel engine. This lively engine produces a healthy 103kW (140bhp) and pumps out 320 Nms of pure pulling power.
What’s it like inside?
Inside the interior is equally as stylish as the exterior. While not the most opulent or luxurious interior we have encountered it is comfortable, easy to use and everything is within easy reach. There is plenty of room throughout for five people but passengers in the back don’t fare quite as well for head and legroom as provided by some of the Kuga’s rivals. Boot space is not large at 330 litres, but it has a convenient 60/40 partitioned rear seat and with seats folded forward, space increases to a generous 1355 litres. Particularly useful is the twin opening of the tailgate, the window can be opened making it ideal for small loads or the whole door can be raised for storing larger items.
On the Road? Behind the wheel there is a good commanding driving position thanks to the high seating position and the handling is excellent. The steering is well weighted and direct while grip is reassuringly good. The six speed manual gearbox is slick and responsive. Road or wind noise is barely audible and no amount of bumps or potholes will unsettle it. The Kuga is comfortable and composed whatever the surface and if you fancy venturing off road optional four wheel drive is available.
And Safety? The Ford Kuga comes with a five-star NCAP safety rating and has six airbags. In addition Ford’s intelligent protection system uses a host of sophisticated technology designed to help prevent accidents but in the case of one to minimize injury. That’s more than enough to keep you safe on your way.
Options? There are two trim levels; the entry level Zetec and the range topping Titanium. Standard equipment levels are good so the best value is to be found in the less expensive Zetec version.
How about Fuel Economy? The 2.0 diesel engine offers good fuel economy. The Kuga returns 5.9 litres per 100 km on a combined cycle and CO2 levels of 154g/km means it qualifies for Band C for motor tax so it comes with an annual bill of €330.
Okay so the verdict? There is a lot to like about the Kuga, it is stylish, smartly sized, spacious, drives really well and doesn’t cost the earth to run. In essence it combines good performance with the practical aspects every family wants. The only real downside is that there is an all new Kuga arriving on our shores in the first half of next year which promises to be even better.
Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0TDI 110BHP 2WD €30,730
Toyota Rav4 (4×2) 2.2. D-4D Sol €34,180
BMW X1 sDrive20d SE €37,260
Why you’ll buy one? Handling, Performance; Comfortable ride
Why you won’t? Less space than similarly sized rivals; Successor arriving soon
Ford Titanium 5 Dr 2.0TDCI 140PS 6 Speed FWD
Engine: 1,997cc TDCi diesel Duratorq engine putting out 103kW(140bhp) and 320Nm of torque between 1750-2750 rpm
Max speed: 186 km/h
0-100km/h: 10.1 seconds
Emissions (motor tax): 154 g/km (€330)
Starting price: €30,631
Model price range: €30,631 – €40, 465 (Test car €32,881)
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP – Occupant 5
Euro NCAP – Child 4
Euro NCAP – Pedestrian 3
Euro NCAP – Overall 5
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 5.9 litres per 100km
Boot Capacity Seats up (seats down): 360 (1355) litres
Car Seats: Two ISOFix points in the back, both simple to use
29th August, 2012