It remains a fantastic product
I am going to start this review by getting the obvious out of the way. We are all aware of the issue with the 1,6-litre Kugas. We are also aware of how badly the whole ordeal was handled by Ford. But it is time to move forward. Phase One of the Kuga recall is almost 93% completed and according to Dr Casper Kruger, new MD of Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, Ford will do whatever it takes to track down the remaining 7%.” He assures us that Ford is doing whatever it can to rebuild the trust it lost. Ford is doing what it should have done in the first place and sorting the issues out. So, the fire jokes can now stop.
This is the new Ford Kuga and there is no 1,6-litre engine on offer so there is no need for any fear.
Even with this whole debacle, Ford’s sales have remained impressive. The Mustang leads the sports car category selling between 80 and 90 a month, the Ranger ended the first half of this year as South Africa’s best selling vehicle, the EcoSport tops the compact SUV segment and the 1,0 EcoBoost engine has won the International Engine of the Year for the 6th year running. I’d say that this proves that customers still hold faith in this brand.
The compact SUV segment is a popular one with some stiff competition, think Hyundai Tucson, Toyota Rav4, Mazda CX-5 and Volkswagen Tiguan. Even with all the negative publicity, the Ford Kuga is one such model I have continued to recommend. It is an excellent product and so continues to be with this next generation.
This new Kuga features Ford’s latest design language with its large upper trapezoidal grille and a smaller lower grille flanked by new headlamps and fog lamps. The rear light clusters have been redesigned and the newly designed tailgate with twin exhausts adds to the athletic stance of the new Kuga. You can also opt for a range of optional alloy wheel designs.
The new Kuga boasts up to 1 603-litres of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. Standard spec remains good and it now features Ford’s impressive SYNC3 which comes standard on the Trend and Titanium derivatives. SYNC3 with Navigation is optional across the range. As before, three specification levels are available; the entry-level Ambiente, the mid-range Trend and the range-topping Titanium. The upgrades are minimal but noticeable enough that it makes an impact.
You will have a choice of two petrol engines, namely the 1,5-litre and the 2,0-litre EcoBoost units. You can also opt for a 2,0-litre TDCi turbodiesel engine. And depending on the model you can opt for front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and manual or automatic transmissions. If you the choices overwhelm you, let me guide you; take the 1,5-litre EcoBoost Trend Auto for a spin. You will not be disappointed. With 132 kW of power and 240 N.m of torque, you will enjoy city driving as well as hitting the open road. The six-speed auto doesn’t spend too much time hunting for gears and gives you quick-enough grunt when you need it for those over taking maneuvers.
If you are still concerned about your safety in a Kuga, you needn’t be. It has a five-star safety rating with a total of seven airbags, ABS with Electronic Stability Programme, hill launch assist and rollover mitigation. You can also opt for the Driver Assistance Pack available on the Trend and Titanium models. This pack includes Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System (BLIS), Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Aid, as well as Advanced Active Park Assist.
The new Kuga now offers Perpendicular Parking functionality, in addition to the semi-autonomous Active Park Assist technology. Using additional ultrasonic sensors, Perpendicular Parking at the push of a button enables drivers to locate parking spaces alongside other cars as well as parallel to the road, and steers the vehicle into them while the driver controls the accelerator and brake.
It will take time for the public to trust in a Kuga again, or at least stop making inappropriate fire comments every time one is mentioned in the media, but what should be seen now is Ford righting its wrongs. If there was ever a time to buy a Kuga, now is it. You will be treated like royalty by a manufacturer willing to lay out the red carpet for all its customers. Add the fact that you have a great product in the Kuga, you really can’t go wrong opting for one. Especially when it comes in cheaper than the outgoing model.
It’s a bit like a remorseful cheating partner, you can’t guarantee they won’t do it again, but if you give them another chance you know they will do whatever it takes to make it up to you…you hold the power!
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente 6MT FWD R368 800
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente 6AT FWD R381 900
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Trend 6MT FWD R406 400
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Trend 6AT FWD R427 900
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Trend 6AT AWD R483 900
Ford Kuga 2.0 EcoBoost Titanium 6AT AWD R497 900
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium 6AT AWD R506 900