Ford’s mid-sized SUV gets a new look, new trim levels, improved efficiency, SYNC3 infotainment and more driver aids
The second-generation of the Ford Kuga has been with us for the past three years and the time has come for Ford to revitalise its mid-sized SUV with a facelift.
It gets new looks, cleaner engines, Ford’s latest SYNC 3 infotainment systems and more driver aids.
Ford has bolted on a more purposeful front end, which is similar to the Edge large-SUV. Its trapezoidal grille is bigger than before while the headlights are redesigned and are larger.
At the rear, there’s a resigned tailgate, while the taillights have been shortened, giving them a squatter appearance.
Inside, the main changes to the dash are around the infotainment system, which has been redesigned to incorporate the larger 8.0in screen for SYNC 3. There’s a minor redesign of the ventilation and heating controls and an electronic handbrake replaces the manual lever version, freeing up spaces for additional cupholders.
It’s available in four trim levels; Zetec, Titanium, ST-Line and Vignale, and with a choice of three petrol and three diesel engines.
Each petrol gets a 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine. The lesser powered 118bhp and 148bhp come with front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual gearbox. Each returns 44.8mpg on a combined cycle and emit 145g/km of CO2.
The high-powered petrol develops 180bhp and gets all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic gearbox. It returns 37.7mpg on a combined cycle and emits 173g/km of CO2.
On the diesel front, there’s an entry-level 1.5-litre TDCi that develops 118bhp, is front-wheel drive and gets a six-speed manual gearbox, offering 64.2mpg on a combined cycle and emits 115g/km of CO2. It’s 5% more efficient than in the previous model. A six-speed automatic is available with its figures slightly worsening to 58.5mpg and 124g/km for economy and CO2 emissions, respectively.
In the middle of the pack is a 2.0-litre TDCi that develops 148bhp. It can be specified with either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox as well as front or four-wheel drive. Its economy figures range from 54.3-60.1mpg and emission from 122-135g/km of CO2.
A range-topping 2.0-litre TDCi develops 178bhp, gets four-wheel drive and is available with either a six-speed manual or automatic gearbox. It’ll return 54.3mpg and emit 135g/km of CO2 in the manual and 134g/km in the automatic.
All Kuga’s get torque vectoring for adding traction and stability, cruise control, while automatic versions get steering wheel-mounted paddle shift controls.
New to the range is the ST-Line, which has recently been added to the Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo. It gets a sporty bodykit, unique alloys, sports seats and improved driving dynamics through optimised suspension and steering, which reduces body roll and improves handling.
Following the lead from Ford’s high-end models; the S-Max, Galaxy, Mondeo and Edge, the Kuga is the latest to get the Vignale treatment. Vignale is Ford’s upmarket moniker and the Kuga Vignale gets unique paint, revised styling and hexagonal-quilted Windsor leather on the seats and doors.
The Kuga is available with a leather steering wheel, a hands-free opening tailgate, perpendicular parking assist, active city crash avoidance, adaptive front lights and cross traffic alert for when reversing out of a parking space.
Ford’s latest SYNC 3 is a faster and simplified version of the previous version, with more functions and a larger 8.0in touchscreen. The screen has a pinch and gesture function and can be operated by voice command. Voice request such as “I need petrol” or “I need a coffee” can be understood and director to you to the nearest option. It also features Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto, and uses Google Maps and search engine.
A clever feature is the MyKey function. It allows owners to programme the car for younger drivers, so incoming calls can be stopped, a top speed can be implemented while driver assist functions cannot be turned off.
The new Kuga is on sale now, with the first customer deliveries expected in December 2017. Prices start from £20,845 rising to £31,195, while the Vignale range kicks off at £30,795 and rises to £34,445.