Reviews

In This Tough Economic Climate a Kuga Makes Sense

We test the new Ford Kuga

Let’s start off with the name, Kuga, which oddly enough got the team into an argument. Some loved it while others thought it was odd, I fall into the former category. I think it is a pretty cool name for a car and with the rise in fuel prices I probably need a Kuga too.

When we posted on our Instagram page that we would be driving the Ford Kuga there were mixed reactions, with many people joking about how we should take fire extinguishers along for each drive and others genuinely concerned. The concern relates to the Kuga’s infamous “all up in smoke” reputation.  So when we received this facelifted Ford Kuga we did our research. In nutshell what we learned was that it was the 1.6 Eco-Boost engine that kept things lit and the others did not have this problem.

With the introduction of the facelifted Kuga the 1.6 Eco-boost engine was dropped entirely. This means that everyone buying this new facelift version will not have to worry about the fire issue.  Anyone that knows MzansiRides will know that this is not enough for us. What is really important was knowing what happens to the people that already own one. We were relieved to learn that 90% of the affected cars have received the phase one upgrade which mainly entails an engine-management software upgrade.

Its important to note that Ford is not the only motoring company to be faced by such trouble. They may have not reacted as quickly as we would have liked but they did react and an attempt to remedy the situation is evident. With the steps taken by Ford it appears that the Kuga won’t be showing us flames anymore. Lets give the Kuga a second chance.

The updated Kuga looks like it has taken a shot of testosterone it looks more muscular than feminine, a look which is welcomed by us. It allows for male customers to be able to purchase it without feeling like they are driving around a mommy van, which is what the vehicles in this segment often look like.  So dude here is one that won’t make you lose your macho points and you can still fit the whole family in it. The Kuga certainly works as car for a young family that is starting out and requires the additional space and all the benefits an SUV has to offer but still having a cool car which is still stylish and you can still drive to your local boys’ club and the following weekend the Mrs can drive it on her girls’ night out and feel 21 again. Then the following weekend the whole family can drive happily and comfortably to grannies’.

No Parking? No problem .

While I have liked most of the latest offerings from Ford, none of their cars have had an interior that blows me away.  The interiors have been satisfactory, not great, not bad, just ok. I have also had questions with the quality of the materials. With regards to quality of interior materials I am quite happy nothing really feels like it will be worn out before the car has its third service.  The facia has an impressive look and when entering the car for the first time you’re left with the “wow” effect. A mixture of illuminating colours make it look ultra-modern.  We don’t think Ford managed to get the balance between elegant and “cool” quite right though. The interior is more on the “cool” side. We would have preferred a more classy grown-up interior for this car.

The test car was located in Gauteng where my colleague had been doing most of the primary tests. I flew in to OR Tambo Airport where he picked me up with the Kuga and as I sat down in it I quickly realised that the seats were way more comfortable than those of a R500m aircraft. So if you want to get there fast get an airplane ticket, if you want to get there in comfort get a Kuga.  The Kuga also features the awesome Ford Sync 3 which allows you to connect your mobile device and operate it directly from the touch screen of your Kuga using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

While we don’t think they reached the perfect balance between elegance and funkiness on the facia. Ford has managed to get the perfect balance between sporty and comfortable. The ride on the Kuga is very comfortable yet still firm. You can take bends it reasonable speeds and not feel like the car is about to tip over. This really did make for some fun driving, leading one to forget that they’re in an SUV. The drive is really enjoyable put it in sport and use the paddle shift and it will surprise you, it is quite engaging but don’t get carried away it is still an SUV with sizeable ground clearance. Our test unit did feature all-wheel drive. This is not the sort of car that one goes bundu-bashing with but on that odd muddy day the all-wheel drive system will not disappoint you.

The test car also had a 2l turbocharged diesel engine with 132kw of power and 400nm of torque. This allowed us to take the Kuga from stand still to 100km/h in just under 10 seconds. With the increasing prices of fuel, fuel consumption is really important and we managed an average of 6.6l/100km in mixed city and highway driving. See why i said i probably need a Kuga in the first paragraph?

The Kuga has ABS, ESP and a reverse camera among many other standard features. Our test car also came with an optional pack which added parking assist and lane assist which were really awesome and you definitely want to tick this box.

With the prices of cars constantly going up you will find comfort in knowing that the pricing of the Ford Kuga has been readjusted to be more affordable so you get even more value for your money. Should you buy one of these? Ford has readjusted the pricing to be more affordable, in what we believe is an apology, accept their apology and score a great deal for yourself with this really fantastic and capable SUV.

 

Marcus Phathwa

(Marcus@MzansiRides.com)

 

Pricing

Kuga 1.5T Ambiente MT                                R373 300

Kuga 1.5T Ambiente AT                                 R390 700

Kuga 1.5T Trend MT                                      R415 200

Kuga 1.5T Trend AT                                       R437 100

Kuga 2.0TDCI AWD Trend AT                       R493 400

Kuga 2.0TDCI AWD Titanium AT                   R516 600

Kuga 2.0T AWD Titanium AT                          R508 100

 

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