The Kuga uses the same architecture as the new Focus and C-MAX, although it has a higher ride-height and the wheelbase and track have been increased.
There was some talk of a FWD version in some markets but for the UK, the Kuga has a Haldex Intelligent AWD system - the uncomplicated type that goes about its business but is nonetheless, very capable.
It takes 10.7seconds to complete the 0-62mph dash and the top speed is 112mph. The performance is impressive and it feels as if there is a much larger engine under the bonnet as a scrunch of the toes, in almost any gear, produces a satisfying surge of power. Even in 6th gear, motorway overtakes do not require a downchange, while around town the low-down torque makes light work of slow-moving, stop/start traffic conditions. This is one of the areas that sets the Kuga apart from a good many of the others; the other is that in typical Ford style, you always feel comfortable and at home - almost as if the car was made just for you.
The Kuga uses the same architecture as the new Focus and C-MAX, although it has a higher ride-height and the wheelbase and track have been increased. Given its varied capabilities, improvements had to be made to the suspension, braking and anti-roll systems, allowing for car-like driving characteristics and off-road ability. This always results in a compromise of some sort and although the ride is a little on the soft side, the car doesn’t wallow on bends and the steering is positive and nicely weighted so, it would seem that Ford have got it right.
Having a diesel engine under the bonnet means that you get the necessary low-down pulling power, for off-roading or towing, along with good fuel consumption. The Kuga’s figures are 34.9-, 52.3-, and 44.1mpg for the urban, extra-urban and combined respectively, and the exhaust pipes emit 169 g/km CO2.
When it comes to safety, the Kuga went straight in at the top of the charts for the EuroNCAP, small off-road 4x4, group. It was awarded the maximum five stars for Adult Protection, four stars for Child Protection and three for Pedestrian protection. The 5-star rating is due in part to the structure of the car, in combination with a lexicon of standard safety systems, which include: ABS with EBD, EBA, ESP with Anti-Rollover Mitigation or ARM, TCS traction control and, where a towbar is specified, Trailer Stability Assist (TSA). ISOFIX anchors are on board along with six airbags to provide cushioning should all else fail.
Now I have to be honest, while the Kuga is one of the better crossovers in the bunch, it is not going to set the world on fire. That said, it meets and in some cases exceeds the segment’s demands. There is plenty of storage, under the rear seats as well as up to 1,405-litres in the boot and, to use the vernacular, ‘it goes a bit’. I was most impressed by the engine and performance but, in all, I really couldn’t find fault with the Kuga, and that, even though it sounds negative, is what makes it different to the rest.23 October 2008
Ford Kuga Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Ford Kuga 2.0i TDCi Zetec|
|Colour||Panther Black Metallic|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||10.7 Seconds|
|Top Speed||112 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||52.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||5|
|Warranty||3-Year / 60,000 Miles|
|Price (when tested on the 23/10/08)||£20,900|