Ford has the SUV sector covered extremely well with a trio of vehicles, from the mini EcoSport to the American inspired Edge and in the middle, the Kuga one of the most attractive vehicles in class. There is something to be said when it comes to giving a vehicle a name and Kuga is one that has a certain ring to it and it matches perfectly with the SUV which bears this badge.
There seems little of a slow down in this sector as the sales of SUVs display not just in Ireland, but throughout Europe and beyond. There is no doubt that other sectors have lost out to the SUV and it is the versatility that such vehicles offer which marks them for success. Who would have ever thought that many of the top of the line premium brands would ever bring an SUV to market? The simple answer is, they simply had to. I spent a week with a Kuga in ST – Line trim and it was a very rewarding seven days. Right away, I felt at ease behind the wheel, everything seemed just right and the trim level certainly did not disappoint. I still marvel at the current crop of small capacity engines and the Kuga I tested had the 1.5 litre EcoBoost unit with a surprising 176 PS at the command of my right foot and further pleasure came courtesy of a six speed automatic transmission with the added zest of a Sport setting. Performance, while not startling, allows the Kuga to sprint from rest to 100kph (62mph) in 11.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 196kph(122mph), enough performance for most. With all wheel drive (AWD) not only ideal for off road driving, but also builds confidence when road conditions are far from favourable, One aspect which did surprise me was that the emission figure was much higher than I expected at 205g/km.
In the looks department, this Ford gets my vote, highlighted by chunky purposeful styling and the ST-Line rides on 19 inch 5×2 spoke Rock Metallic alloy wheels and they act like a piece of jewellery allowing the Kuga to stand out from its many competitors. My test example was finished in a very attractive paint finish- Ruby Red, which Ford describe as an Exclusive Colour and of course it is an option. In fact my test Kuga came with an array of such options- 10 way power adjust driver’s seat, permitting me to obtain the ideal driving stance, a heated steering wheel, such luxury, a Driver’s Assistance Pack and the Premium Ford SYNC3 DAB Navigation System. Returning to the Assistance Pack, it includes quite an array of goodies, such as Active City Stop, Lane Keeping Aid, Traffic Sign Recognition, Driver Alert, Auto High Beam and Blind Spot Information System. This package from Ford majored on safety and quite rightly so and if I were to choose a Kuga this would be on my shopping list. There is the practical side to this SUV which makes it the ideal choice for a very wide band of customers and one item which I really appreciated was the power assisted tailgate. Behind the wheel, handling is amongst the best in class, in fact it borders on being sporty, aided in no small way by a sports suspension set up. With the Kuga, Ford has created an excellent package and for those who have never sampled the world of the SUV, it is worth taking a look at this member of the extensive Ford family. Finally I must add that ST-Line is only one of the trim levels available.