Last year Justin had the opportunity to drive Ford’s Kuga and was certainly impressed with its versatility and driving dynamics. Now it’s my turn to take the new Kuga for a week-long test. Ford offers the Kuga to Irish motorists in both front-wheel and all-wheel-drive formats, both are powered by a 2.0-litre TDCi turbo-charged diesel engine, with two power outputs available. The entry-level 140hp front-wheel-drive variant is priced from €33,450. Our test car was the high-spec Titanium model with 140hp and four-wheel-drive (priced from €40,200).
There are just two trim specifications available, Zetec and Titanium, both offer a generous level of equipment as standard. Just some of the Zetec’s kit includes, 17” alloy wheels, front fog lights, a heated windscreen, daytime running lights, cruise control and a Thatcham alarm. The Titanium Kuga benefits from automatic headlights and wipers, front scuff plates, dual zone air conditioning, partial leather upholstery, Ford SYNC connectivity and a Sony radio/CD unit. The interior of the Kuga has a similar architecture to the latest Fiesta and Focus, it houses all the key controls in the centre of the dashboard.
On the move the Kuga impresses with a smooth ride, it takes undulations in the road with ease. The seats are both supportive and comfortable, travelling long journeys in the Kuga is a pleasure. The steering is accurate and the chassis competent across all surfaces. We ventured off-road in our test car where the Kuga was reassuring in the mud, despite running on road tyres. The gear lever is mounted high and close to the steering wheel which makes for effortless gear shifts. The 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine has plenty of power (140hp) for the vast majority of drives. If you require more power, there is a 163hp variant available.
The Kuga is a practical SUV, with this new model gaining an additional 46 litres more luggage space than its predecessor. Customers can opt to have Ford’s hands-free tailgate on their Kuga. This enables you to open or close the tailgate simply by a kicking motion beneath the rear bumper.
This new Kuga is a very polished vehicle and will rightly challenge the likes of the Mazda CX-5 and the Kia Sportage for sales.
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