Ford’s mid-size SUV benefits from more powerful diesel engines and a new petrol motor to fight at the top of its very competitive class
The latest version of the Kuga has proven to be very popular for Ford, and it’s already sold 200,000 of the popular SUV since its release just over 18 months ago. It makes sense then, to follow the philosophy of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” with the latest raft of updates. Subtle mechanical changes aim to freshen up the range, and they’re all designed to keep the Kuga at the top of a class frequented by rivals like the Skoda Yeti, Volkswagen Tiguan and Kia Sportage.
Most of the changes come in the form of power and efficiency tweaks to the engine line-up. As before, two diesel choices and one petrol are available. Ford has ensured the diesel models remain class-leading – after all, they’ve accounted for 95 percent of the Kuga sales so far in 2014. The same diesel 2.0-litre TDCi unit remains in two states of tune. The entry-level model musters 148hp, while the more powerful unit receives a 17 horsepower boost to produce 178hp. Torque is up a generous amount too, a figure of 295lb-ft is quite a jump from the previous 251 – we imagine it’ll be particularly noticeable when it comes to accelerating in-gear at motorway speeds. Despite the gains in power, Ford says the 2.0-litre diesel is now more than nine-per-cent more efficient than before – when the 178hp is specced with an automatic gearbox, CO2 emissions have dropped by 19g/km to 140g/km.
Replacing the old 1.6-litre turbo EcoBoost petrol engine is a new 1.5-litre – the same unit which sees service in the latest Mondeo. It comes in two states of tune; producing either 148 or 180hp. The new unit offers a seven-per-cent gain in efficiency over the old 1.6, while maintaining the same power output. These gains in fuel economy are helped by the new active grille shutters, which close external cooling vents when they are not needed in order to reduce aerodynamic drag – these will be standard on the new Kuga. Automatic start-stop technology (which switches the engine off when the car is at a standstill) also helps here.
Any changes to the looks?
Not as such, no, but there are three new exterior paint colours to choose from. Ruby Red metallic, Magnetic metallic (that’s dark grey, to you and me) and the rather conspicuous Tiger Eye metallic – a bright orange which is unique to the Kuga – have all been added to the range.
All but two versions of the Kuga are fitted with four-wheel drive, the exceptions being the entry level 148hp 1.5 ecoboost and the 148hp 2.0 tdci which drive only the fronts. The latter is also available with four-wheel-drive if you prefer. Choosing front-wheel-drive only usually improves fuel economy noticeably, so if you don’t plan on doing any mild off-roading then that’s where we’d suggest looking. The Kuga’s impressive range of optional technology remains intact. Ford’s Sync voice activation technology is now standard, allowing the driver to bark orders at the radio, which will more than likely be misunderstood. So far half of Kuga owners have purchased their cars with Active Park Assist (which parallel parks for you – handy on tight urban streets) and a third have chosen the rear-view parking camera. Both remain as options, along with Active City Stop, which avoids low speed collisions by performing an emergency braking manoeuvre if it senses an unavoidable object ahead.
When can I have one?
The updated range is available now, and prices remain the same as before.