Ford Kuga one of best SUV’s

SUV’s rarely go off road so manufacturers have started to concentrate on the appeal of an SUV from it’s versatility standpoint rather than its outright off-road ability.

SUV’s rarely go off road so manufacturers have started to concentrate on the appeal of an SUV from it’s versatility standpoint rather than its outright off-road ability.

That has been reflected in how SUV.s are changing and the Ford Kuga also follows this trend becoming more versatile while further simplifying its off-road usefulness.

The All Wheel Drive version of the Kuga features “intelligent” 4-wheel drive which quite simply activates automatically when slippy conditions are sensed, requiring no input from the driver.

There are two versions in Trend and Titanium specification and either 2WD or 4WD both powered by the same 2.0 Tdci.

This week I am road testing the AWD Titanium model

Stylish, trendy and contemporary looking best describes the Kuga. It really looks very well indeed and is more distinctive than many of its rivals. Ford like to call this styling theme “Kinetic” design and it works.

The cabin is equally impressive with clear logically laid out instruments, clever use of aluminium style trim on the centre console and other areas, and high quality materials evident throughout.

The high driving position gives an excellent view of the road ahead while the level of standard equipment is very good. As well as the usual electrics we have come to expect the new Kuga features ESP (Electronic Stability Programme) ARM (Anti Rollover Mitigation) ABS with EBD, multiple airbags, keyless start via the Ford “power” button, a very good CD with MP3 /Aux input for your iPod, alloy wheels, multifunction steering wheel and in the Titanium version tested, half-leather trim, roof rails and metallic paint.

There is just one engine available and what a good one it is! Power comes from a 2.0 litre turbo diesel which is mated to a slick 6-speed manual gearbox.

Power output is a healthy 143PS launching the new Kuga from a standstill to 100km/h in about 10 seconds. Mid range acceleration is excellent with loads of torque available from this rather good diesel unit. It is economical too burning just 7.4 litres of diesel per 100km.

The Kuga is nicely set up with a decent level of ride comfort and solid safe handling.

There is a little bodyroll in tighter corners but not unduly so.

The AWD system kicks in virtually unnoticed when for example pulling away on a gravel surface. I did not get to go off-road but my guess is that it is capable of light use in the mucky stuff.

Ford have kept it simple here, 2WD or 4WD in Trend or Titanium with one 2.0 TDCi engine. Prices start at €33,450 which is very competitive.

The Kuga is a competent, stylish crossover SUV. The Kuga impresses in all areas!