Review: 2015 Ford Kuga Diesel

Posted by Motorama in Vehicle Reviews

The compact crossover SUV market is taking off with car manufacturers falling over each other to come up with the perfect formula to unseat each other. 

Ford made a big play for throne by launching the Kuga in 2012, and since then has gone from strength to strength with sharper pricing and a more efficient powertrain.

We took the Kuga for a spin to see how it stacked up. 

Initial Impression

Ford’s first foray into the compact SUV market came quite late – but it’s clear that it’s learnt from the successes and failures of competitors in order to create a vehicle that will aim for the jugular where others fail.


For this test, we took the Kuga Trend – the middle child of the range.

From the outside, Ford’s Kinetic Design has created an aggressive stance for the Kuga featuring sleek lines that enhance its on-road presence. Jumping in, Ford has put all their effort into making a cabin that boasts all the creature comforts you would expect, and a few nice extra touches – including DAB+ digital radio and Ford’s SYNC multimedia system.

Driveability

As per the blue oval company’s ‘One Ford’ plan – only selling one model per vehicle segment internationally – the new Ford Kuga came out of the decision to merge the styling with the larger Ford Escape from the US. That means this model is larger than its predecessor and based off the evolved C-Platform that Ford developed for it’s international models.


The last Kuga was based on the same platform that powered the previous generation Focus XR5, and while the current model has moved on from that – it is still spiritually aligned with the Focus on the C-platform. Simply put, the Kuga goes like stink, just like its little brother.

Even in the diesel form tested, turbo lag is barely noticeable from a standstill. The Kuga is smooth away from the line and power delivery will send you hurtling down the road.

On-road manners are particularly refined, the diesel doesn’t produce an awful agricultural clatter – any noise is deadened in the cabin to give a quiet and, above all, smooth ride. Nothing particularly upsets the ride of the Kuga, the set up soaks up any uneven surfaces.

Special mention should go to the speed limiter, which stops power being sent to the engine beyond a set speed, and is a fantastic addition to the cruise controls ¬– a handy back up to stop you from going over the speed limit.

Liveability

For the Kuga to compete in the highly competitive crossover SUV market, it needs to offer value that goes above and beyond keen pricing.


Thanks to Ford holding off on entering the market, it has learned from the mistakes of lesser compact SUVs and produced a refined, premium offering that gives a lot of bang for your buck.

Functionality is the Kuga’s game. Storage is ample, with handy compartments all over the place – the boot will swallow 406 litres, practically quadrupling with the rear seats folded to 1603 litres. Steering is adjustable for tilt and reach, while the electric seats let the driver find their perfect position.

The nifty ‘kick-activated’ powered tailgate opens the boot for you without having to use your hands; perfect for when you’re carrying a lot of gear. Optional on Trend models and standard on the Titanium, it’s the topper on Kuga’s long list of handy tricks.

Fuel consumption is good, thanks to an efficient engine and Ford EcoMode – Ford says 6.3L/100km on a combined cycle of highway and city driving; the on-board trip computer gave me a reading of 9.0l/100km in the heart of the city – dropping down on the highway. A more controlled right foot will be able to lower this even further, and the diesel really is the way to go for frugal drivers.

Push-button start/stop, dual-zone automatic climate control, three 12-volt power outlets and reverse parking sensors are standard issue on the Kuga Trend. Only the Titanium models get a reversing camera, however rearward visibility and the power mirrors make reversing a hassle free experience on all models.

You need never worry about servicing costs either – Ford Service Price Promise has recently been extended for the lifetime of your car (and retroactively applied to all passenger cars to 2007, excluding FPV and Transit Custom models.)

Cost

The MkII models, with slightly revised interiors, start at $27,490 (excluding on-road costs) for the Ambiente FWD Petrol finishing with the flagship Titanium AWD Diesel at $46,990 (excluding on-road costs.)

Summary

Ford threw a cat amongst the pigeons when it initially released the Kuga – a compact SUV based on a hot hatch. It has evolved and become even better as Ford has done the same.

Interested in a test drive? Motorama Ford is the place to be - so make sure you come and see the Motorama Ford team in Moorooka.

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