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The previous generation Ford Kuga took some four years to arrive in South Africa, having first gone on sale in Europe in early 2008, but thankfully Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa made sure we were right up on the list of world markets this time round. The new Kuga follows Ford’s evolving kinetic design theme, with styling details seen in the grille, head- and tail-lights similar to those of the Focus hatchback. Except for the styling, we described the previous generation Kuga as, “not the most fuel efficient, overly spacious or particularly cheap”, but the new Kuga unquestionably rights these wrongs.
In terms of the engine line-up, the new Kuga does away with the old Focus ST-sourced, 2.5-litre, 5-cylinder engine. On a short launch route, with a combination of tar and dirt roads, the Kuga rolled along smoothly, both in terms of its drivetrain and suspension. In terms of occupant safety, the all-new Kuga has earned a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating, having achieved the highest ever overall protection score for a mid-sized SUV, at 88 percent.
In addition, optional extras such as Adaptive Cruise Control, Active Park Assist, Blind Spot Information System, Active City Stop, Lane Keeping Aid, and Lane Departure Warning, serve to make the Kuga an even safer family vehicle. The Ford Kuga range has expanded to include 6 models, compared to the previous two, which means a wider range of specification is available, starting from a price that undercuts the previous generation by a staggering R100 109. The new Kuga improves convincingly on its key areas of practicality, economy, styling, technology and price.
Scott Hayes is the publisher and editor of the SA Car Fan website, which he founded in early 2009.

The new Kuga continues to be a sleek looking mid-sized SUV, thanks to a raked windscreen and tapering roofline in combination with a high beltline. The interior itself features soft touch materials and is modelled on that of the Ford Focus.
While it gave the Kuga strong performance, it also demanded its fair share of premium unleaded fuel. The diesel unit drives all four wheels and is mated to Ford’s 6-speed dual-clutch ‘PowerShift’ transmission. Although the Kuga has grown in its dimensions and equipment levels, it doesn’t feel cumbersome and still responds well to steering and throttle inputs. Standard safety equipment includes seven airbags, ISOFIX child seat attachments, Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) and Electronic Stability Control (ESP). The Kuga’s towing capacity has also increased from 700 kg to 1 200 kg and 1 300 kg, for the petrol and diesel engines respectively, which means the Kuga’s Roll Stability Control and Trailer Sway Control are also notable safety features. Ambiente, Trend and Titanium specifications offer interior and exterior equipment that ranges from the entry-level spec we mentioned earlier, to the Titanium with 19-inch alloy wheels, BiXenon automatic headlamps, daytime running lights, rear LED tail lamps, ‘open sesame’ automatic tailgate and panoramic sunroof. Scott is a member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists and works behind the scenes on a daily basis to ensure you remain up-to-date with the latest motoring news.
Key to capitalising and profiting on this growth potential is the manufacturer’s ‘One Ford’ strategy.

As before, the Kuga gains its masculinity from pronounced wheel arches, bonnet bulges, a slim upper grille that emphasises the vehicle’s width, as well as satin silver cosmetic-only scuff plates front and rear. Wider front and rear tracks, however, together with an increased overall length by 81 mm, means the new Kuga offers more space.
The dashboard is designed with a bias toward the driver and, although busy with plenty of buttons, is fitted with higher quality and attention to detail than before. Torque from the 1.6-litre petrol engine should be enough for most Kuga owners, but the diesel engine should be the sensible choice for anyone who has a regular need for towing boats, caravans or trailers. One Ford involves shared platforms for global vehicles, resulting in lower costs and increased sales.
Front and rear headroom has increased, as has rear shoulder room, but the most noticeable and welcomed increase has been in the boot area. The first example was the Ford Fiesta, followed by the Ford Focus, Ford Ranger and now the all-new Ford Kuga.
With the rear seats in place, cargo capacity is 456-litres (up from 360-litres) and when folded flat, cargo capacity is a whopping 1 653-litres (up from 1 355-litres).

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