- New engine included – see fuel-burn data
- Luxury spec at top end of range
- SYNC 3 comms will talk nicely to you
BRENTWOOD, England – The next Ford Kuga, due in South Africa in soon (so if you’re in the market, hang on for good prices on current models) claims to deliver an even more technologically advanced, refined and affordable sport utility vehicle.
The Corner thinks that, from the look of the images, it’s going to be a stunner. And there’s a top model due, too, badged Vignale, but more of that later.
Meanwhile (in the UK at least, we don’t yet have model specs of launch dates for South Africa despite asking nicely), the 2017 Kuga will have Ford’s “sophisticated” SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system, the latest driving assistance technology, an “ergonomic and comfortable” cabin.
Among the “powerful and efficient engines” will be a 90kW 1.5-litre turbodiesel that claims a smidgen over four litres/100km.
The cars will also have (depending on model, we guess) perpendicular self-parking technology, enhanced collision avoidance, adaptive front lighting, an auto tail hatch and all-wheel drive.
‘FRESH, MODERN FEEL’
Joe Bakaj, vice-president for product development with Ford Europe, told The Corner in a media release: “This Kuga has cutting-edge new features and technology that will help drivers stay connected and be comfortable, safe and stylish on the road.
“The redesign has given Kuga a fresh and modern feel and SYNC 3 lets drivers communicate with their vehicle and connected devices in seamless ways that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago.”
Here’s a precis of its features: control of audio, satnav and smart phones using conversational voice commands in a choice of five languages (which are not specified) delivered by pushing a button and saying, for instance, “I need a coffee” (that would be The Corner’s favourite) “I need petrol” or “I need to park”.
Rail stations, airports, car parks and hotels can also be found on verbal request.
The heart of SYNC 3 will be a 20cm touchscreen controlled through larger buttons and, for the first time, with pinch / swipe gestures.
iPhone users can use Apple CarPlay for, for instances, telephony, music, messaging, road and traffic conditions, while focused on the road. Android users can activate Android Auto for apps and services that include Google Search, Google Maps and Google Play with updates over wi-fi.
Ford MyKey can set restrictions on younger drivers to cover speed, keep driving assistance and safety features activated, max audio output and enforce seat-belt use.
The Kuga’s features include those used on the Ford EcoSport and Edge large SUV’s with a large upper trapezoidal grille and a smaller lower grille with new headlights / daytime running lights / foul-weather lights.
The tail lights have also be restyled and a range of 17, 18 and 19-inch alloy wheel-rim designs come in various finishes; a power-operated towball stores itself under the rear bumper,
The steering-wheel and aircon controls are more intuitive and have fewer and more easily identifiable buttons and switches; the steering-wheel can be specified with heating and leather and auto transmissions will come with paddle shifters.
The Ford Performance-inspired Kuga ST-Line and luxurious new Kuga Vignale also are available for the first time…
“The ST-Line,” Ford says, “delivers bold exterior and interior styling with unique alloy wheel rims and sport seats and joins the Fiesta ST, Focus ST and Mondeo ST with chassis enhancements that include optimised suspension and steering for reduced body roll and sharper responses.”
‘VIGNALE IS UPSCALE’
The top-end Kuga Vignale includes pearlescent paint, unique hexagonal-quilted Windsor leather upholsterty and door lining.
“The Vignale,” Ford emphasised, “is the highest expression of the brand in Europe; a contemporary upscale product which brings together award-winning design, high-quality craftsmanship, advanced technology and exclusive specifications.
“It follows the Ford Mondeo Vignale, S-MAX Vignale and Edge Vignale in Europe.
And so to the engines – at least those that will be offered in Europe…
One is the already mentioned 1.5 TDCi diesel; others will be EcoBoost petrol engines. The TDCI, apart from making four litres/100km possible, has a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive and its fuel consumption is said to be five percent less that the the outgoing 2.0-litre TDCi.
Other diesel power trains include:
90kW 1.5-litre TDCi 6-speed PowerShift FWD – 4.8 litres/100km
112kW 2.0-litre TDCi 6-speed manual FWD – 7.72 litres/100km; 6-speed manual AWD 5.23 litres/100km; 6-speed PowerShift AWD 5.18 litres/100km
2.0-litre TDCi 6-speed manual AWD 5.22 litres/100km or 6-speed PowerShift AWD 5.23 litres/100km
The turbo EcoBoost petrol engines use high-pressure direct fuel-injection and twin variable cam timing. They include:
90kW / 112kW 1.5-litre EcoBoost 6-speed manual FWD offering 6.33 litres/100km
136kW 1.5-litre EcoBoost 6-speed auto AWD 7.52 litres/100km
Fuel-saving technology across the range includes stop/start and regenerative battery-charging.
The Kuga also has advanced tech that includes:
All-wheel drive which adjusts the torque to each wheel according to grip
Curve control to help avoid loss of control should a driver be going too fast
Torque vectoring to apply light braking to assist traction and stability when cornering
‘NO SALES SLOWDOWN’
Roelant de Waard, vice-president for marketing, sales and service with Ford Europe, reminded: “SUV sales have grown from a tiny niche in Europe to one of the most significant automotive trends of the past decade.
“Every time somebody predicts SUV sales will cool down they are proved wrong because such vehicles have widespread appeal with men and woman, young, and older people.”