Capable Ford Kuga is much more than just a simple crossover

With three competing crossovers, including the Nissan Qashqai, the Hyundai ix35, and the Kia Sportage all featuring in the top ten of best-selling cars here in Ireland, Ford has decided to try and get in on the action with a competitively priced, specified version of its excellent Kuga.

Personally I always felt the Kuga was more of a genuine SUV than a crossover and, as such, I have recommended the Ford to numerous people down the years who had a genuine need of a crossover-type vehicle but with the full 4x4 potential which makes the car so much more capable than any of those mentioned above.

Of course there is a simpler, cheaper 4x2 version for those who don’t feel the need for the added traction, but I heartily recommend that people spend the extra few quid for the 4x4 car. Just think the way the weather has been lately and how much worse it will get when it inevitably gets colder and you’re faced with snow and ice instead of floods.

The AWD system provides excellent peace of mind and a lot of security for anything the weather gods might feel like throwing at you. And, on top of that, if you are adventurous of spirit and want to do a bit of off-roading now and then, you can feel extra secure in the knowledge that the new electronic 4x4 system Ford has in this car replaces the old Haldex hydraulic one and also utilises the same torque vectoring system seen in the hot-snot Focus RS, for example.

To my view this puts the car miles ahead of the crossover pack and underlines my point about the car being more SUV than anything else because of the level of real capability it offers. It may be that the fully kitted Kuga will cost a good deal more than the basic Titanium+ on offer, but I think it’s worth the dosh.

The other thing to note about the Kuga is that since it was revamped in 2013, it is actually much bigger than before and now is more of a competitor for, say, something like the Hyundai Santa Fe rather than the Qashqai. This came about largely because of the demands of US customers, but it has benefited Irish buyers too.

Standard spec includes keyless entry, 8” touchscreen, hands-free tailgate, powerfold mirrors, reverse parking sensors, roof rails, partial leather trim, cruise control with speed limiter, and daytime running lights.

Also included is Ford’s much-vaunted Sync advanced entertainment and communications system with emergency assistance, while the tester added satnav, a detachable towbar, and 19” alloys.

It is a really comfortable car to live with and very nice to drive. The two-litre TDCi turbodiesel with some 150 bhp not only has plenty of grunt, but will return decent economy figures as well and won’t cost a fortune to tax thanks to the 135 g/km emissions.

I’ve always liked this car and I like the fact that Ford is getting serious about marketing it as an affordable and truly credible contender in its segment.

THE VERDICT

The Cost: €28,595 — €43,735 as tested.

The Engine: potent yet economic two litre turbodiesel.

The Specification: basic spec levels are good, but it is worth spending the extra few quid for the added capability.

Overall Verdict: very credible.

****


Lifestyle

Wesley O’ Regan is the General Manager of Popscene in Voodoo Rooms, Cork city. Popscene opened last November and is Cork’s only themed bar that is dedicated to celebrating the best of the 80s and 90s. https://www.facebook.com/PopsceneCork/You've Been Served: Wesley O'Regan, Popscene

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