2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
The new Ford Kuga is already on the market in the USA. There it is offered as an escape. In Germany, it will also roll out to dealers as a plug-in hybrid at the end of April.
The hopes of the people of Cologne rest on the Ford Kuga. After all, Ford’s European business is not really going well and current developments are far from rosy.
The compact SUV, which celebrated its premiere almost a year ago, has been running quite successfully in the USA as Escape for months. In Germany, customers will invest at least 26,300 euros for the Kuga, but it will rarely stay that way.
Sparse basic equipment
If you order the basic model, you will get an infotainment touchscreen, cruise control and manual air conditioning, but otherwise only a few comfort extras. LED headlights, WiFi hotspot, an electrically operated tailgate, the practical door edge protection that extends automatically when opening, and unfortunately most of the assistants (including the wrong-way driver warning, evasive assistant, blind spot monitor and traffic jam assistant) are there only in the higher versions. Ford has put together six more equipment lines, plus there are four option packages; There are only a few extras to be selected separately.
You also have to dig deeper into your pockets for the Kuga with EcoBlue hybrid diesel that we drove in the first test. The Cool & Connect version starts at 32,600 euros. In return, you get a two-liter four-cylinder diesel engine that mobilizes 150 hp and 370 Newton meters of torque and is supported by a belt starter generator operated with 48 volts. The electric motor, which replaces the conventional alternator, contributes up to 16 hp and 50 Newton meters, especially when starting up.
Relief of the burner
That doesn't sound like much and is not enough for electric power, but it noticeably relieves the combustion engine: the Kuga kicks off really hard and the standard consumption is just over five liters. However, the Ford quickly runs out of breath around the top: the much faster sprint to 100 km / h takes 9.6 seconds and the mild hybrid can run at a maximum of 175 km / h. Shortcoming: The diesel hybrid is only available with a somewhat gritty six-speed manual transmission, the conventional diesel with 120 hp and 190 hp is also available with an eight-speed automatic.
This is standard on the top model, and the diesel, which costs at least 39,500 euros, always has all-wheel drive. All other Kugas are currently giving their power to the road via the front wheels. At least on the gasoline-powered side, Ford wants to improve soon: A full hybrid announced for the end of the year (without socket connection, but with a low electric range) is to become a 4 × 4 model with an additional electric motor on the rear axle. Exemplary: A plug-in hybrid is available from the start (from 39,300 euros), the combination of a four-cylinder petrol engine and an electric motor that releases 204 hp and which is expected to travel 56 kilometers with electricity. Also in the price list: two three-cylinder petrol-only engines with 88 kW / 120 PS and 110 kW / 150 PS.
Known good chassis
No matter which engine you choose: The chassis is always top-notch. As is typical for Ford, it is well tuned and thanks to the new platform up to 90 kilograms lighter than its predecessor, the new Kuga sits comfortably on the road and can be moved dynamically. It's a shame that the comfortable, large seats offer so little lateral support, otherwise the SUV, which has grown by nine centimeters to 4.61 meters, could be thrown even more ambitiously into the curve. The new Kuga can collect points on the long haul: Despite all the sporty talents, the substructure irons the road properly and the Kuga is also convincing in terms of smoothness; the hybrid diesel only growls vigorously under full load.
Quiet grumbling should also escape one or the other after boarding. The Kuga is clearly and neatly processed and there is enough space not only in the front, but also on the sliding back seat. But you don't step into an oasis of well-being:
Plenty of hard plastic in the interior
When it comes to the choice of materials, the controllers have used a lot of hard plastic, and the lining of the 475 to 1534 liter trunk also looks pretty cheap. In addition: The new infotainment system, which has at least left the mouse cinema status behind, is ok with 8 inches, but by no means oversized, and it feels like the screen on the dashboard looks more towards the passenger. And then the head-up display: Ford relies on a fold-out plastic panel behind the valance, which, especially for tall drivers, unfortunately shows all relevant information on the bonnet instead of in front of the car.
In contrast, the digital instrument cluster, reserved for the higher equipment, is flawless, the display of which adapts to the various driving programs (normal, eco, sport, slippery and an off-road mode). And the new design is also impressive: Ford has turned the rather inconspicuous SUV into an eye-catcher in a tight sports suit, which even looks a bit like Porsche from the diagonal front. If that is not a guarantee of success. (SP-X)
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