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2017 Ford Kuga – Aggressive, sophisticated and enhanced

Ford’s rivals were capitalising on strong mid-size SUV sales, before the company debut the original Kuga back in 2008. From then on, the Kuga’s popularity grew, especially in Africa and Europe. The Kuga popularity is driven by its blend of stylish looks, economical engines, and sporty drive. The Kuga offers ample space, a sharp design, enhanced driving dynamics, fuel efficient engines and a host of clever technologies including SYNC, Ford’s ‘open sesame’ hands free automatic tailgate, Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, Active City Stop, Lane Keeping Aid, Blind Spot Indication System and more. The Kuga evolves in terms of design and technology for 2017.

Design 

The 2017 Kuga features Ford’s latest design language for a bold and sporty look that is shared with the EcoSport compact SUV. The 2017 Kuga’s sculpted bonnet features a wider, uninterrupted central dome that not only serves to complement crossover’s sporty new looks, but also incorporates a structural design that more closely controls deformability and flexibility of the bonnet, improving pedestrian protection in an accident.

The large upper trapezoidal grille and a smaller lower grille are flanked by sleek new headlamps incorporating LED daytime running lights. Stylish fog lamps complement the redesigned headlamps. The headlamps feature Ford’s Adaptive Front Lighting System, which is available for the first time on Kuga. The system monitors ambient light conditions and automatically optimises visibility by adjusting the beam angle of the new bi xenon headlights to one of seven settings depending on the vehicle’s speed, steering angle and distance to an object in front.

The overall appearance of the 2017 Kuga continues to offer a muscular stance, which is enhanced by the pronounced wheel arches and raised beltline. Restyled taillights complete the sporty look, while a new range of 17- 18- and 19-inch alloy wheel designs also are available. A power-operated retractable tow bar automatically stores itself out of sight below the rear bumper when not in use, to retain the Kuga’s sporty looks.

Performance

The 2017 Kuga continues to deliver impressive fuel efficiency. This is as a result of power plants that feature Ford’s EcoBoost engine technology. The 2017 Kuga can be paired with a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol fire plant, which is available with two power outputs; 88 kW and 110 kW. The 88 kW (118 hp) version is available in FWD (front wheel drive) 2017 Kuga. This particular power plant mated with a 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 6-speed auto. The power train rewards the 88 kW (118 hp) Kuga with an impressive fuel consumption figure of just 6.6 litres /100 km. On the AWD (All Wheel Drive) Kuga, the 1.6-litre EcoBoost churns out 110 kW (147 hp). This version uses 7.7 l/100 km of fuel and features a 6-speed automatic transmission with SelectShift. Both variants produce 240 Nm of torque between 1600 and 4000 rpm.

Safety

The 2017 Kuga got a maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP, after achieving an overall protection score of 88 per cent. This is the highest-ever for a mid-sized SUV. Further driver assistance technologies offered as optional extras with the 2017 Kuga include Active Park Assist, Blind Spot Information System, Active City Stop, Lane Keeping Aid, and Lane Departure Warning.

Ultra-high strength steel in is used in the body structure of the Kuga. Ford engineers have also incorporated specially designed ring reinforcements around the panoramic roof, to ensure rigidity and strength. The bonnet and rear tailgate also have been re-engineered to help mitigate damage to more expensive-to-replace components following a collision

The 2017 Kuga also offers Roll Stability Control and Trailer Sway Control. All Kuga models in the line-up feature seven airbags, ISOFIX child seat attachments, Antilock Braking System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), and Electronic Stability Control (ESP).

Ford Intelligent All Wheel Drive, which adjusts the amount of torque sent to each wheel, optimising handling and traction especially in slippery conditions. Another system called Curve Control mitigates against loss of control should a driver enter a bend with too much speed. Lastly, there is Torque Vectoring Control, which enhances the driving experience by applying a small amount of braking to inside wheels to assist traction and stability when cornering

Interior

The 2017 Kuga’s meticulously crafted interior has been refined to offer a more ergonomic, stylish and comfortable experience for occupants. The steering wheel and air-conditioning controls are even more intuitive, and feature fewer and more easily distinguishable buttons and switches, making the controls easier to recognise and navigate.

The steering wheel is also offered with heated leather to improve comfort in cold weather, while all automatic 2017 Kuga models will feature paddle-shift controls that enable drivers to manually select gears while keeping their hands on the wheel. An electronic parking brake is effortless to operate and frees room for improved storage in the centre console, while a door lock indicator tells drivers at a glance whether the doors are locked.

The 2017 Kuga allows one to control audio, navigation, and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple, more conversational voice commands, with Ford’s new SYNC 3 connectivity system. The SYNC 3’s 8-inch touchscreen features a new interface with larger, easier to operate buttons and enables pinch and swipe gestures for the first time.

The crossover offers ample luggage space with rear seats folding flat in one movement. Transportation of different types of cargo is made easier with the space and smart features available in the 2017 Kuga. This includes an umbrella holder, second-row floor bin and ticket holder in each sun visor.

The 2017 Kuga also offers Hands-Free Liftgate, which can be opened or closed using a kicking motion beneath the rear bumper. The technology, which was specified by more than 1-in-3 Kuga customers in Europe last year, helps one to easily access the boot when returning to their vehicle with shopping, pushchairs or toddlers.

Verdict

The 2017 Kuga’s appealing design, economical engines, and comfortable interior adds some style and appeal to the crossover segment. The 2017 Kuga not only build on the outgoing models great reputation, but also steps up the competition for its rivals. CMC Motors Group Limited is the custodian of Ford models in Kenya. The firm’s showroom is located along Lusaka Road in Industrial Area, Nairobi.

Ratings

Value: 4

Presence: 4

Interior: 3

Styling: 4

Equipment: 4

Overall: 4

Quote: The 2017 Kuga’s meticulously crafted interior has been refined to offer a more ergonomic, stylish and comfortable experience for occupants.

What we like

  • Efficient engines
  • Spacious interior
  • Appealing design

What we dislike

  • Cluttered centre console
  • Limited rear visibility
  • Limited power unit choices