There were some mutterings when Ford introduced the Kuga to South Africa last year that their timing was, to say the least, unfortunate: a new model was on the horizon. That new model has now arrived and we have to say that, on paper, it looks significantly better. Not that there’s any reason to point a finger at the old model, and of course we can also debate the validity of using it to smooth the path for the newcomer in the public’s mind.
But the 2013 Kuga offers a package of tech, ability and planet-friendliness that will be hard to beat. In addition to turbocharged EcoBoost petrol and diesel engines, the Kuga features such smart tech as Active Park Assist, hands-free tailgate and intelligent all-wheel drive and Curve Control. It’s also supremely safe, having achieved a top Euro NCAP safety rating thanks to features such as Active City Stop, Lane Keeping Aid and Blind Spot Information System.
The 1,6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine comes in either 110 kW or 134 kW outputs. Mated with a 6-speed manual transmission, and available in front-wheel drive, the 110 kW achieves 6,6 litres/100 km and 154 g/km CO2. The figures for the all-wheel-drive 134 kW model (with 6-speed auto) are 7,7 litres/100 km and 179 g/km. Both produce 240 N.m of torque between 1 600 and 4 000 r/min.
Alternatively, there’s a 2,0-litre TDCi Duratorq diesel all-wheel drive model producing 120 kW and 340 N.m between 2 000 and 3 250 r/min. ECOnetic green technologies available across the line-up include an Eco mode, a shift indicator and an active grille shutter that reduces aerodynamic drag, improving economy. Price: from R289 900.
The tech inside:
Open sesame: Open the hands-free powered tailgate simply by waving a foot under the rear bumper, with the car key on your person.
Aviod rear-ender: Up to 30 km/h, Active City Stop is able to brake the car automatically thanks to a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) sensor continually measuring the distance to the vehicle in front.
Hold your line: Braking by around 16 km/h per second in a controlled manner, and cranking down engine torque if necessary, Curve Control tunes out severe understeer to avoid running wide in corners.
Grip, where you need it: Designed for extra traction at low speeds, the all-wheel-drive system also tweaks driving feel and responses above 30 km/h