With almost 17.000 units sold this year, the Kuga plays a major role for Ford; only the focus sells even better. To ensure that the figures continue to be so pleasing, the spacious 4,52-meter SUV will undergo a facelift in early 2017 - of course with the usual optical rejuvenation measures at the front and rear, a new diesel engine and a revised infotainment system. The entry price, on the other hand, will not change, which will also be € 23.300 in the future
Those who opt for the basic model drive from the yard with an 88 kW / 120 hp 1,5-liter turbo petrol engine and always have a radio system with a large screen, electric windows, cruise control and air conditioning on board. In addition, the angle of the backrest of the 60:40 split rear bench can always be adjusted. The weakest Otto drives, like its more powerful 150-hp brother, exclusively with front-wheel drive and six-speed manual transmission, and Ford specifies the consumption of both with an average of 6,2 liters. The third expansion stage of the one-and-a-half-liter engine has 134 kW / 182 PS and always has all-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic converter. However, it swallows a lot of power: At 10,1 seconds, the standard sprint takes four tenths longer than its weaker brother. The standard consumption increases to 7,4 liters.
All three petrol engines don't have a generous 240 Nm of torque. The 150 hp version we drove (0-100 km / h: 9,7 seconds, Vmax 195 km / h) is not very lively; the handle to the gear lever is mandatory when overtaking. However, the force on lightly damp roads is easily enough to get the driven front axle into trouble - here the all-wheel drive, which is not available, could provide valuable services. Even when driving comfortably, the front-wheel drive SUV is quite thirsty: the on-board computer attests us to less than ten liters of fuel.
The three diesel variants offered have almost the same performance values as the gasoline engines. Recently, the entry-level diesel (88 kW / 120 PS, from 27.150 euros), which is also only available with front-wheel drive, has drawn its power from a 1,5-liter displacement. The middle variant (110 kW / 150 PS) continues to drive with two liters of combustion chamber and is optionally available with 2 × 4 or 4 × 4 drive. Anyone who opts for the all-wheel drive technology, which costs 2.000 euros and only intervenes when necessary, can also order a six-speed dual clutch transmission (1.800 euros). This choice is also available for the 132 kW / 180 PS top diesel (from 34.050 euros), which always sends its power to the road via all four wheels. Ford specifies the consumption of the cultivated diesel with 4,4 to 5,2 liters.
Except for the basic Otto, the facelift is the new equipment line ST-Line (from 30.600 euros) available for all engines. The sporty claim is visually expressed by special bumpers and side skirts, and 18-inch models are also standard. The ST-Line models are one centimeter lower, are a little tighter than their brothers and the direct steering has been sharpened a bit. The already agile SUV impresses with an extra dose of commitment and precision - without sacrificing comfort. Only over transverse joints does the ST-Line roll a bit more wood than the other versions. Those who place more value on luxury than on dynamics can in future order the Vignale edition (from 36.450 euros) instead of the ST-Line.
In the interior, where the driver and front passenger still sit on somewhat small, but rather high-mounted armchairs with only moderate lateral support, the new Sync-3 infotainment system is particularly eye-catching. Like the standard display, the touchscreen is unfortunately also set back slightly in the center console, which is lined with plenty of hard plastic. This makes operation more difficult and you can often accidentally access the upstream buttons. The system itself, on the other hand, convinces with simple logic and smartphones can also be easily connected via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
But the revised Kuga is not only up-to-date in terms of infotainment, but also in the driver assistance systems: it warns of vehicles in the blind spot, tries to avoid rear-end collisions independently, pushes itself back on the lane, when it drifts off slightly, the main beam switches off automatically, warns the driver to take a break when he looks tired and, if desired, keeps the distance to the person in front constant. However, none of this is standard. Also only on the surcharge list - for every equipment variant - are comfort extras such as xenon lights, seat and steering wheel heating, panoramic roof or the electrically confirmed tailgate. (Michael Gebhardt / SP-X)