Wednesday 25th September 2013, 4:31PM BST.
Motoring editor ROSIE ALLSOPP drives the new Ford Kuga…
ONE hundred metres of driving. That’s all it takes to realise how easy the new Ford Kuga is to handle.
Easing the 2013 model of Ford’s luxe SUV out of the Bougourd Ford compound and into mid-morning St Peter Port traffic is so simple, so un-fraught that I’m already relaxed, despite the fact the Kuga and I are virtually strangers. It usually takes a little longer to acclimatise to driving an unfamiliar car.
And while the model that I’m testing is an automatic, so there isn’t any gear change to think about, it’s not this fact alone that counts for the trouble-free driving experience.
The Kuga comes with two choices of engine, the 1.6 EcoBoost petrol injection or the one I’m in today, the 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi.
Just push the accelerator and go, but this is by no means a sedate drive. The Kuga responds as quickly and excitingly as a manual and with a satisfying growl as it does so.
For a big vehicle, it’s light on its ‘feet’. The steering is fairy-cake light, yet utterly controllable. The gaps between gear changes are exactly as they should be, thanks to the Ford Powershift technology which means that it selects the appropriate gear at exactly the right moment and then changes gear super-fast so there is no loss of power.
The Titanium and Titanium X models have a tailgate sensor that, if you wave your foot in front of it, will activate the boot. I have been anxious to test this feature out since seeing the TV advert where it is demonstrated so effectively.
In practice, it works every bit as well as I hoped it might.
As a motoring writer of course I want cars to have great engines and fabulous handling and be thrilling to drive. But modern cars are, almost without exception, very well put together these days. So once I’m assured of a decent driving experience, fussy old me looks for those added extras and details that attract my attention.
Well, the Kuga has plenty of those, in addition to the tailgate sensor. It has a voice-activated connectivity system called Ford SYNC which will play music, allow you to make and receive hands-free phone calls and will even read your text messages, assuming that your mobile phone is compatible.
If you’re on a motorway and there is a problem, the system has emergency assistance which responds to spoken commands so the driver can stay focused on the road. It can also place phone calls to emergency services in most European countries.
Add the stop/start technology, smart regenerative system that charges the battery when the accelerator is not deployed and an information system that monitors driving performance and tells the person at the wheel how their driving impacts on the car’s performance, it all adds up to a lot of attractive details and useful features.