The all-new Ford Kuga SUV is the first Ford vehicle to be offered with PHEV (Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle) and FHEV (Full Hybrid) powertrain technology, and is Ford’s most electrified vehicle ever. Often referred to as a self-charging hybrid, the FHEV can be run on either the internal combustion engine or the electric power from the battery, with the PHEV adopting the same principal, but it does require charging to enhance fuel efficiency. The Kuga line-up now consists of PHEV, EcoBlue Hybrid (mild hybrid) and FHEV variants, alongside Ford’s 1.5‑litre EcoBlue diesel engine – providing greater diversity for new Kuga owners.
With the all-new Kuga comes a sleek new exterior design with premium proportions for improved roominess and comfort throughout the cabin. The new Kuga offers even more luxury and driver assistance features than ever before, including the FordPass Connect modem that helps owners better manage their Kuga PHEV with new electrified vehicle features for the FordPass app. Further sophisticated technologies include a wireless charging pad and Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system supported by an 8‑inch central touchscreen. A premium B&O Sound System produces a high-quality audio experience, while a new industry-first, free-form 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster with “true colour” is more informative, intuitive and easier to read.
New Flexible Architecture;
The new Kuga is based on Ford’s new global front-wheel drive flexible architecture that supports improved aerodynamics for better fuel efficiency and helps reduce the Kuga’s weight versus outgoing models by up to 80 kg when comparing equivalent powertrain variants. In addition, the new architecture is designed to enhance crash performance and contributes to Kuga’s Euro NCAP 5-star safety rating, while delivering 10 per cent more torsional stiffness for improved driving dynamics. Additionally, the creation of more interior space for Ford’s mid-size models enhances overall roominess, while still enabling expressive and dynamic design in the process. Best-in-class rear legroom and luggage space can be realised using sliding second row seats, able to easily move forward or rearward up to 150 mm. However, for larger loads, the cargo space can be easily extended by dropping the rear seat backs when required.
PHEV Trim Levels;
Trim levels in the new Ford Kuga PHEV consist of Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and Vignale, with all models powered by a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor fed by a 14.4kWh battery, and fitted with a CVT automatic transmission as standard. A combined power output of 225PS (222bhp) enables the Kuga PHEV to complete a 0-100km/h sprint in just 9.2-seconds, while a claimed fuel consumption figure as low as 1.4l/100km (201mpg) is genuinely impressive.
Review Car Details;
My review car was a Ford Kuga PHEV ST-Line X, which was finished in striking Lucid Red premium metallic paintwork for terrific visual appeal. The new Kuga introduces a distinctive new exterior design that is more sculpted and simplified, while a streamlined silhouette incorporates a longer wheelbase that creates a larger footprint on the road, benefitting ride quality and stability. A long bonnet, an aerodynamically-designed windscreen angle and a lower roofline enables the new Kuga to look more energetic, nimble and capable than ever before. Standard ST-Line features include distinctive 18” rock-metallic alloy wheels, front LED fog lights with front cornering, black roof rails, ST-Line full body styling kit – (front and rear fascia and bumper design, rear painted diffuser, front painted skid plate, dark mesh upper grille), large rear spoiler, red brake calipers, flat-bottomed steering wheel with red stitching, alloy pedals, ST-Line sport seats, and a full digital 12.3” instrument cluster. ST-Line X adds full LED headlamps with headlamp control and automatic high/low beam, B&O premium audio system (10 speakers and subwoofer) and a driver impairment warning system. The Kuga PHEV’s lithium-ion battery can be charged using a front wing-mounted charging port, and is automatically replenished on the move using regenerative charging technology that captures kinetic energy normally lost during braking. To fully charge the battery from a 7.4kW home wallbox will take just 3.5 hours, or up to 6 hours from a domestic socket. When fully charged, the Kuga PHEV delivers a 56km pure electric driving range, while drivers can choose when and how to deploy battery power using EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge modes.
With a full battery, the Kuga PHEV will move off in near-silence, while remaining composed when the refined petrol engine kicks in. With a delightful balance of comfort and handling, the new Kuga excels in terms of dynamic drivability, while instant torque delivery from the electric motor is impressive. The new Kuga further enhances the SUV driving experience with an advanced suite of driver assistance technologies designed to give drivers confidence behind the wheel, and help them to stay focused while on the move. Making its Ford debut as part of the advanced Lane-Keeping System, BLIS Assist combines Ford’s Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and Lane-Keeping Aid to monitor the driver’s blind spot for vehicles approaching from behind while travelling on multi-lane carriageways.
Verdict & Pricing;
Combining hatchback-like handling, a variety of hybrid technologies, cutting-edge safety systems and a spacious cabin, the all-new Ford Kuga personifies the phrase ‘the best, bettered’. Inclusive of an SEAI grant of up to €5,000 for private customers, the Ford Kuga PHEV is priced from just €40,690, while an SEAI home wallbox charger grant of up to €600 is also available (t’s & c’s apply).