Motoring:Ford Kuga PHEV offers Electrified Driving Thrill

By Declan Glynn

by Gazette Reporter
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The all-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 SUV’s weight versus previous generation models by up to 80 kg when comparing equivalent powertrain variants.

Additionally, the new architecture is designed to enhance crash performance and contributes to the Kuga’s Euro NCAP 5-star safety rating. The third-generation Kuga sits on Ford’s C2 platform, so it shares its underpinnings with the dynamic and highly-acclaimed Focus hatchback. As a result, ride quality and handling are definite standout attributes for the Kuga, with driving fun provided by the bucket load.

Sculpted & Simplified Design

The new Kuga’s distinctive exterior design is more sculpted and simplified than its predecessor, and its streamlined silhouette incorporates a longer wheelbase that creates a larger footprint on the road – thereby benefitting ride quality, stability and passenger space. The new Kuga’s powertrain line-up consists of a self-charging Full Hybrid (FHEV) and a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) – the latter of which this review relates to. The Ford Kuga PHEV combines a battery-powered electric motor with a 2.5-litre Duratec petrol engine – delivering a combined power output of 225PS (222bhp) together with outstanding fuel economy and CO2 emission figures from just 22g/km (WLTP). For added peace of mind, the 14.4kWh hybrid battery comes with an 8-year/160,000 km warranty. A choice of electric vehicle (EV) modes means drivers can decide whether to run their Kuga PHEV on power from the electric motor, on petrol power alone, or via a combination of both. When using the mode ‘EV Now’ the PHEV can travel up to 63 Kms on battery power alone. Power is supplied to the Kuga’s front wheels courtesy of a CVT automatic transmission, while the level of brake regeneration can be boosted by pushing the ‘L’ button in the centre of the rotary gear selector, allowing the vehicle to reclaim energy when decelerating or braking.

Trim & Charging Options

The new Kuga PHEV is available in a choice of four generously-equipped trim levels – Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and Vignale – all of which can complete a 0-100km/h sprint in just 9.2-seconds, and can achieve fuel consumption as low as 1.1l/100km on a WLTP combined driving cycle. The Kuga PHEV can be charged from 0-100% in around three-and-a-half hours from a 7kW wallbox charger, or in approximately six hours via a domestic socket. Boot capacity varies between 411 and 645-litres depending on the position of the sliding rear seats, with the option of folding the rear seat backs to reveal a cavernous load space when required.

Car on Review

My Kuga ST-Line X review car looked particularly elegant in its Chrome Blue metallic paintwork, while the standard 18-inch Rock Metallic alloy wheels with red-painted brake calipers added a dash of sportiness to the overall look. Other standard ST-Line and ST-Line X exterior features include black roof rails, front LED fog lights, a large rear spoiler, ST-Line badges, and a ST-Line full body styling kit comprising of unique front and rear fascia and bumper design, painted rear diffuser, painted front skid plate, and a dark mesh upper grille. The Kuga PHEV is more than quick enough for everyday driving, and the engine itself is hushed until you put your foot down hard, but when running on electric power alone, a calming serenity fills the comfortable, high-quality cabin.

Despite the additional weight of its batteries, the mid-size SUV handles exceptionally well, while its quick steering makes it a true drivers car in every respect. An impressively-tight turning circle makes parallel parking a lot easier than you might expect for such a large car. In fact, the Kuga PHEV is such a thoroughly rewarding, practical and highly commendable SUV that I feel potential buyers of mid-size plug-in hybrid SUV’s would be foolish not to consider a car as comfortable and capable as the new Ford Kuga.

Conclusion & Pricing

Building on its success as Europe’s best-selling PHEV in 2021 and 2022, the new Kuga PHEV is now available with the option of a ‘Black Package’ that features a black roof, black exterior detailing and all-black 20-inch alloy wheels for a more dynamic and distinctive look. Also available are Ford-developed comfort seats certified by leading spinal health organisation AGR for improved comfort and support. The multi-talented Ford Kuga PHEV enables drivers to rethink adventure, electrify their drive, redefine their space, and get connected – and in control – behind the wheel of one of the best-handling mid-size SUV’s on the market right now. The new Ford Kuga PHEV is priced from €43,322 (ex-delivery) and is on sale now.

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