FORD’S first foray into the lucrative SUV market was a long time coming.
Many manufacturers came before them, wildly trying to impress with over-the-top offerings that did nothing for the environment and were less than pleasing on the eye.
Ford didn’t rush into anything; they slowly and carefully took their time. They watched the market and they stalked their prey until, like all good cougars, the time was right to pounce.
In 2008, the Ford Kuga was unleashed on the Irish market and was an instant hit.
Buyers were attracted to the Kuga’s good-looking body, wrapped in sleek lines and carefully crafted body accents that disguise its raw power, driving ability and an array of features and technologies that make this car stand head and shoulders above much of the competition.
There is now a new version of the car, and what I find most attractive about the Kuga is just how understated its styling is.
There is a generous spattering of body contours and accents that invite the eye to admire the shape, but designed in a way that is subtle, and enhances the overall look.
When you scratch the surface of the Kuga, and explore what awaits on the inside, you are truly rewarded. Ford are often guilty of having some of the most cluttered dashboards in the business, but this Kuga is a far more refined feline.
Yes, there is more piano-key black trim than you will find in Elton John’s recording studio, but it is beautifully offset by generous, large matt black panels and brushed-steel highlights.
There isn’t the dizzying array of bright panels and instrument clusters that so many other SUVs feel obliged to shoe-horn into their cabins – just the information you need in elegant blue-light displays.
Naturally, as this is a car with volume, the new Kuga offers 46-litres more luggage compartment-space than the current model, while the rear seats fold flat in one movement.
Moving people and gear in this car is not a problem, with roof bars ready to take anything even bigger along.
One of my favourite features is the handsfree tailgate. This is a natty little feature developed by Ford that enables anyone who has the car keys on their person to simply wave their Louboutin-clad foot under the rear of the car for the boot to automatically open. Class!
No more bending down or balancing boxes on your knee while fumbling for the key fob with this baby!
So, we have brains, beauty and muscle … but at what cost? Does this Kuga pump out emissions? Now, that just wouldn’t be right.
This new Kuga will deliver class-leading fuel economy through significantly improved fuel efficiency. Diesel engine fuel consumption has been improved by an impressive 10%.
In Ireland, the new Kuga is available with a 2.0-litre TDCi Duratorq diesel engine with 140PS in front-wheel drive and AWD versions.
There is some impressive details in terms of safety, as this model was awarded a maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP after achieving an overall protection score of 88% – the highest-ever for a mid-sized SUV.
The independent vehicle safety organisation awarded new Kuga an Advanced reward for Ford SYNC with emergency assistance.
Upon detecting airbag deployment or activation of the emergency fuel shut-off within the car, emergency assistance uses the on-board GPS locator and bluetooth-paired device to set up an emergency call and provide GPS co-ordinates, in the local language, which gives any driver huge piece-of-mind at home and when driving abroad.
With a starting price of €33,450, the Kuga is a car you are going to want to cage as soon as possible.