Friday, September 22, 2017

Bucket Seat: 2017 Ford Kuga - First Impressions

The past two days I found myself in the picturesque Eastern Cape driving the all new Ford Kuga. Now for those that are on the popular social media platform Twitter, you would have noticed that there was some heat coming from many about the launch, I myself was a recipient and to say my mentions were "lit" is an understatement. Now the thing about social media, it's fluctuates on trends so obviously when launching a new product, the more your product trends, the better, unfortunately due to the bad rep of one of the first gen models of the Eco, in particular one engine type, many just used this as an excuse to jump on the band wagon and make some jokes about it. Which some were pretty funny but the rest were really cringe worthy with zero substance to them. Many actually lacked any knowledge of what really happened first time round but saw the opportunity to part of the conversation but for all the wrong reasons. In any case, the launch went down a treat, their hashtag trended which was their aim and as they say, there's no publicity like bad publicity as many took notice that there was a new Kuga in town. 

While the Ford brand did take a knock from the negativity around the recall, the actual customers with the defected vehicles were well received from Ford. Phase 1 recall achieved a 92% completion and Phase 2 is currently at 62%. To continue to show their clients how much they mean to them, during Phase 2, the customers were given the new Kuga to drive while their cars were in, they were given the first opportunity to sample the brand new model before any motor journalist in South Africa. This was a first from a manufacturer and definitely one to instill confidence in their clientele. 

Getting back to the actual reason I was in the Eastern Cape, the car! The new Kuga has had a full revamp from outside to in, top to bottom and it looks ace! The main new design feature is at the front, as Ford call it, this new trapezoid grille is "the Face of Ford". It already has been prominent on some of the other models, namely the Ecosport and Everest and now it adornes the Kuga. The whole car has a new sleek look to it with cleaner lines, sharp new front head lights, and moving to the back the rear lights are more stockier than before but has the angular look take from the Focus. The car is available in three packages, Ambiente, Trend and Titanium, each adding more to what the other has to offer as you move up. Moving onto the interior, everything is well laid out as per the previous model, the two main things previous owners of the Kuga will notice is the large touch screen display and the hand brake which is now replaced with an electronic brake, thus making way for new storage spaces in the cabin for stuff like keys, mobile phones and it even has a dual USB port with fast charge capabilities. The instrument cluster was a bit of a let down for me as it's almost carbon copy of the older models, I was expecting something similar to the Everest or Ranger. The leather seats have a new grade of leather, giving it a premium feel and the cabin is really spacious with enough room for four adults to sit in comfort. 

While the looks are good, the Kuga also has a bunch of technological advancements added to the car. The one thing that strikes you is the large 8" touch screen display, it's also cleverly placed in the center console of the car so that no light reflection would alter your vision of it. The Kuga comes with Ford's new SYNC 3 which has navigation! Finally! It works really well and is voice activated, so you can speak to SYNC 3, tell it where you want to go, or what you want to listen to and bam! it's done. Ford really needed SYNC to rival the other brands out there, it will do wonders across their model line up and while the maps might not be as detailed as others, its a start. But the other good thing about SYNC 3 is that is Apply Car Play and Android Auto capable, so if the SYNC maps isn't your thing, plug in your phone and let it do the navigating. Other cool tech in the car is part of the driver alert package which includes things line lane assist which notifies you when you drift out of your lane. Collision detection, which also ties into the active cruise control and will break automatically should it detect a car suddenly slowing down in front of you and also has a function to detect when you're sleepy and gives you a warning to pull over for a rest and something to drink. 

Moving to the engines, while there are just three engines to chose from, petrol being the all new 1.5 and 2.0 litre EcoBoost engines and the 2.0 litre TDCi turbo diesel engines, the Kuga has 7 derivatives which are listed below. I had the opportunity to drive the 1.5 EcoBoost Petrol and the 2.0 litre TDCi with AWD during the launch. The 1.5 motor sure did pack a punch, while not the quickest of the line, on the open road it picked up power with ease. With the automatic gearbox, you get paddle shifts as a standard on the Kuga so should the need arise, drop down a gear to source that extra power. The diesel engine on the other hand, the torque is crazy, ample power, awesome handling and great fuel economy. Definitely my favorite from the line up. Overall the new Kuga is great all round car and for the pricing, its a damn good deal and it is even cheaper than the out going model. I know this isn't the best pun to say about it but it is quite poetic, as the new Kuga really is the Phoenix that is rising from the ashes of the previous model.  It ticks all the right boxes, I can't wait to get one to drive around for a week so I can tell you more. 

Recommended Retail Prices:
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente 6MT FWD                     R368 800
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente 6AT FWD                       R381 900
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Trend 6MT FWD                           R406 400
Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Trend 6AT FWD                             R427 900
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Trend 6AT AWD                                    R483 900
Ford Kuga 2.0 EcoBoost Titanium 6AT AWD                        R497 900
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium 6AT AWD                               R506 900

All models come standard with Ford Protect, including a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, three-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A five-year/90 000km service plan is included on the TDCi models, with 15 000km service intervals. The petrol Kuga models have 20 000km service intervals, and are sold with a four-year/80 000km service plan.

1 comment:

  1. Such a beautiful car. I love how spacious and affordable it is