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Ford Kuga

The new Ford Kuga is a delight to drive. I should know, as I spent 24 hours in one motoring from Warsaw in Poland to Vilnius in Lithuania. And let me tell you, Eastern Europe’s roads are not as kind to cars as Britain’s are – and that’s saying something. Many of the roads in Poland and Lithuania are peppered with potholes, broken up by the odd stretch of motorway, but often with roadworks. The new Kuga made light work of the potholes, due to its excellent suspension and well-padded seats.

The only real grumble came from the car’s petrol engine. My Kuga was fitted with the 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine, in four-wheel-drive 182PS guise. It returns 38.2mpg and 171g/km of CO2, and it’s quite noisy when you put your foot down for overtakes. That said; the melodramatics are soon over, and the car is happy to settle into a less raucous cruise when it sees the open road ahead.

Inside, the Kuga’s cabin is cleaner – in the sense that there aren’t as many buttons littering the dashboard. An electronic parking brake has also joined the party. Ford’s new Sync 3 system is responsible for doing away with many of the switches. It consists of a large touchscreen and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. It also enables you to control functions using voice instructions.

there is a 2.0-litre TDCi engine with 150bhp, and you can choose to have it with all-wheel-drive or front-wheel drive
While it’s really a face-lift, the new Kuga does have some new stuff going on underneath the bonnet, too. There is a new 120PS 1.5-litre TDCi diesel unit with front-wheel-drive, which delivers up to 64.2mpg and 115g/km of CO2. If you prefer more clout, there is a 2.0-litre TDCi engine with 150bhp, and you can choose to have it with all-wheel-drive or front-wheel drive. This variant will return up to 60.1mpg, while emitting 122g/km of CO2. If you want even further power, there’s an Intelligent All Wheel Drive version with 180PS. This does 54.3mpg on average and CO2 emissions are135g/ km. The 1.5-litre Ecoboost petrol engine stays, and comes in two states of tune – 120PS or 150PS.

Finally, as mentioned earlier, the four-wheel-drive 182PS variant of this petrol engine, driven here, returns up to 38.2mpg and emits171g/km of CO2.

All-wheel-drive Kugas, like the one I drove, also include semi-autonomous Perpendicular Parking tech. This helps you to park, without using your hands, in tight spaces alongside other vehicles. I found this particularly useful when trying to park up in a congested area of Warsaw – as you do.

The new Kuga can be bought for £20,845 in entry-level Zetec trim, and the Titanium model is priced from £24,245. The ST-Line model is on sale from £25,845, while the more luxury oriented Kuga Vignale comes in at £30,745. The Kuga is an affordable car, if bought at the lower end of the range. It comes well equipped and has enough space for a family of four. The car is comfortable and makes mincemeat out of long trips. The six hours I spent travelling from Warsaw to Vilnius would be gruelling for any car, but the new Kuga coped well, and, more importantly I did, too.

Everything in the new Kuga is simple to use, and there are lots of handy storage compartments for things such as cash for toll booths, and cup holders for bottles of water and mugs of coffee. The boot is also a good, square size, and you can load things in easily due to the low load lip.

All in all, the new Ford Kuga offers good value for money. It is certainly worth buying or leasing if you need a main car that isn’t too big, yet is large enough to cope with a family of four. In fourwheel- drive guise it also turns into a useful tool for the winter months – something many parents, like me, will find invaluable on frosty school-runs using ice-rink-like rural routes.

FAST FACTS
Ford Kuga ST-Line 1.5T Eco 182PS AWD AUTO
• Max speed: 124 mph
• 0-62 mph: 10.1 secs
• Combined mpg: 38.2
• Engine layout: 1498cc 4-cylinder turbo petrol
• Max. power (PS): 182
• CO2: 171 g/km
• Price: £30,180

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