I haven’t really driven much Ford product lately, but had the opportunity to drive the Ford Kuga ST recently. I have always been excited by the ST performance brand, and have been a fan of the Fiesta ST and the Focus ST. The Kuga ST did not move me as much however, and I found the petrol consumption pretty heavy as well. The Kuga has had it’s issues of late, and this being a petrol version, it was interesting to drive it. Luckily no such issues, as Ford has comprehensively put that to rest now.
Building on the sophisticated appeal of the new generation model launched late last year, the revised line-up drops the Titanium specification in favour of the exciting new ST-Line for the powerful 2.0-litre EcoBoost and TDCi models, giving greater credence to the sporting character of its modern SUV.
The Kuga range also gains an extremely competitive all-new offering in the frugal yet punchy 88kW 1.5 TDCi turbodiesel-engined models, available in Ambiente and Trend specification levels matched to a six-speed manual gearbox.
Kuga ST-Line 2.0 L Performance.
Of course the idea behind this launch is the integration of the ST performance mantra into their mid-range SUV segment. Looks wise, the Kuga ST-Line delivers a bold design that mirrors its athletic character. It stands out from the rest of the range thanks to the high-gloss Ebony Black finish for the front grille, along with a striking honeycomb design for the lower portion of the grille and matching sports mesh finish on the fog lamp bezels.
Extensive colour coding for the integrated body kit incorporates the front skid plate, side skirts, mirrors, door handles, rear roof spoiler and wheel arches to provide a lithe and eye-catching appearance, set against contrasting elements such as the high-gloss Ebony Black rear diffuser, black roof rails, tinted front and rear lights, as well as privacy glass for the rear windows.
A black beltline beneath the windows and ST-Line exterior badging on the front fenders raise the exclusivity bar several notches, complemented by a choice of 18-inch high-gloss black alloy wheels with a bright machined surface, or optional 19-inch versions in Ebony Black.
The cabin ambience has been given a distinctive splash of dynamic flair too, thanks to the fitment of sport seats trimmed in partial leather, picked out with contrasting stitching for the seats, steering wheel and gear lever gaiter. A dark headliner and pillar trims, combined with a special two-layer metallic-effect Deep Space paint on the centre console, alloy pedals and scuff plates incorporating the ST-Line logo guarantee further individuality.
The new Kuga ST-Line is one of the most sporty models for some time, certainly in this segment for Ford, and with it’s 177kw of power it can pedal somewhat. The steering is also more tighter and responsive.As before, a selection of option packs is available with the range-topping models. The Driver Assistance Pack for the ST-Line adds Adaptive Cruise Control, Advanced Active Park Assist, Blind Spot Information System and Lane Keeping Aid.
The Styling Pack includes the power opening panoramic roof, 19-inch alloy wheels and a larger single-wing rear spoiler that gives the Kuga an even more spirited appearance. High Intensity Discharge (HID) Bi-Xenon headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lights can also be specified on ST-Line models.
For the first time the Ford Kuga will be available with a frugal yet punchy 1.5 TDCi turbodiesel engine. It is a pity we never drove this model, as the 2.0 L model we drove was excessively heavy on fuel, getting 12.5 L/100km which is not great at all.
Two 1.5 TDCi models have been introduced to the line-up, comprising the Ambiente and Trend series, both of which employ front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.
The 2.0 TDCi, which produces 132kW of power and a substantial 400Nm of torque, is now exclusive to the new ST-Line series, combined with Ford’s Intelligent All Wheel Drive system and six-speed PowerShift Automatic gearbox.
The 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol models are only available in FWD guise, starting off with the Ambiente that uses a six-speed manual transmission and delivers 110kW and 240Nm. Buyers can also opt for the six-speed torque converter automatic with 132kW on tap, available in Ambiente or the more luxurious Trend specification.
The most powerful offering is the 2.0 EcoBoost ST-Line, which delivers an exhilarating 177kW punch allied to 340Nm of torque. Power is transmitted to the AWD system via a smooth-shifting six-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
Ford Kuga – Recommended Retail Prices:
1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente FWD 6MT R384 900
1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente FWD 6AT R398 500
1.5 TDCi Ambiente FWD 6MT R426 200
1.5 EcoBoost Trend FWD 6AT R445 900
1.5 TDCi Trend FWD 6MT R456 200
2.0 EcoBoost ST-Line AWD 6AT R548 500
2.0 TDCi ST-Line AWD 6AT R566 900
I will continue to be a fan of the ST brand, just think it suits the Fiesta and Focus more.