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Ford models, news & reviews
By Tim Pollard
26 November 2010 11:47
Ford has a knack of being late to the party. The Kuga itself was only launched in 2008, but until now it's been bereft of one of the most popular drivetrains available on SUVS: a diesel auto.
These have finally landed in recent weeks, mating the proven 2.0-litre TDCI turbodiesel with Ford's Powershift twin-clutch six-speed auto. You can pick your Kuga Powershift in two guises: the 138bhp output or the beefier 161bhp version. It's the latter we test here.
Don't get confused by the 163 in the Kuga's name; that's the output in metric horsepower, or ps. We have to say we wouldn't much fancy the lower-powered version, as even this top-spec Kuga diesel doesn't exactly fly around.
Rather, it's a well judged performance: civilised for a diesel, smooth revving and comfortably adequate acceleration. We haven't tested the 140 yet, but suspect it's worth forking out the extra £1500 for the extra power and torque.
The Powershift transmission suits the car. We left it in D for most of the week, and it shuffles ratios seamlessly in the background. There are no paddles, but you can stir the gearlever to ping between cogs should you wish. You'll enjoy the usual quick-shifting associated with twin-clutch transmissions, but it's not quite as instantaneous as VW's DSG original.
There's much to commend the Kuga: it's a stylish mid-sized crossover; it's one of the best to drive with that trademark pliancy in the damping and sweetness of steering that betray its Focus roots; and it's not too big like some SUVs - it's really no more daunting to drive than a hatchback on stilts.
But therein lies one of the problems. Its compact 4.4m footprint doesn't actually leave much space for bodies and bags. The boot stands at a compact 360 litres and rear space is merely ok, rather than roomy. If you only carry young children or adults occasionally, you'll be fine, but rivals offer more boot and passenger space.
That said, the Kuga bristles with clever touches: the boot lid opens whole or with just the pop-up screen, and the simple nudge action of the load cover is a masterstroke. It's impossible to refuel with unleaded thanks to Ford's unique filler flap, and there's no grimy fuel cap to unlock either.
Yep. It's still the best mainstream crossover to drive by some margin, and the Powershift addition to the diesel Kuga range only cements that experience. You'll look elsewhere if you want more space or top-notch interior fittings (the Kuga's cabin is neat enough, but lacks the substance of some German rivals), but as a car to cruise around in, or actually drive fast on a back road, it has few peers.
The Kuga just got better. Emissions are quite high at 179g/km, but most buyers will be private owners who will pay less tax penalty than business drivers. And Ford's remain expensive, nudging £26k in this spec. But we happen to know that you'll easily knock £2k off that simply by walking into a Blue Oval showroom.
This derivative is perhaps the best Kuga yet. The previous auto married the Focus ST's five-cylinder turbo, and was for plutocrats only. Now the diesel Powershift lands Ford slap bang in the middle of crossover central.
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Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCI 163 Powershift (2010) CAR review
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RE: Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCI 163 Powershift (2010) CAR review
I have to say that after test driving the 2.0 TDCI Kuga manual yesterday I found it quite surprisingly good. Unfortunately it was the 138hp version as I'm completely new to this vehicle and my g/f had initiated the appointment for the test drive from a local dealer so it did lack the power which I knew it would once I asked for the actual spec. However it was the Boss's Titanium 60 plate so was pretty new and good to drive. Power lacking aside it handled corners very well with a very small amount of body roll and great traction, ride was very smooth throughout and although I couldn't work out how to get the mpg up on the driver display in my 5 min test drive the figures promised are far better than say the Merc ML 320 or BMW's X5. I know there's an obvious size difference between the ML, the X5 and the Kuga but what I want to do is trade in a 10 plate TT and a 02 plate 330ci for a 5 door family car that is an all wheel drive, has good mpg and a decent spec inside and out but also can shift when I want it to... I have looked at the Audi S3 Sportback but feel for the money there's bits lacking inside somewhat (trade-off for the engines power no doubt) and fuel consumption isn't the best for it... However being alerted to the Kuga's potential and driving it I have to say it's now a contender, especially if I can find a 163 as the 140 was too sluggish for me to live with.
06 January 2011 06:16
when do we get this state side?
04 December 2010 15:38
RE: Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCI Powershift (2010) CAR review
It still looks a sad liitle beastie, like there ar tears in the corners of its eyes. I imagine it was the trauma of being vertically strecthed from a Focus.
29 November 2010 05:27
Given the problems that VAG have experienced with their Borg Warner DSG transmission (poor driveability and an effective global recall) this doesn't bode well for the Powershift transmission rated here as inferior does it?
29 November 2010 02:04
Considering its roots it is so way overpriced as to be only for the uneducated. There are loads of optional 4wd out there today which better this effort
28 November 2010 08:17
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