Car Reviews | Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente FWD A/T

Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente FWD A/T

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Built for the future

Ford has done it again. They’ve managed to successfully integrate clever technology and sophisticated design with excellent performance, and they call it the new Kuga. The newest addition to the family is sure to convey the high quality and premium nature of the Ford range. I liked the Kuga since the first moment I set my eyes on it in the showroom.

The Concept
Since its facelift in 2016, the new Ford Kuga has undergone a few tweaks here and there to keep it relevant. Advanced technology combined with a stunning appearance and impressive performance; this SUV is definitely in the running for a place within South Africa’s top SUV’s. It's well-specced and comfortable, with space for the whole family and all their luggage, too.

The Look
17-inch alloy wheels and a sportily-designed front end provide this SUV with an assertive road presence. I particularly like the curves along the sides, the smart grille and the piecing headlights, which are equipped with a follow me home feature as well as daytime running lamps. The silver roof rails on this model also does well to give a sense of capability, with a cheeky look to it that hints at an active lifestyle. Overall, it has a sophisticated yet athletic appearance, which is testament to Ford’s uncompromising quality.

The Feel
I love that fact that the rear passengers actually get enough knee room – this, for me, is a priority because I'm not particularly fond of having my kids’ knees jabbing into my back whilst driving. To achieve the abundance of space in the cabin, the design team added a few nifty features, such as the backbench that is able to slide forward and backward to create a balance between legroom and boot space. Speaking of which, the boot is able to grow from 456 litres to 1653 litres when the rear seats are folded, creating an abundance of space to haul everything the family might need. The driver’s seat is extremely comfortable as well, thanks to a six-way manual adjustment (the front passenger enjoys a four-way adjustment) and lumbar support. The steering wheel is mounted with audio controls for utmost convenience and the high-quality cloth upholstery is durable and pleasant to the touch. It feels good to be behind the wheel, thanks to good visibility, a high seating position, and a commanding view of the road. I love the space and convenience of the layout, and thoughtful features like the adjustable load floor that deepens the cargo area for more storage and also creates a flat loading bed when the rear seats are folded down.

The Features
Ford has designed the cabin to conveniently have everything at your fingertips and it is also evident that safety has been prioritised. The infotainment system is equipped with six speakers, Ford’s SYNC software, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port. Comfort and convenience features include an automatic stop/start function, smart keyless entry with push-start button, rear parking sensors with a standard rear-view camera, one-touch electric windows and a hands-free (‘open sesame’) tailgate to help with loading those fragile art projects. Safety features include roll stability control (RSC) with curve control, Ford Duratorq TDCi, power child locks and seven standard airbags (including driver, front passenger, side-curtain for front as well as rear seats and driver’s knee). Also included is the steering column and pedals which are collapsible in a collision, to ensure the driver’s legs and feet are protected, anti-submerging seat bases, ISOFIX child seat anchorage, electronic stability programme (ESP) with anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA), as well as emergency brake warning, lane-departure warning and a lane-keeping aid.

The Kuga’s body structure has also been improved with advanced and intuitive technology with an ultra-rigid safety cell and crumple zones for further safety in the unfortunate event of a collision. Ford’s intelligent protection system (IPS) has also been included. It uses an integrated and sophisticated range of advanced technologies which have been specifically designed to protect the vehicle’s passengers. Additional driving aids include traction control, trailer stability control, hill launch assist and traction control. A Thatcham alarm system with volume sensing and a perimeter alarm looks after your vehicle when you aren’t around.

The Drive
The 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine is able to provide 132 kW of power and 240 Nm of torque. Fuel consumption is decent for an SUV, with a claimed figure of 6.9 litres per 100km, which will take you quite far with the 60-litre fuel tank filled to the brim. Handling is fantastic, thanks to the all-wheel drivetrain (AWD) and vectoring control that is able to automatically transfer torque to the wheel with the most grip, and this also helps to curb under-steer. Even as a hefty vehicle, there’s still more than enough thrust when it comes to performance, and especially at pull-off thanks to direct injection and an additional turbocharger. This means you don’t have to compromise on economy or performance, because you get both in one package. Overall, the driving experience is delightful. The supple suspension absorbs those pesky potholes with ease, body roll is almost non-existent and the six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission makes traffic a breeze.

Where to find it
Visit Motus Ford in Kempton Park if you would like to find out more about this ferocious Ford, or to speak with a professional. You can also visit

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