No-one could ever describe the Kuga Vignale as poorly equipped, as it comes with a list of standard equipment as long as your arm. Items like a navigation system, upgraded Sony speakers, a reversing camera, an automated parking system, electrically operated tailgate and leather upholstery are all included within the asking price, but youíll need to shell out an extra £550 if you want items like autonomous emergency braking, driver drowsiness detection, blind spot warning, traffic sign recognition and a lane keeping aid. As the roads get busier, some of these items are becoming essential equipment, especially if you encounter the idiot that I did today. Travelling along a two-lane dual carriageway at just under 40mph, I was warned of a Corsa in my blind spot. I knew it was there because the little orange light was on in the door mirror and it made me take a second glance. And itís a good thing that I knew it was there, because he decided to attempt a manoeuvre that would have ended up in disaster for both of us, had I not been aware of his presence. On the outside lane he sped up, and then decided at the last minute that he wanted to turn down a side road on the left, cutting right across my path. I had already slowed a little, and had I not, he would have been T-boned. The Kuga reacted furiously, initiating an emergency stop just a micro-second or two before I jumped on the anchors myself. Thankfully we managed to avoid metal-on-metal contact, but had these safety devices not been fitted to our Vignale, we could now be discussing an altogether different outcome.
And this is the point of this monthís piece ñ I really think these safety devices should be standard equipment on a car that has a list price of more than £35k in standard form. I would be happy to forgo the automated parking system and the electric tailgate, just to have the Guardian Angel-like safety equipment on my car. Four months in and I think the automated tailgate is an unnecessary luxury, after all it takes only a second to reach up and pull the rear door to a close. And the automated parking system I always forget about, until Iím parked up. I will try it out one day, but the fact that I havenít used it in the past 120 days speaks volumes. From my experience of using other systems, it is simply quicker to park yourself. Iím sure it would be very handy for someone that isnít quite so confident about reversing into a roadside parking space, or has difficulty navigating the supermarket car park, but I donít have trouble with either, and so the technology is largely redundant for me.
Date arrived 20th October 2017
Fuel economy 54.3mpg (combined) 41.6mpg (on test)
The safety systems are working perfectly. I know, because I had to put them to the test this month.
With so many spokes, the wheels get dirty quite easily.