Life as a motoring writer means that other cars come and go all the time, but the Kuga has been a familiar occupant of our driveway for some months now. The time is looming for its departure, and I’m slightly surprised to acknowledge how much it has inveigled its way into my affections. It’s a tall, tough and tenacious SUV with premium overtones, and it’s a capable hunk that I really enjoy driving.
Recent early morning airport trips, with the climate control ramped up a couple of notches towards the warm zone and the driving seat heater switch aglow, have been chill-fighting reminders that summer is now over, and we are on the downward curve towards winter. That’s all the more reason to rue the Kuga’s imminent exit, with its capable 4×4 chassis and season-shrugging kit list.
The hunky Ford arrived on the Our Cars fleet with just 292 miles on the odometer. Now it has notched up over 11,000 and counting, with the first service still some time away at 18,000 miles or two years. Of course that will be routine, with no faults to date and no issues to report. The only small problem I’ve experienced during our time together was the tow-bar incident, when I inadvertently released the bar and then somehow managed not to re-latch it securely. Hence an annoying continuous alarm bleep that warned of the problem, until a pothole intervened and the bar re-engaged as the car thumped down into the crevice. I never thought I’d be grateful for a pothole, but I was that time.
Vignale versions of the Kuga are a less common sight on the roads than the standard models, which is understandable given the nearly £2k price premium over the next one down in the range, the Titanium X. I reckon it’s a fair uplift, though, for the extra equipment that comes with the Vignale. It’s a long list of over 20 worthwhile items. It includes the reversing camera that you wouldn’t want to be without in a tall SUV like this, and the ten-way power adjustable driver’s seat that features a much-appreciated inflatable lumbar cushion.
Also on the standard kit list are automatic parking, a heated windscreen, rain-sensing wipers, ambient lighting, leather seats in their attractive honeycomb design, and an upgraded nine-speaker Sony sound system. The quality of the hi-fi has been a star feature on some of the late night long-distance drives I do, travelling back from visiting far-flung family.
The other benefit of having the flagship Kuga is its Vignale exterior body styling kit features that hunk up the look of the car a bit more. It has a stronger version of what some designers call DRGs ñ Down-the-Road Graphics, with a posh-looking stretched honeycomb grille design instead of the more mundane horizontal bars of more common or garden Kugas.
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Date arrived 20th October 2017
Fuel economy 54.3mpg (combined) 40.8mpg (on test)
Ford’s EcoMode rewards you with green petals when you try to drive economically, which is good encouragement to improve your mpg.
The boot sill is quite high, measuring 63cms to the sill edge and 68cms at the inner lip, meaning a steep up-and-over heave to load in heavy items.