A month in from the arrival of our top-of-the-range Kuga and it’s settling in nicely on the driveway. In fact, the only difficulty we seem to be having is the way that friends and family pronounce the name. Apart from the car nuts amongst us, virtually everyone pronounces the Vignale name wrong, which could be a problem for Ford’s poshest sub-brand. After all, if the punters can’t say it, how do you expect them to buy it? The most common way of saying it is Vig-Nail, whereas it should be pronounced Vin-Ya-Lee, all in a vaguely Gino D’Acampo-esque Italian accent, of course.
But that’s enough of the language lessons for this month, as we’ve been learning other things about our Kuga, and found that it is a little different to earlier cars that we’ve tested. Ever since the medium SUV was facelifted last year, the car has had orange indicator lenses incorporated within the headlights, which is common to the USA-specification Escape, the name the car wears on the other side of the pond. I’ve always disliked this, and it would seem that Ford’s European arm agrees, because as from April production, the Valencian-built car adopted a white lens, one that better blends in with the intricately ornate bi-Xenon headlights. Of course, they still shine bright orange when you indicate left or right, but when they aren’t in use, they don’t have the tango-like tone.
As the miles pile on, Iíve appreciated the sprightlier nature of the Kuga, compared to the outgoing Edge. Even though there’s a power deficit of 30bhp (177 versus 207bhp), the smaller Ford is 233 kilograms lighter and that explains why it feels more athletic. I still manage to slot the gear lever into ‘Sport’ virtually every time I move off though, rather than ‘Drive’, and wonder whether other Kuga owners do the same? After a few minutes, when I realise the gearbox isn’t changing up as swiftly as I would like, I remember what has happened and slot it upwards into ‘Drive’, where normal service is resumed. Maybe a separate ‘Sport’ button would solve this issue, rather than it being part of the gear lever’s gait.
At 277 millimetres shorter than the Edge – getting on for 12-inches – our Vignale is certainly easier to park, especially as it is almost 10 centimetres narrower, too. It makes it easier to slot into roadside parking spaces, as well as the more traditional bay at local supermarkets. Our car comes with an advanced parking system that takes over at the press of a button, but I’ve always been sceptical about these systems. Whilst you are messing around allowing the car to scan for an acceptable parking space, you could be engaging reverse and manoeuvring into the spot. I’m going to persevere with this one though, as the technology has moved on a lot since I first experienced it – my findings will be in a future issue.
Date arrived 20th October 2017
Fuel economy 54.3mpg (combined) 41.4mpg (on test)
Clear indicator lenses look much neater than the orange items used on the earlier models.
The Vignale name is difficult for non-car enthusiasts to pronounce.