As a dyed-in-the-wool diesel man, news that the Ford Kuga that I had ordered had been switched from a diesel to a plug-in hybrid petrol version was a shock to the system. Years of running cars that could be relied upon for covering large distances with great fuel economy were over. At face value, we’re the perfect family for running a plug-in hybrid vehicle, as the majority of our journeys are made up of urban, relatively short trips, with a smattering of longer, holiday miles thrown into the mix.
Different scenarios raced through my mind, including how was I going to charge it. At home we don’t have a wallbox charger, yet, but this will be the perfect opportunity to get one sorted out. We’re lucky to have a garage and driveway for a pair of cars, and so it should be relatively easy to put the car on charge after every journey – ‘should’ being the operative word. Will I forget to plug it in, or will I resent the extra hassle of charging it up, every time I return home, wanting to do nothing more than pour a cold beer and fall asleep on the sofa. The reality has been somewhat different and now I’m in a routine that I open the garage, plug the car in and forget about it. Assuming the car is empty of electricity, it takes six hours to recharge using a three-pin plug and three-and-a-half hours if you’ve got a home charger installed. The FordPass app that is a great companion to the car, neatly messages me to say when the car is fully recharged, though interestingly I’ve never had more than a 29-mile electric range, even though Ford’s official figures say 35 miles should be possible. It’s something I’ll be monitoring.
First impressions are good, and that’s hardly surprising, as the Kuga is very much akin to a Focus on stilts, and so not that dissimilar to this car’s predecessor on the driveway – the Focus Estate. The interior is largely the same, though I’m impressed with the 12.3-inch digital instruments that come as standard on the ST-Line X Kuga. The bright blue background is colourful and delivers a hi-tech feel to the cabin. The driving position is good, the buttons and controls are usefully grouped, and there’s a long list of goodies to keep me occupied on a long journey. I’m pleased to see that the windscreen and both front seats are heated, but disappointed that the steering wheel isn’t. I’ve got into the habit of having the cabin ice cold and the steering wheel heating on, even in the midst of summer, but I’ll have to forego that treat in the Kuga.
The optional extras that we chose were free from frivolity and were selected to add an extra dimension of safety to the Kuga ST-Line X package, and consist of a mini spare wheel at £100, full LED headlights and head-up display for £400, as well as front and rear cameras, adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition, blind spot warning and active park assist, all for an extra £1,000. The package also includes a piece of kit that I think every new car should come fitted with, and that’s door edge protectors. A particularly neat invention, as you open the car door, a piece of soft protective plastic extends automatically to cover the extremities of the doors, so that you can’t damage them on a wall or by touching another car, for instance. While it won’t actually stop a neighbouring car putting a ding into your door, it gives a warm and fuzzy feeling, safe in the knowledge that you can’t damage anything around you, and is particularly handy if you’ve got kids to control that don’t realise the damage they can do.
One final optional extra is the £600 paintwork in what Ford calls Chrome Blue. It’s an attractive shade that suits the shape of the Kuga by being not too dark and not too light – a Goldilocks choice, if it were. For those not wanting to shell out any extra for paint, there’s the choice of just one colour – Blazer Blue – and that’s a solid, darkish hue. Solid white is £250, a range of five metallic colours are £600, while dark grey is £750. Three pearlescent shades of red, white and orange complete the repertoire at £850.
Date arrived 12th June 2020
Fuel economy 201.8mpg (WLTPcombined) 76.3mpg (on test)
Total Mileage 649 Electric Mileage 332
The blue digital instruments look really snazzy.
Disaster! A heated steering wheel is missing from the kit list.