It’s been a month of driving a number of rival crossover vehicles, and so I’ve been best placed to give a considered opinion compared to my daily drive.
And I can safely say that in all cases, I’ve been very pleased to get back into my own car. You see, there are few car makers that have mastered the way a car drives like Ford has. Many rivals boast of ‘dynamic handling’ and a ‘sporty driving experience’, but in reality they just can’t cut it. Maybe they are compared to their predecessors, but there’s usually something missing somewhere. And yet it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what makes up the Ford DNA, but no matter which of their products you jump in to, within a few yards you know that it has been set up in the same way. Maybe it’s the pinsharp, alert and agile steering, or top-notch body control through the bends; all I know is that the current crop of Fords are pretty excellent in the smiles per mile measurement contest.
Moving onto the more tangible features of the Kuga, I reckon that you’ll have to hunt high and low to find another crossover that is so nicely kitted out at this price level. I know us motoring hacks go on endlessly about soft-touch plastics and squidgy materials, and there are some schools of thought that normal punters don’t give a hoot about them, but for me it is another way of measuring the level of care and detail that the designers have gone to, when delivering a quality, plush feeling product. I’d rather have dense, soft materials adorning the dashboard of my car, than cheap, nasty feeling plastics that are hard to the touch and brittle. It’s the reason why I choose an Apple product over anything else, have a Sony television and Bose audio system – it’s all because the quality of workmanship and attention to detail appears to be greater. And that brings me nicely onto one of the Kuga’s problems. I’ve already established that it delivers a first class driving experience, and that the materials it’s screwed together with are of excellent quality, but it’s the badge that is adorning the nose and tail that will let the car down in some people’s eyes. I’m not a badge snob, but there are plenty of people out there that are, that wouldn’t allow their driveway to be graced with a car that wears a badge so common as Ford. You could nail a BMW or Audi badge to the front and it would be perfectly acceptable, but the Blue Oval badge represents something much more working class and downmarket. And that’s a shame, because I truly believe those people are wrong and missing out.
I’m pleased to report that having been singing the praises of the Kuga for a long, long time, a friend has taken the plunge and bought one for himself. He takes delivery of his car in June, and apart from being finished in solid white and fitted with a manual gearbox, he has plumped for the same Titanium X trim level and 161bhp 2.0-litre TDCi engine that I have. For once, my advice has paid off and he has bought himself a great performing car that should hold a decent chunk of its money when he comes to sell it on. The same can’t be said for his previous purchase – he’s licking his wounds right now, having ignored my advice and bought a car that has been a residual nightmare, and shed a cartload of cash.
|Whats Hot:||The reversing camera super-imposes guide lines onto the image so you can see where you are likely to end up, depending on the positioning of your wheels.|
|Whats Not:||Friends and relatives have said that the new Kuga isnít as pretty as the old car, and Iím inclined to agree, though the new car is a whole lot more spacious and practical.|
|Date arrived:||1st August 2013|
|Mileage to date:||6,437 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||45.6mpg (official combined)
37.1mpg (on test)