Last month, I touched on the great all-round visibility that the Kuga gives, thanks to its more upright styling and command-like driving experience.
But it isn’t just manoeuvring around flood water that this stance comes into its own, but also in day-to-day urban driving. Being slightly higher than most other cars on the road gives you a better view along the road, anticipating what is happening even further ahead than you would normally see, and therefore putting you in a better position to take avoiding action. So many drivers seem to be in auto-pilot these days, and don’t actually notice much more than what is going on at the end of their bonnet. I was always taught to read the road ahead, look several cars in front and anticipate what is likely to happen way down the road. It seems to be a skill that is missing these days – maybe driving instructors aren’t giving that kind of sage advice now. In car parks, you have that little bit of extra height to make shuffling the car around that little bit easier.
Having picked up an ankle injury several years ago, there are times that it is troublesome, especially when the weather is damp. So it’s a great boon to be able to hop into the Kuga and get comfortable. The raised stance makes getting in and out so much easier for people with mobility issues, and no wonder so many older people are discovering the advantages of driving a crossover. It’s more than a mere fad, and is a real no-brainer, offering more space in an upwards direction, while still retaining the same footprint of a medium-sized car. More and more large car owners are discovering the advantages, and it’s easy to see why cars like the Ford Kuga are becoming ever more popular.
Having driven a series of other cars this month, there’s one function in my Kuga that I really miss when I’m driving something else, and that’s the self parking system. While friends are wowed and call me lazy in equal measure, the real fact of the matter is that if the car is doing the steering automatically, there’s no risk of scraping your alloy wheels by poorly judged manoeuvres when you park yourself. Controlled by sensors all around the car, the system is activated by pressing the button on the centre console, ahead of the gear lever. A message on the central display says it is scanning for a parking space and when it finds one large enough, it tells you to select reverse gear, and operate the throttle and brake to move the car into the space, while the car automatically takes care of the steering. It’s a real marvel and is still a novelty watching the wheel spin around all on its own. Once into the space, all you need do is pull forward, and the system declares that it is finished. A quick check around the car, and you’ll see that it is perfectly positioned, just a few inches from the kerb. And it’s all completed in the same time that you would park yourself – in fact quicker, because the car knows exactly what it is doing, and you don’t have to waste time repositioning the mirrors to check where the kerb is, and how far your wheels are away from it. It’s part of the convenience pack on the Kuga, and along with all-round parking sensors and power folding mirrors, it’s a great option to have, and at £550 extra is a real snip. It certainly saves having to refurbish alloy wheel after alloy wheel after misjudged parking incidents.
|Whats Hot:||The automated parking system makes parallel parking on the high street an absolute dream.|
|Whats Not:||Shame there isnít a more frugal 1.6-litre TDCi edition to compete against the lower powered, two-wheel-drive Kia Sportage and Nissan Qashqai.|
|Date arrived:||1st August 2013|
|Mileage to date:||5,215 miles|
|Fuel consumption:||45.6mpg (official combined)
38.4mpg (on test)