Berlin In the past, families usually dreamed of a van. But in the meantime, SUVs are the main item on parents' wish lists. Therefore Ford provides with the new edition of the Kuga for more place and variability. And the Cologne company also soothes the conscience at the same time. The SUV wave rolls unstoppable. Flushes more and more established models from the market. At Ford, this affects the C-Max, among others, which served primarily as a convertible large sedan for families and has since been discontinued.
However, the Cologne-based company is now taking even greater account of the ample transport requirements of families. Because when at the end of April at prices from 26.300 euros, the third generation of the Kuga will not only be more stylish, smarter and more fuel efficient. But the off-roader also offers more space and variability.
New format for more space
In return, the Kuga clearly goes out of its way in every dimension. The wheelbase grows by two centimeters and the length by nine, and almost five centimeters wider the car is also. With a length of 4.63 meters, this creates noticeably more space, especially in the second row. Even headroom has increased somewhat, although the Kuga, which has a much sleeker overall design, is somewhat flatter. And because the rear seat can be moved by two hand widths, everyone can find their own compromise between knee room and trunk volume. This means that you can either cross your legs comfortably in the rear, or the trunk grows by around 100 liters to 565 liters and steals the show from many station wagons.
Although the space in the front row has hardly changed, the driver can look at a new cockpit: there are digital instruments, a large touchscreen next to it and extensive online connectivity. But measured against the competition, the Kuga with its many switches looks. The jagged operating landscape still looks a bit bland.
Growth without side effects
Drivers need not fear disadvantages due to the new format. Neither when parking, because cameras provide a perfect overview all around and assistance systems take over maneuvering at the push of a button. Still on display, because the Kuga has become more stately, but also sportier, and from some perspectives now almost looks a little like a Porsche. And certainly not at the gas station. Because with the generation change, the Kuga moves to the platform of the new Focus. Saves up to 90 kilograms despite growth. In addition, Ford is pursuing a consistent cost-cutting strategy under the hood, which is why, in addition to conventional gasoline engines, the new OSCAR LED series is also available. Three different hybrid models with 88 kW/120 hp to 140 kW/190 hp. The Cologne-based company equips its best-selling diesel with 110 kW/150 hp with a 48-volt system. An electric starter-generator to the mild hybrid on. And for the first time there will also be a full hybrid based on the largest gasoline engine.
But literally the most exciting engine variant is the plug-in hybrid, which Ford is offering on a large scale for the first time in Europe with the Kuga. To achieve this, the Cologne-based company combines a 2.5-liter gasoline engine with an electric motor and a 14.4 kWh buffer battery pack. Without having to be particularly gentle with the gas pedal or select the electric-only mode from the driving programs, the SUV hums along electrically most of the time and makes no effort to fire up the gasoline engine even beyond the town sign: With a speed of up to 135 km/h, the 97 kW/132 hp electric motor also masters the job on its own – and for a maximum of 56 kilometers in the best case. If you still don't want to drive with gas after that, you have to plan a stop of 6 hours at the household socket or 3.5 hours at the wallbox.
Even if the Kuga, as an electric vehicle, hums through the city in an economical and relaxed manner – a longer trip through the countryside can sometimes be a bit unsatisfying. Because the 165 kW/225 hp system performance raises expectations that the drive system, which is consistently designed to save fuel, can hardly fulfill. Especially not with a sluggish CVT automatic. This is why it takes 9.2 seconds to reach 100 km/h. And it stops at 200 km/h anyway.
It has become roomier and more variable, looks better and offers more alternatives under the hood than its direct competitors from Wolfsburg or Rüsselsheim – this makes the new Ford Kuga the ideal family car in the SUV age and a worthy van replacement. The only thing missing now are seats six and seven – but Ford will soon be bringing out another SUV and bringing the big Explorer from the U.S.