FORD was a bit late entering the crowded SUV market, but I think it was worth waiting for their Kuga.
I first drove this neat SUV over a testing off-road obstacle course at Druid’s Glen golf course in County Wicklow last year. As I said before on these pages, car companies go to great efforts to show us what their SUVs can do off-road. In reality, the only grass that will touch the wheels of most SUVs is if the driver has to pull in and let another car pass on a CoO MYM Ouse IF
I genuinely expected the Kuga to pick up some silverware at the end- of-year Irish motoring awards, but it was beaten by the Volvo XC60 for SUV/Crossover of the Year at the Semperit sponsored awards.
Coincidentally, my week in the Kuga came immediately after testing the massive XC60. Naturally friends wanted to know which was the best. Comparisons in this instance are not fair; the XC60 is bigger and chunkier and much more expensive. The Kuga would probably be compared more with Nissan’s Quashgai, which is even cheaper. Ultimately it comes down to what you can afford in these recessionary times.
It’s no secret that I am a big Ford fan and as far as I’m concerned cars with the famous blue oval logo can do no wrong. But I also realise that others, including my own family, are not as keen on everything to come O)HmOm one
When I sat in I was immediately impressed with the way my back fit- ted snugly into the seat. There is am- ple seating for five adults. The boot is huge and of course the back seat can be let down to provide more carrying space if needed.
The interiors of most new cars are predominantly black, so it was nice to see a grey strip stitched to front and rear seats. The grey lines did brighten up the interior, but really I think they looked a bit naff.
The dash is regular Ford design with discreet slave controls for the radio/CD to the side of the steering Wheel. On the bonnet, straight in
your line of vision, are two raised creases which help you get a feel for where exactly you are positioned on the road.
Externally the car looks very neat. The front has attractive headlamps and the rear is well finished. Two sil- ver roof racks add to the SUV effect.
At night you get the benefit of a dis- creet light under the side mirrors to
help you walk away from the car in leyu rca alae lente
The Kuga, which is built on the same platform as the Focus and C- Max, handles very well and is I think ideal for city or rural driving. Natu- rally, being an SUV, the driving po- sition is high and the visibility front and back, is good.
Only available in 2.0 diesel, prices
Start at €32,565 for the five-door two-wheel drive Zetec and go up to €39,995 for the top of the range Ti- tanium All-Wheel drive. All models are in Band D for road tax which has risen to €447 per annum from Janu- Aan