The manufacturer says: “We’re following the trend,” said Stewart Rowley, head of Ford Europe, justifying the focus on the SUV. The brand has already phased out all sedans in the United States. “That was necessary,” Rowle told the journal “Auto, Motor und Sport”. The segment in which the newly introduced Puma and now the Kuga are on the move is growing significantly, even if they are not yet able to reach the Focus compact car.
The Kuga also shows a new side at the wheel, at least in the top model. There is the first plug-in hybrid that Ford offers in Europe on a large scale. The Kuga therefore starts quietly: Without having to be particularly gentle with the accelerator pedal or having to select the pure electric mode from the driving programs, the SUV buzzes electrically most of the time and makes no move beyond the town sign to start the petrol engine: up to 135 km / h The 97 kW electric motor can do the job on its own – and in the best case for a maximum of 56 kilometers. Only those who really want to storm to 100 km / h in 9.2 seconds or blow at a maximum speed of 200 km / h are dependent on both engines.
Ford does not contest that the four-cylinder engine produces a rather meager 152 hp due to the 2.5-liter displacement process, where the Eco-Boost engines often achieve more than twice the output per liter: This reduced power is provided by the electric motor more than balanced.
Another problem of the Atkinson cycle is effectively tackled by the engineers, just like the howling high speeds caused by the continuously variable automatic: the noise level. As with noise cancellation headphones, electronics analyze all background noises and, with targeted counter-sound, ensure quietness when traveling. Oh, if that could also work with the genes of the next generation at the push of a button. Then the Kuga would become the perfect family carriage.
You have to know: The new Kuga has been available for order since the end of last year and will be delivered from the end of April at prices that start at € 26,300. The plug-in hybrid of the top model, which costs at least 39,900 euros, is not the only electrified drive: Ford is offering three different hybrid drives for the Kuga for the first time: the manufacturer links the 150 hp 1.5-liter diesel engine with one Mild hybrid system including 48 volt technology and starter generator; and at the end of the year, the 2.5-liter engine from the plug-in hybrid will also be available with a smaller backup battery without a socket connection than conventional full hybrids. If you don’t want to fly electrically, you can order the Kuga with a 1.5 liter petrol engine with 120 or 150 hp or as a normal diesel with 1.5 liter displacement and 120 hp or 2.0 liters and 190 hp output. Later there is said to be a Kuga ST, which should then particularly highlight the sporty side with well over 300 hp.
We will not forget that: The brake trainer with which Ford wants to help plug-in hybrid drivers to recover more efficiently. The further the driver looks ahead and the gentler he brakes, the more the Kuga decelerates with the electric motor converted to a generator and gives the driver eco-points. With a little practice, you can quickly get values close to the 100 percent mark. Even if the SUV flood is apparently unstoppable, you still get this model with a really good feeling when standing.