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Journeys : Aug Sep 2012
He says Darren Moody Life on the move Kuga is a vehicle that Ford Australia has wanted since its European introduction in 2008, but supply wouldn’t stretch to our market so we missed out until now. Is it a case of better late than never? Kuga is one of those vehicles that leaves you w ith mixed feelings. The chassis, steering and handling are exceptional for an SU V. Excellent steering feel, little body roll and outstanding ride comfort all combine to give a rewarding experience for the driver, while not compromising the comfort of other occupants. The turbo-charged petrol engine is a solid performer. The five-cylinder Volvo-sourced power plant has appeared previously in Focus and Modeo XR variant s with great reviews and the Kuga isn’t any different. The extra weight of the Kuga blunts performance a little but Kuga still shades most others in this class. The extra performance does come at a cost – I struggled to get below 11L/100km and at times saw numbers that would rival an early Territory petrol. For me, inside is a different story. Ergonomically it just doesn’t work and shows its 2008 beginnings. Finding the obscurely- positioned starter button was the first challenge. A small silver button in the middle of the dash above the air vents w ith ‘Power’ embossed on it was a mystery to everyone I challenged to hop in and start it up. The full glass roof in the Titanium variant is nice to have, but the cheap-looking and difficult-to-close manual shades add to the feeling of a dated interior. Driver seat comfort for me was questionable – I felt just too big for it and sat on, rather than in it. That said, front-seat occupants had ample leg and head room, but rear passengers are not so lucky – the kids will manage but leg-room is restricted for average-sized adults. There’s a lot to like about the whole blue oval range at the moment, and in 2008 Kuga would have been a class-leading package, but with all manufacturers upping the ante to get a share of the booming SUV market, Kuga misses the mark a little – in my opinion, Ford would have been better served to hold off until 2013, when the next generation Kuga will be launched. 6830 ract.com.au | 13 27 22 Driver training for all drivers. Modern vehicles, expert instructors, individual driving lessons for learners and driver assessment RACT Driver Training graduates receive special discounts on joining RACT Roadside membership. Low-Risk Driver Training with both private and business courses. Hobart 6232 6399 Launceston 6335 5612 Devonport 6421 1918 Burnie 6434 2913 DRIVER TRAINING by p22_driver_3rdhoriz.pdf Page 1 5/07/12, 1:46 PM Life on the move August / September 2012 23
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