Ford Kuga: no fire suit required

The Ford Kuga does not have an enviable reputation, as vehicles go. And there are indeed some negatives, but mostly positives in the 2.0 TDCI Titanium model, says Thomas Falkiner

04 March 2018 - 00:00 By Thomas Falkiner
The Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCI Titanium model is a pretty and capable SUV.
The Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCI Titanium model is a pretty and capable SUV.
Image: Supplied

A Ford Kuga!? Are you writing this from the burns trauma unit, Falkiner?

Wow - PC much? No, I'm actually typing it from the comfort of my desk as the Kuga I had on test happened to be the 2.0 TDCI Titanium.

This diesel-powered model is definitely the pick of the Kuga bunch as it blends strong mid-range pull with reasonable frugality. There's some turbo-lag below 2,000rpm (annoying at times) but once past this point it is most agreeable.

Cool. So no fire suit required then, I get it. What's it like to drive?

Ford does know a thing or two about building cars that are a blast to pilot. And the Kuga is no exception. For despite its dimensions this SUV feels taut and lively: you can fling it around with about the same enthusiasm as a Focus hatchback.Impressive.

Ford has also turned a trick with the suspension system, which manages to be pleasingly firm but never harsh or uncomfortable. The quick electric power steering has a good weight but a little more feedback would not go amiss.

People spend a lot of time inside SUVs. Is this one nice to spend time in?

The Kuga has the most supportive, comfortable seats I've sampled in a long time. Trust me on this because I have the lower back of an octogenarian war veteran who's woken up hung over on a cold day. Unfortunately the dashboard layout, though modern in design, is a bit of an ergonomic nightmare. It's like a big basket of buttons exploded and landed randomly in unfamiliar and illogical places.

Ford really needs to work on its switchgear placement. They should also look at streamlining their infotainment system. Sync 3 might have a lot of built-in functionality but I found the menu system confusing and clunky.

My biggest gripe comes down to the quality of some of the interior plastics - or lack thereof. The centre console in particular is an absolute farce: an assemblage of degenerate polymers that would make a takeaway box blush.

Acceptable in a Figo but not in a R506k SUV. Come on, Ford, up your game.

Yeah, that's not exactly cheap. Do you get plenty of features for this money?

You do indeed. Dual-zone climate control, satellite navigation, a nine-speaker Sony audio system and two USB ports are just some of the nice-to-haves that came standard in my test car.

I also enjoyed the hands-free power tailgate that, when you swing your leg under the rear apron, opens and closes all by itself.This is awesome when your hands are full of groceries and the rain is pelting down.

My test car was also fitted with the optional Driver Assistance Pack that throws in automatic braking assist, blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control.

So you approve then, do you?

I sure do. It might have some issues but on the whole the Ford Kuga 2.0TDCI Titanium is a pretty and pretty capable SUV. Especially from behind the wheel where keen drivers who genuinely enjoy going from A to B will delight in its sharp handling, accomplished ride and perky turbodiesel punch.


Price: R506,900 

No. of cylinders: 4

Max speed: N/A

0 - 100 km/h: 10.4 sec 

Power: 132kW

Engine capacity: 1997 cc

litres/100km: 10.3 l