HAKONE, Japan – A large contingent of reporters, photographers, editors and bloggers gathered recently in the picturesque lakeside town of Hakone in central Japan to take a spin in the newest addition to Ford Japan’s product line up -- the sporty new Ford Kuga.
With scenic Mt. Fuji as a backdrop, this long anticipated four-day Ride & Drive event was attended by more than 200 media representatives, who were based at the Hotel de Yama on the shores of Lake Ashi. Ford Japan’s senior executive team, including President Tim Tucker and Director Hiroshi Kinoshita, were all in attendance to introduce this popular, European-designed SUV.
“Ford Kuga is the latest addition to Ford's venerable Sport Utility line-up for Japan, which includes Explorer and Escape, along with Lincoln's MKX and Navigator,” Tucker said.
“Ford Motor Company's history of Sport Utility Vehicles is well known by Japanese import buyers and Kuga is positioned nicely between the entry level Escape and the larger displacement Explorer,” he added. “Early Kuga pre-orders include many current European sedan owners, along with an increasing number of new to Ford customers -- something we are delighted about and expect to see increase over time.”
The Kuga made an overwhelmingly positive first impression, with many of the journalists giving the Ford SUV high marks for its handling and power.
“The handling characteristics are such that even ordinary drivers will be able to recognise them,” said Koji Ozawa, a freelance contributor to Yukan-Fuji newspaper and ENGINE magazine. “The automobile exceeds expectations overall and is a ‘great find’.”
Hirohisa Kaneko, who writes for Motor Magazine, added: “What is good about the Kuga is that it handles like a sports car, but is not overly sensitive. The high rigidity of the body, in spite of the large panoramic roof, is impressive.”
The Kuga’s unique kinetic design and beautiful lines were well received by both automotive and lifestyle journalists
“Attention to detail, such as the two-way rear lift gate and a catch-all container box is appreciated. It reinforces the impression that the manufacturer understands SUV users well,” said Shun Kondo, chief editor of the Car Graphic website.
The new Ford Kuga will be officially launched in Japan on October 28.