PRETORIA, South Africa – Women on Wheels (WOW), published by Associated Magazines, recently named the Ford Kuga the best compact SUV in South Africa as part of its 2013 WOW Women’s Car of the Year Awards (WCOTY).
Over 30 000 votes were cast by readers and combined with the judges’ votes to decide the winning cars in 12 categories.
Launched in South Africa earlier this year, the Kuga is available with a 1.6L EcoBoost petrol engine ,in both manual and SelectShift automatic guise, and a 2.0L TDCi turbo diesel engine with PowerShift automatic transmission.
Apart from its fuel efficient engines, the stylish compact SUV combines striking design and functionality with a rewarding driving experience. Smart technology like Ford’s voice activated in-car SYNC connectivity system is available as standard while features such as Active Park Assist are available as options on certain models.
A number of advanced safety technologies are available as options Adaptive Cruise Control senses when traffic is slowing, and regulates the vehicle’s speed accordingly. When the traffic clears, it goes back to the vehicle’s pre-set speed.
The Kuga’s Blind Spot Information System lets you know when there’s a car in your blind spot, while Lane Keeping Aid alerts the driver via a steering wheel vibration if they inadvertently drift into another lane and simultaneously directs the driver back their lane.
Active City Stop also ensures a safer driving experience in slow moving traffic. If the traffic ahead should suddenly stop, while moving at speeds less than 30km, the brakes will automatically be applied limiting the potential of a collision.
Another favourite is “open sesame” - a hands-free automatic tailgate, allowing customers to open or close the rear tailgate by simply sweeping a foot under the rear bumper.
These features clearly resonated with the public with the Kuga standing out as the leader in the ever-growing compact SUV segment
“We’re extremely proud to receive this award,” said Ford Marketing Manager Gavin Golightly. “The Kuga has clearly struck a chord with the female market thanks to its smart technologies, fuel efficient engines and versatile packaging.”
The Kuga was selected as the winner of its categories after readers votes were assessed and verified by a select panel of judges. On the panel were Liana Reiners, owner and publisher of Car and Leisure, the Mail & Guardian motor editor Sukasha Singh, former editor of Avusa’s MotorMania Mabuyane Kekana, Wheels24 content producer Janine-Lee Gordon, award-winning motoring journalist Peta Lee, DStv Ignition’s Lindsay Vine and Driving in Heels blogger and managing director Vuyi Jabavu.
Charleen Clarke, editor of WOW, comments that the compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) sector is one of the most competitive within the motor industry. "We have seen a plethora of SUV model launches over the past couple of years. As such, this was one of the most hotly-contested sectors within the WOW Car of the Year Awards this year. But the Ford Kuga, with its winning combination of practicality, versatility and style, stands out head and shoulders above the rest. Our readers are especially impressed with its beautiful styling and spacious interior. Safety features are also exceptionally important to WOW readers and the Kuga certainly ticks all the boxes in this department too. It is a well-deserved winner."
“We are absolutely thrilled with the participation of our readers in this competition. Because of the volume of votes, these awards are a real-life indicator of South African women’s favourite cars,” said Charleen Clarke, editor of WOW and convener of the WCOTY judging panel. “Each year more readers get involved in voting for their favourite cars, which just goes to show that women are researching and selecting the cars they want to drive.”
WOW was distributed with the July issues of Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, House and Leisure, and O, The Oprah Magazine while the www.womenonwheels.co.za portal features regular motoring updates.