COLOGNE, Germany – The all-new Ford Kuga debuting in Europe is set to shatter the myth that an SUV can’t be green, high-tech, capable and exceptional all at once.
The new Kuga is the centrepiece of Ford’s strategy to expand in the fast-growing European SUV market and offers a surprising array of features and technologies, including:
• Ford’s Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, including exclusive Curve Control
• Segment first hands-free lift gate that operates with a gentle kicking motion
• Class-leading fuel efficiency, including optional EcoBoost petrol engine
• Ford SYNC with Emergency Assist.
“European customers have really taken the current Kuga to their hearts,” said Barb Samardzich, vice president, Product Development. “The new Kuga retains that charisma and adds remarkable new technologies, features and capability.”
Ford plans to leverage its global leadership in SUVs to deliver a comprehensive lineup of smarter vehicles to Europe. New Kuga will be followed by the modern and innovative EcoSport, Ford’s entry into the small SUV segment, and the Edge – a larger, more premium crossover that is a success in North America and other markets.
Ford has said it expects to sell more than one million SUVs in Europe in the next six years with SUVs accounting for 10 per cent of all Fords sold in the region by 2016. Since launching the first generation Kuga in Europe in 2008, Ford has sold more than 300,000.
Production of the new Kuga started this month at Ford’s assembly plant in Valencia, Spain. Just six months after going on sale, the new Kuga’s North American counterpart the Ford Escape, has achieved its best ever sales year.
“Ford’s unrivalled heritage uniquely positions it to offer a smarter SUV range that taps into the increasing demand for utility vehicles from our European customers,” added Samardzich.
Class-leading driving ability
The smart AWD system pre-emptively reassesses conditions 20 times faster than it takes to blink an eye, readjusting the AWD power split to give the driver the best blend of handling and traction.
The primary goal of the AWD system at low speeds is traction; at speeds above 30 km/h the AWD system is tuned to improve driving feel, handling and responses. A unique cluster display shows drivers the torque demand of each wheel at any moment.
Ford Curve Control acts as a safeguard for drivers who have entered a bend with too much speed. The system mitigates against severe understeer by aggressive braking and can, if the driver is still pushing their foot down on the accelerator, also reduce engine torque.
“Curve Control can support drivers if they find themselves in a situation where they are travelling too fast for the road conditions or layout,” said Michael Nentwig, assistant chief programme engineer, C Cars, Ford of Europe. “The obvious example is on a curved slip road coming off a motorway. If the driver hasn’t reduced speed sufficiently this system can step in and safely slow the vehicle down by around 16 km/h per second.”
Dynamics and cornering control are improved by the introduction of the enhanced Torque Vectoring Control
system developed with the Focus RS. This helps to deliver Ford’s fun-to-drive DNA by applying a small amount of braking to inside wheels to assist drivers through fast bends.
Innovation inside and out
Stylish new Kuga offers space for more luggage than the current car and a luggage compartment that can be accessed more easily. Ford’s hands-free tailgate
can be opened or closed simply by a kicking motion beneath the rear bumper to either open or close the powered tailgate; and new Kuga offers 46-litres more luggage compartment-space than the current model, while the rear seats fold flat in one movement.
The volume of road noise and wind noise audible has been significantly reduced compared with current Kuga to help deliver one of the quietest cabins in the segment. Improvements were delivered following the innovative use of elliptical acoustic mirrors to measure exterior elements that can influence the noise and vibration inside the car.
From the initial design, new Kuga was engineered to be as visually appealing up close as it is from a distance with spaces between panels no wider than 0.5mm. The craftsmanship inside emphasises feel and touch through use of a soft instrument panel and soft door upper roll. Particular attention was paid to deleting exposed fasteners on moving parts like tailgate, sun visors and glove box. New Kuga also features an openable panorama roof.
“We’ve evolved the vehicle to incorporate more space and a faster silhouette, a more precise execution and a higher quality feel,” said Martin Smith, executive design director, Ford of Europe.
All-new Ford Kuga will launch with a global colour called Ginger Ale, a subtle green hue to reflect its active outdoor capabilities, with rich, sophisticated tones to harmonise with the slick urban environment where many models will find a home. Sterling Grey will also be a launch colour in Europe.
Class-leading fuel economy
New Kuga will deliver class-leading fuel economy through significantly improved fuel efficiency from a powertrain lineup that, for the first time, includes EcoBoost engine technology. Petrol engine fuel consumption has been reduced by 25 per cent and diesel engine fuel consumption by 10 per cent.
New Kuga offers a 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine available as a 150 PS front-wheel drive that achieves from 6.6 l/100 km and 154 g/km CO2; and a 182 PS AWD version that achieves from 7.7 l/100 km and 179 g/km.CO2.*
It also offers a 2.0-litre TDCi Duratorq diesel engine available with 140 PS in front-wheel drive and AWD versions offering from 5.3 l/100 km and 139 g/km CO2; and a 163 PS version that achieves from 5.9 l/100 km and 154 g/km CO2.
Ford’s low emission ECOnetic Technology features available across the lineup include Eco Mode, Gear Shift Indicator and Active Grille Shutter that reduces drag and cuts fuel consumption. AWD models will be available with automatic transmissions
Engineered for outstanding safety
New Kuga was awarded a maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP after achieving an overall protection score of 88 per cent, the highest-ever for a mid-sized SUV.
The independent vehicle safety organisation awarded new Kuga an Advanced reward for Ford SYNC with Emergency Assistance. Upon detecting airbag deployment or activation of the emergency fuel shut-off within the car, Emergency Assistance uses the on-board GPS locator and Bluetooth-paired device to set up an emergency call and provide GPS co-ordinates, in the local language.
Ford engineers used ultra-high strength steels in the body structure of the new Kuga and a specially designed ring reinforcement around the panoramic roof to ensure rigidity and strength. New Kuga also offers Roll Stability Control and Trailer Sway Control.
“This is the most technology we have ever offered with a Ford car in Europe” said Michael Nentwig, assistant chief programme engineer, C Cars, Ford of Europe. “This helps new Kuga become a better car right across the board – and delivers a smarter SUV”.
Prices for the new Kuga in Europe will be released soon with customers able to place orders before the end of the year.