“There’s no need for us to get out of the car,” said one of our daughters…
Neil Lyndon and family dodge the Scottish summer weather in the 2017 Ford Kuga Titanium X
…when our plans for a picnic were threatened by yet another of the heavy showers that drowned out this year’s summer in Scotland. “We can just stay here and use these tables.”
You could see her point. The folding tables on the backs of the front seats on the Kuga Titanium X 2.0 TDCi we borrowed for last week were only one of the many trinkets our kids enthused over from their station in the rear seats, from which we are normally more accustomed to hearing only gripes and moans. Why choose a blanket on the sand and a hard-boiled egg coated with grit, when you can be comfortable on taughtly-upholstered leather seats with a 12v socket for your iPad and a central armrest that contains two bottle-holders big enough for cinema-size drinks?
The grown-ups (so-called) in the front had a similar spread of treats. The one that got the most admiration and was adjusted most frequently was the multi-coloured ambient lighting that runs around leading edges in the cockpit and winks and shimmers like a little puddle in the bottom of the cup holders between the front seats. I favoured a manly blue while my wife preferred a girly cerise. No gender stereotyping round here, then.
A predictable gender divide also made itself felt over our different attitudes to the experience of driving the Kuga. My wife liked the commanding outlook from the driving seat, even though this Kuga is 8mm lower than its predecessor. I enjoyed the responsiveness of the steering, the agility of the cornering, the firm but compliant ride and sharp handling that comes from tautened suspension settings and – now I come to think of it – a body that is 8mm lower. Seeing as its essentially an SUV box on wheels, the Kuga is quite engaging to drive, though anybody who enjoys a corner would go for the Focus on which the Kuga is based. Every time.
Our loan vehicle had come to us at the end of a long rota of motoring journalists who are not renowned for treating cars with kid gloves; so that might explain why there was a hint of something that sounded like valve-rattle from the 180 bhp two-litre diesel; and something that sounded distinctly like a binding brake from the rear end. Hard use was probably not to blame, however, for the hunty automatic gearbox that sometimes took so long to settle on a cog that it was quicker and more efficient to override it with the paddles mounted on the steering-wheel. The two-litre diesel in our car was punchy and rorty but averaged only 37 mpg, which is barely up to snuff for top SUVs these days.
As a family conveyance and kit carrier, the Kuga has a great deal to commend it. At £35220, all-in, it would not be my first choice but, given the fact that Kugas don’t retain resale value very handsomely, I suspect it would be a thoroughly sensible choice second-hand.
The kids would approve.
Car reviewed: Ford Kuga TITANIUM X 2.0 TDCi PowerShift AWD – Base Price On the road £33345 with options £35220 0-62mph 10 secs Top speed 124mph Fuel Economy combined 54.3mpg CO2 emissions 134g/km Engine 1997cc 4-cylinder diesel EU6 Max Power 180PS@3500 rpm Torque 400Nm@2000rpm Transmission 6-speed dual clutch man sequential auto mode
Well kitted out
Responsive and agile on the road
Effective ambient lighting
Can be thirsty
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