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Bogdan Badea, Hidroelectrica
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The Kuga-r on the road

Long gone are the days where off-road cars were just boxes on wheels, with little motivation from the manufacturers to invest in the aesthetic aspect of the go-anywhere vehicles. But also long gone are the days when the market demanded “off-road vehicles”. Now they are called SUVs or SAVs or any other variations on the theme.

June 2013 - From the Print Edition

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This is also the case with the Kuga, Ford's representative in the SUV class. The model has been around for a few years now, enjoying much success among young families and the female clientele.

This year the Kuga got a mid-life facelift which came with minor exterior and interior improvements, meant to keep the look fresh for the fashionistas.

The Kuga feels at home in the city, being as narrow as a compact-class car, with large windows and good visibility, except in the back. The cockpit is friendly and creates a sense of space and good space usability, similar to a family van.

Driving the Ford Kuga was smooth on the road, and quite economical in terms of fuel consumption (it used approximately 10.5 liters per 100km). On city roads the Ford Kuga offers easy handling, being quite agile and easy to control.

I did not venture off-road with the vehicles but reading through the car's technical specs, it seems that you won't get stuck in the first mud hole when going out for a picnic.

The inside of the car benefits from the latest technological gadgets available, and the collaboration with Microsoft for the Sync, which reads out text messages and gives you hands-free control of your music, phone calls or climate control.

Bluetooth connectivity is standard in both the Titanium and the Trend, and is a great feature that is now more and more common in even medium-class cars. There's also plenty of boot space and a clever split tailgate so you don't have to open the whole rear door for quick access the boot. Ford has also introduced a hands-free tailgate opening system to the Kuga. You have to simply wave your foot under the bumper and the tailgate will open and close.

Another feature worth mentioning is the emergency call assist. This service is free and available in Romania to all owners for the life of the vehicle. In the event of an accident, Sync will dial 112 and your paired mobile phone's location is communicated to the operator using text-to-voice. If your phone can't get a current location for the accident, it will use the last available coordinates. After the call connects, the line is opened, allowing the occupants to communicate information.

The price of a Kuga starts at EUR 21,950 including VAT for a Trend version equipped with the EcoBoost 1.6L engine and 150 HP, two-wheel drive and the Edition package, as a special offer from Ford.

Vital Statistics

Tested: 1,997cc, four-cylinder turbodiesel, six-speed manual transmission, all-wheel drive

Power/torque: 163 bhp and 340 Nm of torque

Fuel economy: 5.9 liter/100km in Combined cycle

CO2 emissions: 154g/km

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