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Ford Kuga ST Line in Lucid Red

Ford Kuga Review

Published on February 11th, 2022 | by Thomas Kerrigan

Last November Ford gave us the chance to try out the all new Kuga ST Line. Our Head of Sales, Sean Dalton, assembled an avengers-esque Agility team of car drivers to review this vehicle. They were all tasked with looking intently at different aspects of the vehicle.

The team judged the car on the five categories of Design, Comfort, Practicality, Infotainment and Performance, scoring each out of 5 (with 1 being poor and 5 being exceptional). These then made a final overall score for the vehicle, ranked on our Agility leader board. Now, let’s look at the car itself.

The 2021 Ford Kuga we got the chance to look at was the ST Line, with Lucid Red paint and 18-inch alloys, priced at £32,545. Only the ST Line X and Vignale have higher specifications.

  • Design - 4/5

    On initial inspection, the ST Line Kuga looks like it has a bit of character about it. The new front bumper, sloping roof and accentuated side skirts show off the slightly sportier look. Those sporty features, coupled with the Lucid Red paint, give this car a positive first impression.

    Other external design features that we loved were the pop out door protectors. These spring-loaded bumpers come out and protect the Kuga against those annoying wall and trolley dings. The other is the automatic boot, which can be operated with a double tap from the Ford’s key.

    Inside the vehicle this SUV is clearly designed with one aspect in mind; space, and there is an abundance of it. You could comfortably fit four 6ft individuals in and still have space to move around.

    There are some nice additional features, such as rear heated seats and climate control, meaning any rear passengers can have that extra level of comfort. In the front, there are large adjustable cup holders, and plenty of other storage areas in the doors and centre console.

    The ST Line Kuga comes with excellent parking cameras; making it much easier to park a larger vehicle. Another superb design feature is the climate control, encompassing traditional physical dials rather than being built into the infotainment system. Climate control is something adjusted regularly by drivers, so when you have to flick through multiple menus just to stop the car from steaming it can become quite tedious and frustrating.

    Some of the design downfalls and oversights include the stop/start button being in an awkward position. It took a while to find by most people when they got into the car. The pedals were slightly awkward, with foot slips during driving which perhaps could have been prevented with grip features on the surface of the pedals.

    The charging mat did not work and it was inconvenient that Apple Car Play and Android Auto worked only by being directly plugged in. Furthermore, the heads-up display was found by some to be slightly distracting and a bit uneasy on the eye. Other SUV crossovers, such as the Nissan Qashqai, have this display projected directly onto the windscreen, rather than an unattractive extra piece of acrylic protruding out of the dashboard.

    The final design feature that could be improved is the collision assist, which was found to be over sensitive and unnecessarily annoying. Of course, we want our cars to be as safe as possible, but being over bearing frustrates drivers and results in them turning the feature off, thus making the vehicle more unsafe.

    Reviewed by Jenna Cockette, Customer Relationship Manager

  • Comfort - 5/5

    The Kuga was very comfortable to drive, especially for dubious drivers of larger vehicles and those used to a smaller hatchback size. The 10-way adjustable seating control was great to get the perfect seating position, making journeys feel stress free.

    The buttons were a feature liked by all, to tilt the base of the seat as well as adjust the lumbar support on the backrest. You can easily find the best seating position regardless of your height.

    The part leather upholstery  made the seats feel more premium. The physical climate dials were easy to use, therefore the heat was easy to adjust whilst driving. The centre console had an adjustable arm rest, which made the driving experience more comfortable when changing gear, and the leather steering wheel felt premium.Interior of the Ford Kuga with part leather seats

    The heads-up display was quite difficult to get used to initially, but after a few journeys of it would prove beneficial to have so you are constantly aware of your speed, as well as the speed limit for the area. It also had a subtle prompt showing when to change gear and when to apply the brake to slow down, without having to take your eyes off the road.

    The spaciousness within the vehicle makes it very comfortable for everyone in the family, whether being used for a short school run or on a long road trip.

    Reviewed by Jessica Powell, Fleet Partner Relationship Manager

  • Practicality - 4/5

    The practicality of this car is excellent. The space needs to be mentioned again as this accommodates the whole family, and whatever they need with everyone in tow.

    The Kuga was incredibly easy to drive, resulting in a stress free journey. The large boot space of 475 litres (1481 Litres with the seats down) impressed everyone in the office. This vehicle would happily take on any storage challenge from sports kits to camping equipment.Sean showing the boot space of the Ford Kuga

    The automatic boot is also a big tick in the box for practicality. Any situation where your hands are full is no longer a problem. A lower suspension, to assist further with loading, would have been a nice addition to have.

    Reviewed by Callum Jones, Assistant Accountant

  • Infotainment - 2/5

    The Ford infotainment system has not changed in the Ford Kuga since the 2019 model. They are still using their Sync 3 operating system, and still have the same protruding 8-inch touch screen. It is certainly a good upgrade from their previous built-in screen last seen in the 2018 model of the Kuga.

    Dash with the infotainment system displayed

    The screen is responsive and easy to use, with nice big icons, and it has a very simplistic feel, meaning it is one of the easiest systems for a new user to familiarise themselves with. However, this is where the positives end.

    The whole system would benefit from a total refresh. The screen felt like it was facing down the centre of the vehicle, which looked peculiar from the driver’s seat. Most cars have the infotainment at more of a driver focused angle.  Whilst other competitors have been stepping up their game, Ford have been slightly behind in this area.

    There is, however, a new Sync 4 which has been installed in the new Mustang Mach-e and this is expected to become the new standard for Ford vehicles in the future. This would be a very welcome update to an already brilliant designed SUV.

    The Kuga did have Android Auto and Apple Car Play, which most people use as standard for their commutes, making the outdated Ford Sync 3 system less of an importance for most people. However, Apple Car Play and Android Auto were via USB cable only. We would hope to start seeing the introduction of these operating systems over the air like some competitors in the same class are starting to implement.

    There was also a customisable digital display where you could change the gauges and centre aspect to put trip, music or navigation on. This was a nice feature and looked quite smart going through the different options.

    Reviewed by Tom Kerrigan, Junior Marketing Executive

  • Performance - 4/5

    The performance of the Ford was very good. It was extremely smooth to drive and quiet from within the cockpit. The clutch was responsive and power steering extremely slick. For family driving or commuting, where you want to be relaxed and just enjoy the drive, this SUV can provide just that.Image showing the ionic ST Badge on the side of the Ford Kuga

    It’s not the fastest vehicle, and had a small delay on power when changing gears. For a car this size we expected a bit more torque. However, this SUV was not built for speed so it can’t be a strong negative for the Kuga.

    Whilst driving, the gear box would make a strange pop when shifting gears. This did not appear to be a mechanical issue, but rather just how the gearbox was designed. The turning circle was bigger than expected, and although this would mean a few more attempts at parking, it was made much easier by the brilliant parking cameras with optional wide view.

    Reviewed by Mike McKernan, Sales Executive

Conclusion

In summary, we thought very highly of the Ford Kuga. When considering what it was designed for; a family car that needs to be ready for comfortable long drives and hectic school runs, this is definitely up there with the best in the category. This car has been well designed with minimal drawbacks, meaning everyone in the office was generally happy with it.

The Agility team gave the Ford Kuga an overall score of 19/25. To read more of our vehicle reviews click here.

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