Ford Kuga 1,5 Trend

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This highly technologically-advanced SUV has a 5-star safety rating and is slowly regaining lost ground with an excellent value proposition that struck a chord with me. Depending on model, there is the option of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive models and three specification levels.

By RUBIN VAN NIEKERK

The Hands-Free Power Tailgate is one of the most useful features, whatever you may be struggling to carry. Steering wheel and air-conditioning controls operate through fewer, clearly distinguishable buttons and switches, making the controls easier to recognise and navigate.

Audio functions plus connected smartphones using simple, more conversational voice commands is the most customer-centric system to date. Operating the 8-inch touchscreen works in the same way that you use your smartphone with pinch and swipe gestures. This smart phone functionality makes apps and services that are already widely used accessible in safer and seamless ways.

Sophisticated technology for safer driving includes Low-Speed Collision Mitigation, Blind Spot Information System, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Aid. Using additional ultrasonic sensors, Perpendicular Parking enables drivers to locate parking spaces alongside other cars as well as parallel to the road and steers the vehicle into them while you simply focus on controlling the accelerator and brake.

The lively 1,5-litre engine gets the most out of the six-speed automatic transmission and due to being turbocharged, it operates very efficiently in Gauteng that is 1800 metres above sea level. Fuel consumption levels were higher than expected, though. The marvellous suspension ensures good handling and the ability to swallow speedbumps effortlessly.

I thoroughly enjoyed its impressive overtaking ability, which benefits from the healthy power-to-weight ratio.

www.ford.co.za

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