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Ford unveils next-gen Kuga for SA: New hybrid SUV, drive modes, improved tech

2019-04-03 11:54
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Image: Quickpic

 • Sleek, spacious all-new Ford Kuga unveiled

 • Mild-, full- and plug-in hybrid powertrains

 • Based on Ford’s new global C2 architecture 

 • FordPass Connect, 12.3" digital cluster, wireless charging, SYNC 3 with 8" touchscreen, B&O Sound System

 • Distinctive all-new Kuga variants including Titanium, ST-Line and Vignale 

Ford has unveiled its stylish and distinctive range of new Kuga SUVs.

Ford says: "The Kuga Titanium, sporty ST Line and upscale Vignale will offer an advanced range of hybrid powertrains for unprecedented SUV fuel-efficiency."

The comprehensive line-up includes Kuga Plug-In Hybrid, EcoBlue Hybrid (mild-hybrid) and full-hybrid variants, powered by Ford’s 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel, 1.5 litre EcoBlue diesel and 1.5 litre EcoBoost petrol engines and mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

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Best-selling SUV

Kuga is Ford’s best-selling SUV in Europe and the No. 3 best-selling Ford vehicle in the region after the Fiesta and Focus. Customers purchased 153 800 Kugas in 2018, contributing to a Ford SUV sales increase of more than more than 19% in 2018.

When will it arrive locally? While Ford South Africa has expressed plans to launch its new Kuga locally it has yet to confirm a launch date.

Sophisticated technologies include a FordPass Connect embedded modem, wireless charging pad technologies, and Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system supported by an 8" central touchscreen. A premium B&O Sound System produces a high-quality audio experience, and a new industry-first, free-form, 12.3" LCD instrument cluster with “true colour” that is more informative, intuitive and easier to read.

New Stop/Go, speed-sign Recognition and Lane-Centring technologies help drivers negotiate stop-start and highway traffic with greater confidence than ever before, while predictive curve light and sign-based light help drivers see more clearly in the dark.

Head-up display technology helps drivers to keep their eyes on the road ahead, and Active Park Assist 2 enables fully automated parking manoeuvres at the push of a button.

The all-new Kuga is the third generation of Ford’s mid-size SUV for customers in Europe since the nameplate’s introduction in 2008. Ford has sold more than 1-million Kugas in Europe since 2008.

The range (Europe):

Kuga Plug-In Hybrid: Available from launch, the all-new Kuga Plug-In Hybrid delivers the driving range and freedom offered by a traditional combustion engine alongside the efficiency and refinement of an electric powertrain.

The power-split architecture combines a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle petrol engine, electric motor and generator, and 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery to produce 165kW. Ford’s first plug-in hybrid in Europe to deliver a pure-electric driving range in excess of 49km, the Kuga Plug-In Hybrid is anticipated to deliver from 1.2-litre/100km fuel-efficiency and 29 g/km CO2 emissions.The battery can be charged using a front fender-mounted charging port, and is automatically replenished on the move using regenerative charging technology that captures kinetic energy normally lost during braking.

It is anticipated that to fully charge the battery from an external 230-volt electricity supply will take around 4 hours.Drivers can choose when and how to deploy battery power using EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge modes.

When the battery reaches its lowest state-of-charge, the Kuga automatically reverts to EV Auto mode – supplementing petrol engine power with electric motor assistance using recaptured energy for optimised fuel-efficiency.

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Kuga EcoBlue Hybrid: The all-new Kuga EcoBlue Hybrid enhances Ford’s 110kW 2.0 litre EcoBlue diesel engine for even greater fuel-efficiency.

The mild-hybrid technology employs a belt-driven integrated starter/generator (BISG) that replaces the standard alternator, enabling recovery and storage of energy during vehicle de-celerations, and charging a 48-volt lithium-ion air-cooled battery pack.

The BISG also acts as a motor, using the stored energy to provide electric torque assistance to the engine under normal driving and acceleration, as well as running the vehicle’s electrical ancillaries.The 48-volt system also enables the all-new Kuga’s Auto Start-Stop technology to operate in more situations for additional fuel savings, contributing to anticipated CO2 emissions from 132 g/km and 5.0-litre/100km fuel-efficiency.

Kuga Hybrid: The Kuga Hybrid uses a self-charging full-hybrid powertrain that enables pure-electric driving capability and combines a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine; electric motor; generator; lithium-ion battery; and a Ford-developed power-split automatic transmission.

The Kuga Hybrid will be available later in 2020 with front-wheel drive and Ford Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, delivering from an anticipated 130g/km and 5.6-litre/100km. All-new Kuga customers can also choose from an advanced range of Ford EcoBoost petrol and EcoBlue diesel engines with optimised power and refinement, and meeting the latest stringent Euro 6 emissions standards calculated using the World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP).

Powertrains are supported by standard Auto Start-Stop for reduced running costs, and transmissions including a slick-shifting six-speed manual and new eight-speed automatic for effortless cruising.

Kuga EcoBlue: The 129kW 2.0 litre EcoBlue engine is anticipated to deliver fuel-efficiency from 5.7-litre/100km and 150 g/km emissions. Fuel-efficiency is enhanced using an integrated intake system with mirror-image porting for optimised engine breathing and low-inertia turbocharger. A high-pressure fuel injection system is more responsive, quieter and more precise. Standard selective catalytic reduction emissions after-treatment contributes to improved NOX reduction. Further 2.0-litre EcoBlue innovations that reduce friction, include:

• A 10mm offset crank design that minimises piston side-load, reducing rubbing forces against the cylinder walls• Steel pistons for optimised dimensions and less expansion when hot

• Minimised crankshaft bearing diameters

• A belt-in-oil design for the camshaft and oil pump drive belts

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Ford’s 1.5-litre EcoBlue engine is offered with 88kW and is anticipated to deliver from 4.8-litre/100km and 127 g/km CO2 emissions supported by innovative technologies, including:

Kuga EcoBoost: The 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine is offered with 88kW and 110kW and is anticipated to deliver from 6.5-litre/100km and 149 g/km CO2 emissions supported by Ford’s industry-first cylinder deactivation system for a three-cylinder engine.

The technology can automatically stop one of the engine’s cylinders when full capacity is not needed, such as when coasting or cruising with light demand on the engine. Cylinder deactivation can disengage or re-engage one cylinder in 14mm – 20 times faster than the blink of an eye – with no compromise in performance or refinement.

Core EcoBoost technologies including advanced turbocharging, high-pressure direct fuel injection and Twin-independent Variable Cam Timing, also feature. Particulate emissions are reduced using standard gas particulate filter technology.

• Adaptive Shift Scheduling, which assesses individual driving styles to optimise gearshift timings. The system can identify uphill and downhill gradients and hard cornering, and adjust gearshifts accordingly for a more stable, engaging and refined driving experience

• Adaptive Shift Quality Control, which assesses vehicle and environmental information to help adjust clutch pressures for consistently smooth gearshifts.

The technology can also adjust shift smoothness to suit driving style

The all-new Kuga’s 139kW 2.0-litre EcoBlue engine is combined with Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, and optimises low-end torque and noise, vibration and harshness, while also providing smooth and linear acceleration performance for a more comfortable driving experience.

Kuga also offers for the first time selectable Drive Mode technology that enables drivers to adjust throttle response, steering weight and traction control, plus gearshift timings for automatic models, to match responses and performance to the driving scenarios. Alongside Normal, Sport and Eco modes, Slippery mode offers drivers increased confidence on surfaces with reduced grip such as snow and ice.

Deep Snow/Sand mode helps maintain vehicle momentum on soft, deformable surfaces. The all-new Kuga makes it easier than ever to tow anything from to small trailers to large caravans using two innovative towing solutions, and towing capacity up to 2250kg depending on powertrain configuration.

An electrically operated retractable tow bar can be controlled using a conveniently located button in the boot space. Push the button once and the ball neck travels out from its stowage position under the vehicle. With another push of the button it automatically disappears back underneath the car. In addition, a detachable tow bar also is available and can be easily locked into place. When not in use the ball neck is stored in the boot.Comfort, spaciousness and flexibility

Comfort, spaciousness and flexibility are key to the more refined Kuga occupant experience that delivers class leading second row roominess. The all-new Kuga is 44mm wider and 89mm longer than the outgoing model, while the wheelbase has increased by 20mm.

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Inside, that translates to 43mm more shoulder room and 5mm more hip room in the front seats than the outgoing model, while rear passengers benefit from 20mm more shoulder room and 36mm more hip room. Despite an overall height that is 20mm lower than the outgoing model, all-new Kuga also has 13mm more headroom for front seat occupants and 35mm more in the rear. For rear seat passengers, heated outer seats are available for the first time, and the entire second row of seats can be moved backwards for best-in-class 1035mm rear legroom, or forwards to increase boot space by 67-litres. A remote release function enables the second row to be folded flat with ease.

The boot also has a reversible luggage compartment mat with a high-quality velour on one side for a premium look and feel, and a durable and robust rubber surface on the other side to prevent wet or muddy sports equipment from soiling the interior.Spacious, practical and well connected – all-new Kuga interior introduces innovative engineering and advanced comfort and convenience technologies that help the vehicle seamlessly integrate into customers’ lives.

For the first time, Kuga is offered with FordPass Connect embedded modem technology that turns the vehicle into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices.

In addition to helping drivers plan faster, less stressful journeys with Live Traffic updates for the navigation system and enabling occupants to stream entertainment on the move, FordPass Connect allows a range of convenient features via the FordPass mobile app, including:

• Vehicle Locator, helping owners find their car in sprawling shopping mall car parks

• Vehicle Status, for checking fuel levels, alarm status, oil life and more

• Door Lock Unlock, to remotely allow access to your Kuga

• Remote Start, for Kuga models with eight-speed automatic transmission

• eCall functionality, which automatically dials emergency services in the event of a serious accident, and enables occupants to be directly connected to the emergency services by pushing an SOS button in the overhead console.

Also helping drivers stay connected on the move and wave goodbye to a tangle of cables in the centre console, a new wireless charging pad beneath the instrument panel enables occupants to easily charge compatible smartphones.

The pad automatically detects compatible devices to initiate charging. Devices can remain connected via Bluetooth to Ford’s SYNC 3 communications and entertainment system while using wireless charging, which is supported by an 8" central touchscreen that can be operated using pinch and swipe gestures.

SYNC 3 allows drivers to control audio, navigation and climate functions plus connected smartphones using simple voice commands. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto™ compatibility is included free-of-charge.

A new 12.3" LCD instrument cluster is the first in the industry to use free-form technology that allows curved upper edges for seamless interior design. The free-form panel features circuitry embedded across the display, enabling designers to mould it into shapes beyond the traditional rectangular design.

In addition, the 24 bit 'true colour' digital instrument cluster generates detailed, high definition, more intuitive images and icons displayed in the full colour spectrum, making them brighter, less tiring on the eyes and easier to read.

A new B&O Sound System will help occupants get the best from music streamed via Ford Pass Connect or smartphone devices. The powerful 575-watt, 10-speaker system features an external coupled subwoofer that guarantees smooth bass production, while the position of the tweeters in the dashboard has been optimised to produce a wider sound stage at seating level to for an enveloping listening experience for all occupants.

Comprehensive static and dynamic sound tuning ensures that the listening experience is maintained regardless of the driving conditions.Ford’s hands-free tailgate technology allows access to the boot space even with arms full of groceries, kids or sports equipment, using a simple kicking motion under the rear bumper.

Ford engineers have also delivered a solution to the challenge of where to place the cargo shade once removed - it now fits neatly beneath the new flexible load floor, and is easier to remove with a simple pull-strap release.

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