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Driven: Ford’s Kuga gets new engines, revised pricing

Claws out: The updated Kuga benefits form new powertrains, price adjustments and the option of an automatic transmission for the base Ambiente front-wheel drive.

Ford hopes upticked engines and new Ambiente auto will answer customer’s concerns


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11 Dec 2014

FORD Australia’s revisions to its Kuga SUV will hit dealership floors in early January, featuring key updates to drivetrain specifications across the line-up.

Key amongst them is the introduction of an all-new base variant, the Ambiente automatic front-wheel drive, bringing the total number of Kuga derivative up to seven.

Ford Australia brand communications associate Martin Günsberg said the new line-up of petrol powertrains follows a response from buyers asking for more grunt and an entry variant with automatic transmission.

“Our Trend and Titanium customers were asking for a more powerful engine to complement the driving dynamics and premium feel of the Ford Kuga and the 176kW EcoBoost certainly ups the stakes in terms of power output,” he said.

“We also had feedback from customers looking for the convenience of an SUV that didn’t necessarily need all the benefits of AWD. We’ve added a two-wheel drive automatic variant to the Ambiente Ford Kuga to better meet the needs of this customer.” Price adjustments – in both directions – to all three grades will also be applied, with the entry-level Ambiente FWD manual dropping $500 to $27,490, excluding on-road costs. The diesel duo also score a $750 cut. All Trend and Titanium petrol variants, meanwhile, will wear a price increase of $250 per model, while the new Ambiente auto will debut at $28,990, a $1500 premium over the manual.

Ford Australia will also offer special driveaway pricing for at least the first half of 2015 on the Ambiente trio the FWD manual for $28,990, the new six-speed auto for $29,990 and the AWD for $32,990.

The Trend, too, will benefit from similar driveaway pricing of $38,290 (petrol) and $40,290 (diesel). No offers are mooted for the top-spec Titanium.

All three petrol engines in the range have also been replaced, as has the single diesel. The manual FWD Ambiente’s 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol has been replaced by a 1.5-litre EcoBoost four that yields the same power and torque (100kW and 240Nm) but a better economy figure (6.3L/100km as versus 6.7L/100km).

The AWD auto Ambiente and the new FWD auto Ambiente will now offer an uprated version of the same 1.5-litre EcoBoost four that makes 134kW and 240Nm. Fuel economy has improved marginally on the AWD auto petrol auto (from 7.7 to 7.4L/100km), while the FWD version is said to return 7.2L/100km.

The AWD Trend’s 1.6-litre petrol engine, meanwhile, has been ditched for a significantly more powerful 2.0-litre turbo four that makes 178kW and 345Nm (up 44kW and 105Nm over the outgoing engine). Likewise, its 2.0-litre TDCi turbo-diesel engine is new, producing 132kW and 400Nm, and using 5.5L/100km. This is an improvement of 12kW, 60Nm and 0.8L/100km over the outgoing diesel.

The top-spec Titanium also gets the 178kW 2.0-litre petrol engine as well as the 132kW diesel. All of the Trend and Titanium variants are auto-only.

Other slight spec changes will also take effect on Kugas delivered from January onward, including the option of a rear-view mirror-mounted reversing camera as an option on Ambiente and Trend (it is standard fitment in the Titanium). As GoAuto went to press, Ford Australia is yet to confirm final pricing details – “between $500 and $1000,” communication manager Neil McDonald told GoAuto – and whether the item would be a dealer-fitted option or installed ‘at the dock’ ie at the car’s point of entry in Australia.

The Technology Pack, offered at Trend and Titanium spec levels, will be updated to include a tyre pressure monitor, complementing Active City Stop, Lane Keeping Control, adaptive cruise, blind spot monitoring and auto high-beam functions. This pack has also been reduced in price to from $2650 down to $1600, with no loss of content.

Prestige paint is a $385 option on all variants, while the hands-free power tailgate which is standard on Titanium is a $1200 option on mid-spec Trend but not available in Ambiente spec.

The Kuga will continue to be sourced from the same Spanish plant that will supply Ford Australia’s new Mondeo range.

Ford Kuga pricing*
FWD Ambiente $27,490
FWD Ambiente (a) $28,990
AWD Ambiente (a) $31,490
AWD Trend (a) $36,490
AWD Trend diesel (a) $38,490
AWD Titanium (a) $44,990
AWD Titanium diesel (a) $46,990
*Excludes on-road costs.

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