By Mike Torpey on 2018-12-09 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi
STANDING the test of time is a surefire indication of a particular car model's success.
That's certainly the case with the Ford Kuga, which has been performing yeoman service for the Blue Oval brand for a decade.
Drivers familiar with Ford models in general have always been able to rely on certain constants - notably excellent engines, slick gearboxes and a simple, logical interior layout.
The Kuga continues the pattern, with a few little quirks along the way.
Those hankering for an ultra modern funky cabin may be disappointed in that the dash, facia and controls are a bit drab if easily accessible, but then Kuga isn't meant to be a flashy vehicle.
As the old adage underlines: Handsome is as handsome does. And the Kuga does plenty.
Passenger space is ample - three can fit across the back seats - while for stowage there are door bins with a cup-holder in each, a deep central box, a pair of cup-holders behind the gearshifter , a glovebox and for rear passengers two more cup-holders in the flip-down armrest.
The rear seats split and fold flat 60-40 and the powered tailgate, which will open with a light touch of your leg underneath, reveals a large, wide boot with spare wheel beneath the floor.
Engines see the choice of a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol unit developing outputs of 118, 148 and 180ps, a 1.5-litre turbodiesel with 118ps or a 2.0-litre diesel producing 148 or 180ps.
All are lively, economical powerplants, this variant feeling stronger than the headline acceleration figure of 0-62mph in 10 seconds would suggest.
And over the best part of 250 miles of urban and motorway driving, we returned an average fuel consumption of 48.5 miles per gallon - half decent compared to the official fuel return of 57.6mpg.
This is also an SUV that drives well, supplies ample feedback from the steering and feels comfortable courtesy of electrically operated seats and though the driving position isn't quite so high as in some rivals, overall front and rear visibility is nonetheless still commanding.
The 2.0 TDCI ST-Line X model came with all-wheel drive plus Ford's PowerShift automatic gearbox , which also has steering wheel-mounted paddles.
You can also engage a Sports driving mode, though sticking with the standard setting offers a more comfortable experience.
As for engine noise, it is near silent at tick-over before the rattle builds into the mid-range. Get up to speed though and things quieten down again.
Specifying the entry level trim grade makes plenty of sense as it includes important features like electric windows, DAB radio, air-con, Bluetooth and multi-function steering wheel from a starting point of £23,225 for a 1.5 EcoBoost 120ps Zetec.
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi ST-Line X
Mechanical: 180ps, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox
Max Speed: 124mph
0-62mph: 10.0 seconds
Combined MPG: 57.6
Insurance Group: 25
C02 emissions: 134g/km
Bik rating: 30%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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