Kuga ST 2017
Facelifted: Second generation Ford Kuga now offered in ST-Line
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Ford Kuga 2.0TDCi 180 ST-Line

What is it?

The face-lifted second-generation version of Ford’s mid-sized SUV and we’re trying the Ford Kuga 2.0TDCi 180 ST-Line.

Outside, you’ll spot the face-lifted Kuga by its freshened front and rear styling. Inside there is the latest Sync3 touch-screen infotainment system plus an electronic parking brake. It also has an improved safety kit.

We’ve got the sporty new ST-Line trim with the most powerful 180PS version of the proven 2.0TDCi, but can it take on more modern rivals for the sportiest SUV title?

What’s hot

  •  The smooth, refined and proven 2.0-litre TDCi diesel, which boasts 178bhp and 400Nm of torque. With all this power, this Ford accelerates to 62mph in just 9.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 126mph.
  • However, it’s not all about the performance, as this Kuga is impressively efficient with 135g/km CO2 emissions, has a combined fuel economy figure of 54.3mpg and a 28% tax band.
  • Outside, you’ll spot the face-lifted Kuga by its Edge-like, large trapezoidal grille, new headlights with daytime running lights, rear light clusters and new front and rear air dams. The new ST-Line trim which is launched at the same time as the face-lift adds more aggression to the Kuga’s styling in the form of a full body styling kit, lowered suspension, a thorough de-chrome and those sharp-looking 18-inch alloys.
Kuga 2.0TDCi 180 ST-Line
Comfortable with supportive seats
  • Inside, the ST-Line trim changes over the standard Kuga are harder to spot, although very welcome. We like the comfortable, multi-adjustable driving position which is enhanced by the supportive sports seats. The ST-Line multi-function steering wheel and special gear knob are nice additions too. There’s a well-made feel to the Kuga, but sadly it doesn’t look or feel as special inside as say a Volkswagen Tiguan. Rear space is good, plus there’s a practically-shaped boot too.
  •  Like the Focus ST-Line we’ve driven before this Kuga, this badge is more about the look rather than the performance. Don’t get me wrong though, like the rest of the Ford range, the latest Kuga has fine driving dynamics. Turn into a corner hard and the first thing that impresses is the sharp, responsive feel to the steering. Considering the more top heavy design of the Kuga SUV, the body control and the ST-Line’s stiff suspension all equal a tidy handler. Even better, despite the stiffer suspension the ride is more comfortable than some SUV rivals.
  • The Kuga will be particularly safe too with standard features including the usual driver, passenger and side airbags. We’re also fans of the convenience kit, such as Advanced Active Park Assist, which works by the front and rear parking sensors and means this Kuga can park itself.
  • ST-Line spec might be sporty-looking but it’s also well-equipped with the latest version of the Sync infotainment system, Bluetooth, audible text messaging, voice control and climate control.
READ  New Fiesta Active expands Ford’s supermini range

What’s not

  • You might get plenty of standard kit in ST-Line trim, but you certainly pay for it – £30,145 seems like a lot. Our test car was fitted with tempting options such the ‘Magnetic’ paint option at a further £545, so it’s easy to spend more!
  • The latest Kuga looks modern enough, but is it still a bit dated when compared to newer designs such as the SEAT Ateca?
  • The 180PS version of this 2.0-litre TDCi engine might prove to be the more cost-effective option when running as a business car.

Verdict

We reckon in new ST-Line form, the face-lifted Kuga could be the sportiest driving sub-premium SUV. Even in the top 180PS version we’ve driven here, it offers an impressive performance, consumption and emissions mix, that should put this Ford at the top of SME buying choices.

The lowdown on: Ford Kuga 2.0TDCi 180 ST-Line 

List price£30,145
Doors and body style5-door SUV
Engine/gearbox:2.0-litre, 4cyl diesel/six-speed manual transmission
CO2 Emissions:134g/km
Economy (combined):54.3mpg
Power/torque:178bhp/400Nm
0-62mph/top speed:9.2/126mph
Insurance group:25

What it Costs:

P11D value£29,960
Road Tax (VED) from April 2017:£200 first year/£140 p.a.
Company Car Tax Band 2017/18 to 2019/20:28%, 30%, 33%
Benefit in Kind 2017/18, 2018/19, 2019/20:£8,389, £8,988, £9,887
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (20%):£1,266/£105
Annual/Monthly fuel benefit (40%):£2,531/£211
Annual/Monthly Company Car Tax (20%):£1,678/£140
Annual/Monthly Company Car Tax (40%):£3,355/£280
Kuga 2.0TDCi 180 ST-Line
Ford Kuga ST-Line roughing it in the Peak District.

 


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