Following Ford’s 2016 Kuga debacle with a few vehicles going up in flames, the automaker has not only remedied the problem, but launched a refreshed Kuga just over a year ago. And now, they have tweaked the line-up by adding a new 1.5-litre turbo diesel variant, and fitting the sporty ST-Line to the flagship models.
The new ST-Line stands out from the rest of the range thanks to the high-gloss Ebony Black finish for the front grille, along with a striking honeycomb design for the lower portion of the grille and matching sports mesh finish on the fog lamp bezels. Extensive colour coding for the integrated body kit incorporates the front skid plate, side skirts, mirrors, door handles, rear roof spoiler and wheel arches to provide a lithe and eye-catching appearance, set against contrasting elements such as the high-gloss Ebony Black rear diffuser, black roof rails, tinted front and rear lights, as well as privacy glass for the rear windows.
The cabin ambience has been given a distinctive splash of dynamic flair too, thanks to the fitment of sport seats trimmed in partial leather, picked out with contrasting stitching for the seats, steering wheel and gear lever gaiter. A dark headliner and pillar trims, combined with a special two-layer metallic-effect Deep Space paint on the centre console, alloy pedals and scuff plates incorporating the ST-Line logo guarantee further individuality.
The new Kuga ST-Line delivers the sportiest driving dynamics yet for this model, with chassis enhancements incorporating optimised suspension and steering. The revised set-up benefits from thicker anti-roll bars, a 10mm lower ride height for reduced body roll and sharper responses, as well as the fitment of stiffer suspension bushes. Spring and damper rates have also been fine-tuned to deliver unparalleled comfort and performance. Furthermore, the Kuga's steering system employs a revised calibration to deliver a tighter, more responsive and sporty feel.
As before, a selection of option packs is available with the range-topping models. The Driver Assistance Pack for the ST-Line adds Adaptive Cruise Control, Advanced Active Park Assist, Blind Spot Information System and Lane Keeping Aid. The Styling Pack includes the power opening panoramic roof, 19-inch alloy wheels and a larger single-wing rear spoiler that gives the Kuga an even more spirited appearance. High Intensity Discharge (HID) Bi-Xenon headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lights can also be specified on ST-Line models.
There is also an extremely efficient yet lively 1.5-litre TDCi variant added to the line-up. The high-tech 1.5-litre unit features a lean NOX trap for cleaner exhaust emissions, components with a special diamond-like coating that reduces friction, and a sophisticated Variable Nozzle Turbocharger for enhanced engine breathing, while power is rated at 88kw along with a peak torque output of 270nm. Two 1.5 TDCi models have been introduced to the line-up, comprising the Ambiente and Trend series, both of which employ front-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.
The 2.0 TDCi, which produces 132kw of power and a substantial 400nm of torque, is now exclusive to the new ST-Line series, combined with Ford's Intelligent All Wheel Drive system and six-speed PowerShift Automatic gearbox. The 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol models are only available in FWD guise, starting off with the Ambiente that uses a six-speed manual transmission and delivers 110kw and 240nm. Buyers can also opt for the six-speed torque converter automatic with 132kw on tap, available in Ambiente or the more luxurious Trend specification. The most powerful offering is the 2.0 EcoBoost ST-Line, which delivers an exhilarating 177kw punch allied to 340nm of torque. Power is transmitted to the AWD system via a smooth-shifting six-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente FWD 6MT (110kw/240nm) R384 900
1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente FWD 6AT (110kw/240nm) R398 500
1.5 TDCi Ambiente FWD 6MT (88kw/270nm) R426 200
1.5 EcoBoost Trend FWD 6AT (110kw/240nm) R445 900
1.5 TDCi Trend FWD 6MT (88kw/270nm) R456 200
2.0 EcoBoost ST-Line AWD 6AT (177kw/340nm) R548 500
2.0 TDCi ST-Line AWD 6AT (132kw/400nm) R566 900
A six-year/90 000km service plan, and a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty is included.