Johannesburg - After a troublesome year of fire-related recalls, Ford is aiming to give its Kuga SUV a fresh start with the release of a facelifted model and not only does it get a new look and added features, but Ford has lowered pricing across the board.

This means that the range now starts at R368 800, down from R383 900, while the range-topper is now R37 000 cheaper at R506 900. Full list below:

2017 Ford KugaNew PriceOld price
1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente FWD manual R368 800R383 900
1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente FWD auto R381 900R399 900
1.5 EcoBoost Trend FWD manual R406 400R421 900
1.5 EcoBoost Trend FWD auto R427 900R437 900
2.0 EcoBoost Titanium AWD auto R497 900R516 900
2.0 TDCi Trend AWD auto R483 900R499 900
2.0 TDCi Titanium AWD auto R506 900R543 900

So what’s changed?

Although the Kuga’s familiar shape remains, Ford has completely redesigned the front and rear sections. 

The new Everest-inspired face features a much larger grille that now has a trapezoidal shape, while chunkier taillights and a newly designed tailgate bring some of that aggro attitude to the back end.

Rounding off the design changes are a fresh range of alloy wheel designs ranging from 17- to 19-inches in diameter.

Three turbo engine options

The Kuga is powered by the same range of engines as before. 

The range kicks off with Ford’s 1.5-litre EcoBoost turbopetrol, which drives the front wheels and produces 110kW in six-speed manual guise and 132kW when mated to the six-speed autobox; maximum torque is 240Nm in both variants.

Topping the pile is a pair of 2-litre engines, both mated to Ford’s all-wheel-drive system as standard. The 2.0 EcoBoost petrol motor is mated to a six-speed torque converter automatic gearbox and produces 177kW and 340Nm; the 2.0 TDCI diesel is paired with a six-speed Powershift dual-clutch automated transmission and this engine’s good for 132kW and 400Nm.

Now with Sync3 infotainment

Although actual interior design changes are limited to a few new buttons and switches, the new Kuga does gain Ford’s latest Sync3 infotainment system, which is standard on Trend and Titanium models. 

The 20cm touchscreen system, with pinch and swipe functionality, brings improved voice command as well as Apple CarPlay and (subject to SA release) Android Auto smartphone integration. 

There’s also a Sync3 version with 3D navigation, offered as a R5044 option across the Kuga range.

A walk through the range

As before, the Kuga is offered in Ambiente, Trend and Titanium guises.

The base Ambiente comes with push-button start, cruise control, a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and voice control, multi-function leather-covered steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, seven airbags and trailer stability function.

The Trend grade adds dual-zone climate control, Sync3 with 20cm touchscreen and nine speakers, Torino leather seats (with electric power adjustment for the driver), rear parking sensors, and rain sensors.

Over and above all that, the Titanium range-toppers gain 18-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights, smart keyless entry with hands-free powered tailgate and Roll Stability Control.

Trend and Titanium buyers can also opt for a ‘Driver Assistance Pack’, for R15 450, which comes with an enhanced version of the Active City Stop auto-braking function, as well as Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System, Lane Departure Warning and Advanced Active Park Assist.

All models are backed by a four-year/120 000km warranty. Petrol models come with a four-year/80 000km service plan (with 20 000km intervals), while the diesels are sold with a five-year/90 000km service plan, with 15 000km intervals.

IOL Motoring