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Crouching Kuga hidden dragon

THERE is even more to like now about Ford’s sophisticated SUV, the AWD Kuga with the addition of a turbo Ecoboost engine and an even more sophisticated and updated Sync 2 in-vehicle communication system.

Both were there to be admired in the test drive vehicle, a Ford Kuga Trend which came in an extremely striking colour choice of ruby red.

The Ecoboost turbo direct-injection petrol engine takes maximum power up to 178 kW at 5700 rpm, with a matching torque of 345 Nm between 2000 and 4500 rpm, enough to make this a genuine road warrior. The equivalent figures for the diesel alternative option are 132 kW and 400 Nm.

That engine is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission with select shift and a sport mode for situations such as when you really need to overtake.

The petrol Trend has fuel economy figures of 8.8 litres/100km and the diesel 5 litres/100km.

The Sync 2 system takes the technology to a whole new level, coming as it does with voice activation for the navigation and information system.

You can ask the location of the nearest service station or accommodation, among a whole raft of other questions.

Large reversing cameraOne particularly striking thing about the system is the large reversing camera, which also includes guidelines to show you how the vehicle is turning.

It can be fixed to give an extended view from the rear of the vehicle or adjusted to show when you have pulled up to your boat or trailer. No need to have a faithful partner or friend standing there waving.

This Trend was the first Kuga to arrive at Gisborne Motors Ford’s showroom with these additions and is a source of fascination for the staff.

While the extras provide some icing on the cake they should not overshadow the already lengthy inventory of safety and comfort features.

The Trend has adaptive cruise control and an adjustable speed limiting device, 18 inch alloys, automatic transmission and follow-me-home headlights, rain-sensing wipers, privacy glass, dual zone climate control, a 10 way adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar adjust, power adjustable auto folding heated mirrors and to top all that off there is a nine-speaker audio system.

Your driving experience is made safer thanks to a lane-keeping aid, blind-spot information system, driver alert drowsiness detection and the frontal collision avoidance system that will see the whole dash suddenly become bright red when it is time to hit the anchors.

At speeds under 30kmh the city safe system will detect if the car ahead has unexpectedly stopped and apply the brakes.

In summary the Kuga is all about easy and comfortable driving, with a theme of getting you there safely and comfortably — a real king of the road.