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27th March, 2012

The Ford Kuga is Ford Australia’s entry into the highly competitive compact SUV market. It is now on sale across the country.

The Ford Kuga is based on Ford’s C-car architecture – already proven in the Ford Focus. With Ford Kuga, the designers and engineers have integrated key driver and passenger requirements for a compact SUV into the distinctive design.

The exterior is distinctive and sporty; demonstrating how the company’s flexible design form language can be applied successfully to the cross-over genre.

Well-balanced and with good proportions, Ford's new Kuga provides spacious accommodation for driver and passengers despite being based on a compact footprint. The interior has been designed to complement the exterior to offer a practical and contemporary vehicle.

The Ford Kuga comes with full-time, ‘intelligent’ All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) and will be available in a choice of two distinct trim levels – Trend and Titanium. Both models are powered by Ford’s Duratec 2.5-litre 5-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine.

A high level of standard equipment includes Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with combined Anti Roll-over Mitigation (ARM), and ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), both significant driver assistance technologies, plus Ford Kuga models are equipped with a ‘Ford Power’ start button. The Ford Kuga also gains a strong safety structure that makes extensive use of high-strength steels, which helps contribute to a 5-star ANCAP safety rating.

The Ford Kuga has been styled and finished with a high level of attention to detail. Every aspect of the car has been designed and manufactured to promote positive emotional responses from the driver and passengers.

Ford Kuga also demonstrates Ford’s acclaimed driving dynamics, a competent safety pedigree, high levels of quality and craftsmanship and a competitive cross-over package.  A high seating position, ‘intelligent’ AWD and sensible stowage areas also make the SUV an attractive proposition. (copyright image)
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Charismatic design

Martin Smith, Ford of Europe Executive Design Director, headed the design team during the Ford Kuga’s design stage.

“It was important that we made the Ford Kuga instantly recognisable as a Ford model, but we also wanted to retain a design relationship with the original concept,” Smith said.

“I believe we have achieved these targets in the final design – we’ve captured the character of the concept with the car’s appearance being both rugged and dynamic to show off its on- and off-road capabilities.”

Styling details alter depending on whether the Trend or Titanium series level is selected.

The Ford Kuga adopts a bold face, with bold upper and lower trapezoid grilles and dramatic, swept-back headlamps.

Below the lower trapezoid is a purposeful skid plate which further signals the car’s tough, off-road capability. Circular fog lamps situated either side of the lower grille are standard equipment on both versions.

The sculpted bonnet features distinctive power blisters which also strengthen the structural rigidity of the pressing. Underlying the Ford Kuga’s exterior is a strong safety structure, which makes extensive use of high-strength steels.

“The design elements in the Ford Kuga combine to reinforce our ‘energy in motion’ philosophy,” Smith said. “The powerful form language and bold graphics merge to give the car the impression of movement, even when it is parked.”

Bold wheelarches are filled with standard 17-inch alloy wheels on the Trend with 18-inch alloy wheels standard on the Titanium.

The bold wheelarches are linked by integrated rocker mouldings, which extend along both side doors and run parallel with the high, pronounced shoulder line. The side ‘undercut’ further highlights the dynamic intent.

The unique door mirrors have integrated side indicators.

Brushed aluminium-effect roof rails top off the profile view and add symmetry to the chrome used on the waistline.

A standard fixed panoramic glass roof section is a feature of the Titanium model.

With a wheelbase of 2,690 mm the overall footprint of the Ford Kuga is compact and its proportions are balanced by relatively short front and rear body overhangs.

The rear design is purposeful and gives the vehicle a solid stance.

A rear diffuser-like skid plate extends visibly from beneath the rear bumper and houses the sporty-looking twin exhaust pipes, which are standard on both the Trend and Titanium. The lower skid plate also houses the low-slung fog lamps. The large, split rear lamps are a dominant horizontal feature of the rear end.

Other neat details include a third LED brake light integrated into the body coloured rear spoiler and rear parking sensors blended into the painted bumper on Titanium models. Surfaces are kept clean and clear with the pair of large Ford ovals being supplemented only on the metalwork of the tailgate with distinctive badging.

A palette of eight exterior body colours has been chosen for the new Ford Kuga.

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These colours include:

Blazer Blue
Frozen White
Dark Micastone (soft grey)
Lunar Sky (light bronze)
Mars Red
Midnight Sky (slate blue)
Moondust Silver
Panther Black

The exterior design features incorporate a wealth of practicality that provides much more than first meets the eye. The ‘liftgate in liftgate’ tailgate offers maximum flexibility and convenience with separate access via micro switches to either the upper tailgate section only or both sections simultaneously.

The size of the open upper section has been engineered to allow convenient access to the luggage compartment. When the upper section is opened access can be gained to the luggage area without having to move the standard tonneau cover, enabling smaller items to be placed in the luggage compartment quickly and easily.

The quick-release tonneau cover can also be completely removed.

The high ride height, large surface bumpers and tailgate design help avoid damage to the sheet metal during a low-speed rear impact.

Ease of repair is also helped at the front by the use of plastic front mudguards. Not only does the use of plastic mudguards aid in overall vehicle weight saving, they also provide greater resistance to dents.

A lower finishing panel in matt anthracite hugs the lower edges of the entire car, offering resistance to long-term dirt accumulation and providing a degree of protection against flying debris. It also visually enhances the off-road styling.

High style interior

The interior has a spacious feel.

The clean, ergonomic design of the instrument panel and centre stack converge into a large centre console for maximum accessible storage. All interior components contribute to a comfortable surrounding for the driver and front seat passenger. The high seat position contributes to the light and airy environment for front and rear passengers and provides the driver a commanding view of their surroundings. The bonnet is visible to the seated driver and front seat passenger and enhances the ‘on top of the road’ feeling.

The interior incorporates fine leathers on the Titanium as well as the use of quality fabrics and gloss finishes on key areas in the Trend. Colour-matched details and integrated colours highlight the instrument panel and door trims, providing a complete, unified look of design-led quality and sportiness.

Each of the two available series represents distinct choices for customers. Both the Trend and Titanium models offer ergonomically optimised cockpit lay-outs to make life behind the wheel as enjoyable as possible. On the Titanium, a contemporary ‘techno’ feel matches the vehicle’s top-of-the-range credentials, and is synonymous with the positioning of Titanium series on other recent Ford products. Black leather trim is offered on the Titanium as standard.

The interior styling is complemented by attention to detail and the ergonomics of the primary controls; steering wheel, pedal positions and gear shifter as well as multiple seating positions, switches, in-car entertainment and infotainment features.

Everything from the amount of pressure that is necessary to activate the ‘Ford Power’ start button to the thumb indents on the steering wheel are all carefully considered to offer the most inviting and satisfying experience to both the driver and passengers. Other additions include additional stowage areas for small items plus dedicated areas for drinks, sunglasses, coins, pens and three 12-volt power outlets for additional electrical devices.

Interior environment

The new Ford Kuga offers seating for up to five occupants.

In order to optimise the driving environment, engineers developed the new Ford Kuga using a Computer Aided Virtual Engineering (CAVE) system. The CAVE combines a number of computers and digital projectors to provide a virtual, full-sized interior of a car. A real car seat is fixed to the rig for the ‘driver’ who can then evaluate all-round visibility and comfort levels for reach and operation of controls.

This system proved invaluable in customer clinics to gauge reaction to the new car and provided a platform for aspiring Ford Kuga drivers to voice their opinions as the new model took shape. It also enabled the development team to make fast and efficient changes to a virtual representation of their designs.

The CAVE system is an example of the many cost-effective measures that were introduced to benefit key areas of the car’s development – with added benefits for the finished product and ultimately for customer satisfaction.

Comfort and practicality for up to five

Inside, the new Ford Kuga offers occupants the benefit of 1,008 mm of headroom and a shoulder width of 1,422 mm for the driver and front seat passenger.

Supporting the car’s ‘cockpit’ feel driving position is a 6-way power adjustable seat for the driver in the Titanium that provides effortless adjustments for fore/aft, seating height and backrest recline.

The foam used in the seats is designed to offer comfort, ergonomic performance and support. This is complemented by a choice of seat trims including leather on the Titanium with increased ‘plus-padding’, an additional layer of foam immediately beneath the leather trim that provides added comfort. Second row passengers benefit from high levels of comfort and features. The rear seating provides 1,395 mm of shoulder room and 987 mm of headroom, giving generous space to accommodate adult passengers.

Detailed actions taken by the Sound, Quality and Vibration (SQ&V) team mean that any wind, road and powertrain noise has been specifically addressed. The result is that front and rear passengers can easily have a conversation across the cabin’s length without the need to raise their voices.

A further interior enhancement is the addition of three 12-volt outlets, positioned in the centre console, at the rear of the centre console and in the rear cargo area.

The second row seating has a 60/40 split and has been designed to fold completely flat to maximise the usefulness of the available load compartment in two-seat mode. There is also storage space under the second row seats, plus under the floor in front of the second row seats. A luggage compartment sill height of 758 mm aids the loading of heavy items into the car.

Adaptable and functional

Ford’s customer research confirmed that potential owners wanted a wide area to access the load compartment for occasions when they need the full volume. However, equally they wanted to be able to access the load compartment quickly and easily for smaller items without opening the whole tailgate.

The result is that the Ford Kuga offers a convenience feature called ‘liftgate in liftgate’ – a similar feature is found on the Ford Territory. This provides the ability to open a portion of the liftgate for access to the main luggage compartment while parked in height-restricted conditions. This feature also enables easy access to the luggage compartment for when smaller items need to be placed into or removed from the car.

The seat backs of the second row fold flat to allow larger, more bulky loads to be transported. When the second row seats are folded forward to maximise the load area – to a length of 1,578 mm to the back of the first row seats – they form a completely flat area without an awkward step to negotiate luggage over or around. It is not necessary to remove the headrests of the rear seats to fold them forward.

The Ford Kuga has a luggage capacity of 1,355 litres when in two-seat mode, while the enclosed luggage compartment achieves a volume of a rather small 360 litres. Both the Trend and Titanium also come with a spacesaver spare tyre.

Four exposed D-ring tie-down points are located across the rear seat back and up the inner rear panel of the car. This helps to tether loose items safely and reduces noise levels of items moving around while driving.

A ‘one-touch’ push function for the rear tonneau cover makes loading easy.


The Ford Kuga comes as two models, Trend and Titanium.

Both series are distinct and have been developed to provide customers with a clear choice to match their requirements.

Ford Kuga Trend

The Ford Kuga Trend is the base model and offers customers an array of standard features.

The interior colour theme has been devised to give the car a lively and sporty feel. The cloth seats and applications of Metal Grey and Anthracite trim highlights provide a sporty touch.

The Trend offers a standard equipment list which includes:

  • ‘Ford Power’ start button
  • Trip computer
  • Bluetooth® mobile phone integration
  • Voice control
  • Cruise control
  • Follow-me-home lighting
  • Sony CD audio system
  • Green tinted glass
  • Six airbags
  • Front Sports seats
  • Sports seat trim
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Front fog lamps
  • Air conditioning
  • ISOFIX child seat anchorage provision
  • Powered front and rear windows
  • Powered, heated door mirrors with puddle lamps
  • Rear tonneau cover
  • A range of standard electronic driver assistance technologies including ABS, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) and Traction Control System (TCS)
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Twin exhausts
  • Roof rails

Ford Kuga Titanium

Additional standard features in the Titanium include:

  • Napoli leather seat trim and silver appliqué details
  • Heated front seats with variable heating controls
  • 6-way power adjustable driver seat
  • Leather trimmed gear shifter
  • Fixed-glass panorama roof
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Auto headlights
  • Rear view mirror with auto dimming
  • Dual Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (DEATC) air conditioning
  • Rear privacy glass
  • 18-inch five-spoke alloy wheels
  • Rear parking sensors


Both the Ford Kuga Trend and Titanium models come equipped with Ford’s Duratec 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine, which is matched to a five-speed automatic transmission with sequential mode.

The engine delivers 147 kW at 6,000 rpm and 320 Nm between 1,600 and 4,000 rpm.

The Duratec engine delivers a fuel economy figure of 10.6 litres/100 km (combined cycle: ADR81/02) and a CO2 output of 244 g/km.

Smart driver assistance technologies

The new Ford Kuga features a wide range of modern driver assistance technologies.

Key features include:

  • Standard ‘Ford Power’ start button
  • Cruise control
  • Headlight leveling control
  • ‘Liftgate in liftgate’ mini tailgate opening
  • Ford EasyFuel capless refuelling system
  • Dual exhausts with chrome finish
  • Silver-finish roof rails
  • Infrared reflecting windscreen
  • 3 in-car 12-volt power outlets
  • 8-speaker  Sony Car Entertainment System
  • Bluetooth® mobile phone integration
  • Prestige paint
  • Green tinted glass

The Ford Kuga Titanium also offers many existing Ford technologies focused on driver convenience and assistance. These include:

  • ‘Quickclear’ heated front windscreen
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Auto headlights
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Rain-sensing windscreen wipers
  • Front seatback-mounted flip-up tray tables
  • Electrochromatic rear view mirror

‘Power’ start button (keyless start)

The ‘Ford Power’ start button for easy, keyless vehicle activation is a standard feature of both the Trend and Titanium.

Centrally and conveniently located in the instrument panel, the ‘Ford Power’ start button gives an engine activation time of less than 500 milliseconds. Instead of a conventional ignition key, the driver is provided with an electronic key fob, which simply needs to be detected by the system when in, for example, the driver’s pocket or handbag, for fast and convenient vehicle activation.

To start the engine, the driver depresses the brake pedal and then pushes the button to fire the engine. A further push of the button switches the engine and ignition off, with a safeguard to prevent it being operated while the car is in motion.

The entertainment and vehicle systems such as the wipers can be activated without starting the engine by pushing the button alone.

The ‘Ford Power’ button is also used to switch off the engine. Once again, the engineers were keen to build in a more complex sequence to rule out the possibility of the button being briefly pushed or brushed against inadvertently. The ‘Ford Power’ button needs to be pressed and held for two seconds or to receive three short presses in a two-second timeframe in order to stop the engine.

Ford EasyFuel capless refuelling system

Ford Kuga comes with Ford’s EasyFuel capless refuelling system as standard equipment.

First launched on the new-generation Ford Mondeo and also available in the Fiesta and Focus, the Ford EasyFuel system is simple and easy to use, and is designed to prevent vehicle mis-fuelling and the associated damage, inconvenience and expense.

Benefits of the system are twofold; first, the lack of a conventional filler cap that needs to be removed prior to fuelling the car means that drivers have fewer things to touch, reducing the likelihood of fingers becoming tainted with fuel. Secondly, the system features a special fuel inhibitor that provides major protection against misfuelling at the fuel pump.

The fuel filler neck aperture has been designed around the different sizes of fuel nozzle, and Ford has engineered the system to allow only a nozzle that matches the corresponding fuel type of the car to open and enter the filler neck.

The use of mechanical devices around the nozzle opening and a special flap at the top of the fuel filler neck operate together to seal the opening and provide the same assurance that the system is as secure as when a properly fitted separate cap is used on conventional filling systems.

The Ford EasyFuel system has been extensively tested in all crash impact modes including the standard 80 km/h rear impact followed by a roll-over to confirm the system’s safety.

12-volt power outlets

Ford Kuga customers can stay connected courtesy of three 12-volt power outlets in the cabin. These can provide direct power for laptops, printers, vacuum cleaners and other day-to-day appliances. Each of the outlets is conveniently located in the cabin – one in the centre console, one in the rear passenger area and one in the luggage area.

Connectivity module

A new connectivity module hidden away in the centre console includes a USB port and auxiliary jack. Any portable audio device can be connected to the Ford Kuga’s audio systems either via a conventional 3.5 mm jack (not included with the vehicle) or the USB port which forms part of the connectivity module. The AUX connector allows control of the latest generation personal audio players through the main audio system.

The connectivity module enables functions beyond music entertainment as it also provides customers with voice control of audio systems and climate control. In addition, hands-free and voice control operation of mobile telephones is possible thanks to Bluetooth® technology.

In-car entertainment and infotainment features

The new Ford Kuga offers an array of in-car entertainment and infotainment features and systems. For added connectivity, the Sony single CD facility is enhanced with Bluetooth® voice control and connectivity for portable music and USB mass storage devices, which can be connected to the separate AUX-in socket located in the centre console.

The Bluetooth® handsfree and voice control system enables voice control for a mobile phone, audio system and, in the Titanium, the Dual Electronic Automatic Temperature Control (DEATC) system. Features include direct access to the phone book memory through the audio system and voice-controlled dialling for safer hands-free calling.

Panoramic roof (Titanium model)

At 1,050 mm x 785 mm the glass area of the panoramic Ford Kuga roof in the Titanium is a novelty item. To make sure the harsh summer sun is kept at bay, two manual sunblinds are also fitted for those occasions when shade is desired. In addition, the roof glass has a special infra-red (IR) coating that has proven during internal tests to reduce reflection by 35 per cent, as opposed to five per cent for non-IR glass.

Roof rails

Both the Trend and Titanium are fitted with arched roof rails. Applicable to either the solid roof panel or the panoramic roof, the roof rails are functional as well as decorative and able to take a load of 75 kg. The rails have two mounting points and provide high flexibility for cross-bar and positioning of the load.

Driving quality

Using proven and established Ford C-car chassis components and technology as the basis, Ford’s engineers tailored, tuned and calibrated each component and aspect of the ride and handling to ensure the Ford Kuga carries the Blue Oval family pedigree for driving dynamics.

Ford Kuga ride

Despite its compact SUV dimensions, the Ford Kuga has a wide track and long wheelbase to help ensure the Kuga maintains a solid on-road stance despite the increased centre of gravity.

To achieve a ride quality for on-road usage combined with the demand of high body articulation angles for off-road traction and manoeuvrability, the front and rear damper systems have been optimised.

The front shock absorbers utilise a new valving system. An industry-first from Ford, the valving system allows a better tuning in ‘jounce’ to rebound balance for better body control. The valving system helps to reduce suspension noise, thus contributing to the best possible ride and SQ&V characteristics.

Hydraulic rebound stops are located within the front shock absorbers of the Ford Kuga, further improving suspension noise suppression.

The improvements to the front shock absorbers had to be balanced with the rear. The Kuga's rear shock absorbers were therefore increased in size, in order to reduce the internal pressure level. This ensures an even better ‘tunability’ throughout the damper speed range, an especially important consideration in off-road conditions.

The improved tunability of both shock absorber systems was also key in minimising so-called ‘headtoss’, a term coined by Ford’s engineers to describe the unpleasant lateral jerks usually associated with off-roading where a higher level of wheel travel occurs. This is further supported by a new anti-roll bar system with improved efficiency.

A new rear anti-roll bar system gives a significantly increased ‘efficiency’, which in driving dynamics terms means an optimised response time. These actions also enabled a reduction in the anti-roll bar diameter, a main parameter of headtoss-causing driving situations.

The positive headtoss characteristics are further enabled by front and rear suspension geometry that has been especially devised for the Ford Kuga.

They employ ‘off-road optimised rollcentre’ positions. The rollcentre positions can be tuned to provide individuality to each car’s driving dynamics. For the Kuga, Ford engineers chose a high position to enable the desired low car-like roll motions during cornering while at the same time allow for a quick steering response through optimised lateral load transfer.

Ford Kuga steering

Front and rear geometry settings of the Kuga are a key enabler to providing the desired car-like steering attribute targets. The Ford Kuga also includes a quick steering ratio, further improving agility, precision and manoeuvrability.

The high level of structural stiffness within the body and chassis systems were optimised on the new Kuga to ensure that outstanding driving quality is delivered. A new front suspension turret brace that reinforces the top mount attachment areas was developed to cope with increased loads. Stiff prop-shaft brackets that reinforce the tunnel area are also used.

Because of the ‘intelligent’ AWD capability of the new Kuga, it was necessary to incorporate significant stiffness into the car while avoiding unwanted weight gain. To ensure this, Ford engineers developed a stiff rear suspension crossmember and new stiff cast knuckles.

These overall actions to maximise stiffness caused the camber stiffness on Ford Kuga to be raised by 40 per cent at the rear and 25 per cent on the front. Elastokinematiks of the front and rear suspension have been adapted to these changes by the use of a number of new suspension bushes. Low roll motion and a direct and predictable steering response on a high level of agility form the basis for crossover steering precision and feel. Coupled with Ford’s proven and established Electro-Hydraulic Power Assisted Steering (EHPAS) system enables speed-dependent steering efforts.

Technical specifications



Ford Kuga Trend

Five-door, five-seat compact SUV
Ford Duratec 2.5-litre five-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
Five-speed automatic
‘Intelligent’ All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

Ford Kuga Titanium




Ford Duratec 2.5-litre five-cylinder, petrol


Single turbocharger

Maximum power

147 kW @ 6000 RPM

Maximum torque

320 Nm @ 1600 – 4000 RPM

Fuel consumption

10.6-litres / 100km (combined cycle; ADR81/02)

CO2 output

244g / km (combined cycle; ADR81/02)

Emission class





5-speed automatic with sport and manual modes

Drive system

Intelligent all-wheel drive (Haldex)





Front suspension

Independent with MacPherson struts

Rear suspension

Control Blade independent multi-link system


Electro-hydraulic Power-Assisted Steering

Turning Circle

11.5 m




17-inch alloy (7.5x17) / 235/55 R17 V


18-inch alloy (7.5x18) / 235/50 R18 V


Spacesaver (steel)




Dual circuit, diagonally split, hydraulically operated front and rear with disc brakes. Vacuum servo-assisted with electronically controlled four-channel brake distribution ABS and optimised brake assist, DSC with rollover mitigation.


300 mm diameter ventilated (front)/302 mm diameter (rear)

Towing Capacity



750 kg braked / unbraked

Off-road capabilities


Fording depth (maximum)

450 mm

Approach / departure angle

21 degrees (front) / 24 degrees (rear)

Ground Clearance

188 mm




4,443 mm


1,842 mm / 2,128 mm (without mirrors/with mirrors)


1,710 mm (including roof rails)


2,690 mm

Kerb weight

1,653 kg (Trend/Titanium)


1,575 mm / 1585 mm (front/rear)

Fuel capacity

66 litres

Luggage volume

360 litres    (rear seatbacks upright)


1,355 litres  (rear seatbacks/cushions folded)

Shoulder room          

1,422 mm    (front)


1,395 mm    (rear)


1,018 / 1,008 mm    (with/without panorama roof)


996 / 987 mm      (with/without panorama roof)


1,057 mm    (front)


950 mm (rear)

Safety inclusions


5-star ANCAP rating

Intelligent Protection System

Driver and front passenger airbags

Driver and front passenger side thorax and pelvis airbags

Side curtain airbags

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

Dynamic Stability Control (DSC) with Anti-Rollover Mitigation

Traction control

Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)

Emergency Brake Hazard Warning system

Driver and front passenger seatbelt reminder

Immobiliser (EPATS – Encrypted Passive Anti-Theft System)

‘Quickclear’ Heated Windscreen (Titanium only)

NOTE: * Manufacturer's List Price (MLP) excludes dealer delivery fees and the numerous statutory charges (commonly known as on-road costs). Additionally, please note that all prices, fees and charges are subject to change without notice, as are the specifications.


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