Displaying items by tag: Ford

Tuesday, 01 December 2020 06:25

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback review

"Fast and fun yet practical and economical, the latest Ford Fiesta ST is as great a hot hatch as ever"

If you’re in the market for a small hot hatchback you’d be forgiven for being a little overwhelmed. A worthy shortlist of talented candidates includes the Peugeot 208 GTi, Suzuki Swift Sport, Volkswagen Polo GTI and MINI Cooper S – but the Ford Fiesta ST, for many the traditional class leader, was notable by its absence after the previous-generation model went out of production in 2017. Thankfully, May of 2018 saw the return of an all-new version.

Ford has pulled out all the stops to make sure the latest Fiesta ST can reclaim its crown. There’s a new 1.5-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 197bhp, giving the ST a 0-62mph time of 6.5 seconds – thanks in part to an overboost feature. Despite this performance, economy is respectable; the car’s engine can shut down one of its three cylinders at lower engine speeds to save fuel while you're cruising, helping it return over 40mpg.

During more spirited driving, the short-shift six-speed manual gearbox can be ‘flatshifted’, meaning you don’t have to take your foot off the throttle when changing gear. Launch control is also included if you specify the optional Performance Pack, along with a limited-slip differential to improve traction and gear shift lights.

Hot hatchbacks aren’t all about straight-line speed though, and the Fiesta ST really comes alive when tackling a twisty road. Fast, accurate, communicative steering and an impressive suspension setup with clever dampers mean the ST feels poised and lively through corners, with plenty of grip. The optional limited-slip differential and standard torque-vectoring make it easy to put power down out of corners, while the car’s electronic stability control system can be backed off gradually via selectable driving modes if you don't want them to intervene prematurely on a race track.

A Performance Edition version is also offered, adding lightweight alloy wheels and coilover suspension that can be adjusted by the owner. It comes in a bright orange paint and costs around £2,500 extra. For most owners, the standard ST is better value but the Performance Edition is the ultimate version of the car from a handling perspective.

The good news is that all of this potential for fun has not come at the expense of day-to-day usability. The Fiesta ST loses none of the standard car’s space and practicality, with the same interior layout and identical boot space. Unlike some rivals, both three and five-door versions are available too. The ST also benefits from the same five-star Euro NCAP safety rating as the standard Fiesta. Provided you can afford the higher running costs, there’s no reason why the Fiesta ST couldn’t serve perfectly well as everyday transport.

The Fiesta ST doesn’t give much cause for complaint, but those who value pliant suspension and relaxed cruising may find it slightly too firm, especially over rougher surfaces. While the car’s sporty suspension actually does a fine job of keeping the driver in control over undulating roads, ride quality does suffer slightly even in the most relaxed driving mode.

If you don’t mind a harder, less relaxed edge to your motoring experience though, the Ford Fiesta ST is one of the best cars in its class. It’s more fun to drive than the Volkswagen Polo GTI, faster and more engaging than the latest Suzuki Swift Sport, and more than a match for the enthusiast-favourite Peugeot 208 GTi.

For a more detailed look at the Ford Fiesta ST, read on for the rest of our in-depth review.

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback - MPG, running costs & CO2

Clever engine technology means the Ford Fiesta ST’s running costs are relatively sensible

Gone are the days when choosing a performance model means taking a massive hit when it comes to running costs. Today’s hot hatches are designed to balance performance with efficiency and the Ford Fiesta ST is no exception. With an engine that can shut down one of its three cylinders when not required (the first time this technology has appeared on a production three-cylinder engine), the ST can return decent fuel economy and emissions figures despite its considerable performance. The 2.0-litre VW Polo GTI is almost as efficient though, presumably because its larger engine isn’t working as hard.

The Ford Fiesta ST’s 1.5-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine is powerful, but thanks to some clever technology it manages to be relatively frugal. Between 1,200 and 4,500rpm, or at less than half throttle, the ST’s engine can shut down one of its three cylinders to improve economy by up to 6%, according to Ford. In our experience, the switch between three and two-cylinder drive (and back again) is almost imperceivable.

Ford quotes an average fuel economy figure of 40.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 158g/km. Road tax will cost £150 per year. Company-car users will have to contend with a high Benefit-in-Kind rate. During our time with the car, we averaged just over 38mpg across several hundred miles of motorway and town driving.

It’s worth remembering that although the ST is derived from humble stock, its consumable parts will cost more to replace. Its larger brakes and sticky Michelin Pilot Sport tyres will be more expensive to replace when compared to other Fiesta models.

Insurance group
The ST is the most expensive Fiesta variant to insure, sitting in group 28 out of 50, or group 30 if you buy the Performance Edition.

Warranty
As with all Fords, the Fiesta ST comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty as standard. This can be extended to a four-year/80,000-mile or a five-year/100,000-mile plan at a price, though it is not yet clear if prices will command a premium over the standard car. As it stands, an extension to four years is quoted as £190 for the standard Fiesta, or £350 for a five-year plan. Roadside assistance is also included for one year.

Servicing
Customers can choose a Ford Protect Service Plan – a one-off payment plan that covers scheduled servicing, replacement vehicle hire and more. Higher-mileage drivers can opt for Ford Protect Service Plan Plus, which adds additional covered replacement parts, like shock absorbers, exhaust silencers and brake pads.

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

The Ford Fiesta ST lives up to its reputation; it’s both fast and great fun to drive

Fans of the previous Ford Ford Fiesta ST won’t be disappointed with the latest model, despite its numerous mechanical changes; this is a hot hatch that does everything right. Its smaller engine lacks the character of the four-cylinder found in its predecessor, but there’s still more than enough low-down punch, an eagerness to rev and a suitably sporty exhaust note. Some rivals offer a more traditional four-cylinder engine, but those looking for great performance will not be left wanting by the Ford’s three-cylinder – which itself is lighter and therefore helps towards a better-handling machine.

Add the optional Performance Pack (costing around £900) and you’ll benefit from a limited-slip differential (LSD) made by specialist company Quaife; this helps the ST put its power down more convincingly, especially when exiting corners, limiting excessive wheelspin. Launch control also comes as part of the pack, making fast getaways a breeze, along with shift lights to let you know when best to change gear.

Add the optional Performance Pack (costing around £900) and you’ll benefit from a limited-slip differential made by specialist company Quaife; this helps the ST put its power down more convincingly, especially when exiting corners, limiting excessive wheelspin. Launch control also comes as part of the pack, making fast getaways a breeze, along with shift lights to let you know when best to change gear.

Ford Fiesta ST petrol engine
The Ford Fiesta ST is powered by a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with three cylinders, one turbocharger and plenty of power - 197bhp, plus extra low-down power when the standard overboost feature kicks in. The 0-62mph sprint takes 6.5 seconds and the car’s top speed is 144mph. The engine feels strong, producing a suitably rorty exhaust note that’s helped along by Ford’s Electronic Sound Enhancement, which uses the car’s stereo to further improve the sound. Select Sport or Track modes and the car’s exhaust will pop and crackle when you lift off the accelerator.

The only real drawback of the car’s switchable modes is the location of the switchgear, which is located low down by the gearstick. This can make cycling through the various modes a bit fiddly on the move but it does become easier with practice.

The previous Fiesta ST was more keen to rev to its redline, whereas the new model’s three-cylinder doesn’t feel like it needs to be revved past 5,500rpm – something that owners of the old car might miss. However, keen drivers will enjoy the ST’s delightful short-shift six-speed gearbox, which comes complete with a 'flat-shift' feature. Simply keep your right foot flat to the floor on the accelerator pedal and change gear using the clutch as usual; the car will automatically hold the engine on a limiter between gearchanges. However in our experience the result doesn’t feel too kind to the clutch, so we doubt most owners will use it in practice.

 Ford Fiesta ST hatchback - Interior & comfort

The Ford Fiesta’s interior gets a sporty makeover, but outright comfort is not a priority

Those familiar with the standard Ford Fiesta will recognise most of the ST’s interior; it’s more or less business as usual, save for a few sporty touches. Chief among these are a set of very supportive Recaro sports seats (with an even more adjustable version as an option), which do a great job of holding you in place during fast cornering. The driving position is excellent, which is more than can be said of some of the Fiesta ST’s closest rivals, which often sit the driver too high up.

The Fiesta ST is more refined than ever before, but don’t expect this hot hatch to be the last word in comfort and relaxed cruising. The car’s sporty setup means that it rides fairly firmly; this can get uncomfortable over particularly rough tarmac at higher speeds, but generally the ST feels poised and controlled rather than pliant and cosseting. The car feels slightly fidgety on some roads, but that edge is exactly what many driving enthusiasts may miss from some of the ST’s rivals.

Ford Fiesta dashboard
The ST’s dashboard is carried over wholesale from the standard Ford Fiesta, albeit with a few small changes. Carbon fibre style trim, a flat-bottomed ST-badged steering wheel and a metallic-finished gearlever all feature, while optional shift lights sit in the dial cluster.

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback infotainment display20
Build quality is good and materials are generally of a decent quality but neither are a match for the VW Polo GTI. It's a big improvement on the older model, though, with much more impressive tech. Most of the changes for the Fiesta ST Edition are mechanical but it does get unique blue stitching inside, along with some carbon-fibre-effect trim. There's also a new steering wheel with a shortcut button for the Sport driving mode.

Equipment
There are two trim levels to choose from: ST-2 and ST-3. There's a comprehensive list of standard equipment, including ST-specific styling inside and out, sports suspension, Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system with DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, cruise control and Ford’s ‘NCAP Pack’, which includes lane-keep assist and a speed limiter.

The ST-2 trim also includes climate control, heated seats, blue seatbelts, a B&O Play stereo and a larger eight-inch infotainment screen are all added. Top-spec ST-3 versions get the largest 18-inch alloys, red brake calipers, sat nav, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and a suite of driver assistance systems that includes traffic sign recognition, automatic high-beam headlights and driver alert.

Options
There are a few good-value options available for the Fiesta ST. Enthusiastic drivers would do well to choose the aforementioned Performance Pack for its limited-slip differential, launch control and shift lights for around £900; LED headlights and a Driver Assistance Pack are also good additions for £500 and £550 respectively. A panoramic sunroof costs £700.

Technology
Save for its ST-specific drive-mode selection functionality, the SYNC 3 infotainment system featuring in the sportiest Fiesta is as good as ever. The system’s screen positioning may look like a bit of an afterthought but it’s great to use; pinch-and-swipe gestures are recognised and the system’s wide range of functions means there are far fewer buttons than were found inside the previous Fiesta ST.

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback - Practicality & boot space

The Ford Fiesta ST’s extra performance hasn’t dented its practical supermini credentials

Put simply, the Fiesta ST is no less practical than the more ‘sensible’ Fiesta models. There’s ample space in both three and five-door models, meaning it’s as family friendly as a car of this type can be – the rear doors on five-door versions open particularly wide too. Boot space is similarly unaffected.

Ford Fiesta ST interior space and storage
Occupants of the front seats get the best deal in the Ford Fiesta ST, as its excellent Recaro sports seats are supportive, adjustable and comfortable. Legroom in the rear is much the same as standard versions, meaning there’s about as much space as you’d find in the back of a Polo GTI. Headroom is still an issue as in other Fiestas; taller passengers are best carried up front.

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback boot20
The same array of cubbies features on the ST as on the standard Fiesta; there’s a glovebox that’s 20% bigger than in the old model, while a one-litre storage bin can be found in the centre console. Each door pocket can carry a 500ml water bottle with ease.

Boot space
The Fiesta ST is exactly the same as other models in the range when it comes to the boot, and that’s no bad thing. There’s a wide tailgate that opens to reveal a 292-litre boot; fold the rear seats and this expands to 1,093 litres. As with other Fiestas, an optional variable boot floor will help you make the most of this extended space or to store smaller items separately.

Ford Fiesta ST hatchback - Reliability & safety

The Ford Fiesta ST is just as safe as the standard car, though reliability is still relatively unknown

 

Thanks to its fairly recent arrival on the market, there’s precious little ownership data available for the new Ford Fiesta, never mind the sporty ST model. Its impressive safety credentials have been verified, however, with a five-star rating from Euro NCAP.

Ford Fiesta ST reliability
As stated above, the new Fiesta is still a recently launched model, so judging its long-term reliability isn't really possible. However, the standard Fiesta did enter our 2020 Driver Power survey in 71st place, low down in the rankings of the top 75 UK models with 17.3% of owners reporting one or more faults in the first year. It's a worrying result for Ford, suggesting the quality issues of previous years have not yet been fully resolved.

Ford finished in 24th place from 30 car makers in our 2020 brand survey, with owners complaining of poor exterior build quality and that boot capacity could be more generous. It wasn’t all bad news though, with owners praising the ride quality and handling of their cars. Overall, 15.6% of owners reported a fault in the first year of ownership.

The previous generation ST sold well and did not suffer from any particularly serious ailments; hopefully the latest car will continue in the same vein.

Safety
The Ford Fiesta ST benefits from the standard Fiesta’s five-star Euro NCAP rating. This was broken down into adult and child occupant protection ratings of 87% and 84% respectively, while a rating of 64% was given for pedestrian protection. The Fiesta’s 60% driver assistance rating is only average, but there are a number of systems that come as standard on certain ST models that don’t feature further down the Fiesta range, including lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition and driver alert. Optional LED headlights and a blind-spot monitoring system are options worth adding to make your Fiesta ST as safe as possible.

Source: carbuyer.co.uk

Published in Ford
Tuesday, 17 November 2020 05:37

Ford Puma ST SUV review

"The Ford Puma ST is great to drive, has a brilliant engine and offers all the practicality of an SUV with hot hatch thrills"

We already liked the new Ford Puma because it’s a practical SUV that’s also good to drive, and now there’s an even sportier version, called the Puma ST, which has a more powerful engine and changes to make it sharper to drive.

Alternatives to the Puma ST include the Volkswagen T-Roc R and the Audi SQ2, although both are both much more expensive and more powerful than the Ford. Don’t assume that it makes them more fun though.

The Puma uses parts from the fantastic Fiesta ST hot hatchback, in particular the 1.5-litre EcoBoost three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. It produces 197bhp and 320Nm of torque, the same as in the Fiesta ST supermini, and there’s a six-speed manual gearbox, improved brakes plus suspension changes.

The Puma does drive differently to the Fiesta as it’s a larger car but this is also because Ford has designed it to be better at everyday tasks. It’s more practical than the Fiesta as a result, though not quite as fun to drive.

The Puma is still the best-handling small SUV you can buy and if you need an SUV but want the thrills of a hot hatch, then the Ford Puma ST could be a brilliant buy. Read on to find out more in our full review.

MPG, running costs & CO2

Since the Puma ST uses a three-cylinder 1.5-litre petrol engine, it’s actually fairly economical for a performance car. Don’t set your expectations too high, though, as the ST isn’t as frugal as the standard versions of the Puma.

Official figures suggest that the Puma will return 40.9mpg and emit 155g/km of CO2, which is better than the Audi SQ2’s 33mpg and the VW T-Roc R’s 32mpg. While those are all figures from official tests rather than real-world driving, we still expect the Puma to be more economical.

The Puma makes more sense than either of those models to buy; it’s around £10,000 cheaper than the Audi or Volkswagen, depending on specification, yet is more fun to drive than either of them.

Engines, drive & performance
One of the best-handling SUVs you can buy

Fast Fords are consistently excellent to drive and the Puma ST is no exception - in fact, we’d argue that it’s the most fun you can currently have in any small SUV.

The ride can be a little bumpy at low speeds but once you’re going more quickly, the Puma ST is relatively smooth and feels at home on country roads. It’s great fun to steer through a series of bends on a twisty road.

The steering is very sharp, which can feel a little disconcerting because you can often turn it too much without meaning to. Once you get used to it, this is less of a problem, but it does feel slightly oversensitive.

Performance is very good: the Puma ST goes from 0-62mph in 6.7 seconds, which seems well-judged for UK roads because you can have plenty of fun within the speed limit. It’s not quite as quick as the smaller Ford Fiesta ST but outright straight-line speed is not what this car is about.

The rest of the driving experience is great too; the manual gear shift is fun to use, the pedals are nicely placed and the brakes feel strong and reliable.

Interior & comfort
Not the most comfortable Puma but comfortable seats make a difference

In the Puma ST you get some really supportive and comfortable Recaro sports seats as standard, which help to keep you in place when cornering. Larger drivers might find they’re a bit tight.

The ST also comes with a flat-bottomed steering wheel with ST badging, some new pedals and a different gearknob. You also get wireless charging for your smartphone, parking sensors, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and an eight-inch infotainment touchscreen with Ford's SYNC 3 software, sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

This makes the Puma ST one of the best-equipped models in the Puma range and while the interior does have some cheaper-looking plastics, the level of technology means it feels modern and pleasant inside.

Practicality & boot space

The Puma ST is just as practical as the standard version

All of the regular Puma’s neat practical touches are still present in the ST model, which is great to see. The fantastic ‘Mega Box’ is present in the boot - this is a huge storage compartment under the floor that’s big enough for a whole family shop.

The boot itself is excellent at 456 litres, and the plastic floor means you can even hose it out - there’s a plug at the bottom of the Mega Box that lets water drain away.

Inside the Puma you’ll find a good amount of passenger space, though adults in the back might start to feel cramped on a longer trip.

Reliability & safety

High-performance Puma will match normal version for safety

The Puma ST takes the same Euro NCAP safety rating as the normal car - that being a five-star score with an excellent rating for adult protection. Thanks to autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control, it’s packed with safety kit.

Ford came in 24th place in this year’s Driver Power survey, which was disappointing as it’s near the bottom of the list. It indicates that, on average, the ownership experience isn’t as good as it is for many other brands.

Source: carbayer.co.uk

Published in Ford
Monday, 09 November 2020 04:20

Ford Kuga SUV review

“The latest Ford Kuga is great to drive, good value and practical, so it should prove to be a very popular family SUV”

The Ford Kuga is a family SUV that’s an alternative to models such as the Volkswagen Tiguan, Skoda Karoq and Hyundai Tucson. Ford has two other SUVs, the EcoSport and the Puma, and the Kuga is larger than both of them - and costs more to buy.

If you’re looking for a medium-size SUV, there’s also the Toyota RAV4, the Peugeot 3008 and many more. Almost all the big car manufacturers offer a model like this, as they’re so popular. The Ford Kuga has its own appeal, though, which helps it to stand out.

Best family SUVs

The Kuga’s biggest strength, and the aspect that will appeal most, is the way it drives. The original Kuga was known for being the best car to drive of its type when it came out, and while this new model isn’t quite so far ahead of the competition, it’s still really enjoyable to spend time behind the wheel.

There are plenty of engines to pick from; there are two 1.5-litre petrol options, three diesels, a petrol-electric hybrid and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model with an official economy figure of over 200mpg. This version can drive for 35 miles on electricity alone, which is how it manages that incredible figure. One of the diesel engines (the 148bhp 2.0-litre model) also features mild-hybrid assistance to boost economy, though it can’t drive on battery power alone.

You’ll recognise the interior as Ford has carried over most of the parts from its other SUVs and hatchbacks. While it hasn’t got quite the same visual appeal as a Peugeot 3008 or Mazda CX-5, it’s logically laid out and the standard-fit eight-inch touchscreen controls a lot of the features. High-spec cars get a crisp 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster for the first time.

There are five trim levels to choose from, with the line-up kicking off at the Zetec model. Considering its entry-level position and low price, it’s rather well-equipped with sat nav, wireless phone charging, auto headlights and keyless start, plus a lot of standard safety kit.

Titanium adds LED lights, two-zone climate control and a premium speaker system, plus that 12.3-inch digital dial display. Then there are the sporty-looking ST-Line Edition and ST-Line X Edition pair, and the range-topping Vignale with unique styling touches and even more equipment.

A family SUV wouldn’t be much use if it wasn’t practical, but the Kuga impresses in this respect too. The rear seats slide fore and aft so you can prioritise legroom or boot space, and there are 526 litres to fill with the seats pushed forward. That compares well to the SEAT Ateca’s 510 litres and the 472 litres offered in the Renault Kadjar.

The Kuga has already gained a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, which should be reassuring. However, Ford will hope the new Kuga improves the company’s position on our Driver Power survey; it came 24th out of 30 manufacturers in 2020.

Ford Kuga SUV - MPG, running costs & CO2

The Ford Kuga has economical engines and maintenance costs should be very competitive

Ford still has faith in diesel power, despite a fall in sales. In the Kuga there are three to choose from: a 118bhp 1.5-litre, a 148bhp 2.0-litre with mild-hybrid assistance and a 187bhp version of the 2.0-litre, which goes without the mild-hybrid tech. The mild-hybrid engine returns up to 57.6mpg and is expected to be popular with higher-mileage drivers, while the smaller diesel offers up to 60.1mpg with the manual gearbox (53.3mpg with the automatic) and the 187bhp engine can manage up to 49.6mpg. It’s the only model with four-wheel drive, so that figure isn’t too bad.

The two petrol engines both return between 42 and 43mpg, so won’t be too costly to run for low-mileage drivers. The normal hybrid model can return up to 51.4mpg. Provided you keep the battery topped up and drive mostly on electric power, the 2.5-litre PHEV model could offer the best economy; Ford says up to 201.8mpg is possible, but we’d recommend taking that with a pinch of salt. On longer journeys when the petrol engine will be the main power source, you’ll likely get an MPG figure in the mid-forties.

Perhaps more relevant is its claimed 35-mile electric range, as it will allow many commuters and families to complete their daily journeys without using a drop of fuel if the battery is fully charged. The PHEV will also appeal to business drivers, as its 32g/km CO2 emissions figure means a Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) tax rate of just 10% from April 2020. That compares to a 30% BiK rate for most petrols (the normal hybrid is 29%) and 30-32% for the front-wheel-drive diesels. VED costs £150 for petrol and diesel models, while the PHEV qualifies for a £10 annual discount.

Insurance groups

Insurance groups cover a relatively wide spread in the Kuga range but it shouldn’t be too expensive to insure.The entry-level petrol model sits in group 10, while the lower-powered diesel is in group 12. The range moves up to the most expensive PHEV model, which is in group 21.

For comparison, the Skoda Karoq starts in group 10 and the Peugeot 3008 spans groups 11-24.

Servicing

Ford has the largest dealer network in the UK, with a garage in most towns, and servicing doesn’t tend to be too expensive. Your dealer will be able to advise on service plans, which will cover a couple of services for an upfront fee or monthly payments.

Warranty

Like all new Ford cars, the Kuga features a three-year/ 60,000-mile warranty. That’s about average, but the Toyota RAV4 and Hyundai Tucson both have five-year warranties, and the Kia Sportage and MG HS offer an impressive seven years of cover.

 Engines, drive & performance

It’s safe to say that previous Kugas have been a mixed bag to drive. The first-generation car was more fun than almost all of its rivals, but Ford tried to make the next one appeal to a wider audience, and it lost some of its sharpness as a result. We’re happy to report that the latest car is a return to form; it’s more agile than you might expect and doesn’t roll too much if you take a corner quickly.

The downside of that is a slightly firm ride. You’ll notice the imperfections in the road more than you would in a Volkswagen Tiguan, but we didn’t find it uncomfortable and most bumps were absorbed without any fuss. The car can start to feel fidgety at higher speeds but that’s mainly noticeable on rougher surfaces.

We found the steering light but it still has a lot more feel than plenty of other SUVs. The manual gearbox, standard in all but the 187bhp diesel and the plug-in hybrid, is precise and great to use.

Ford Kuga petrol engines

The two 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engines have been carried over from the old Kuga, but the entry-level 118bhp engine (only offered on Zetec models) is now almost a second quicker from 0-62mph. It still takes 11.6 seconds to hit that threshold, though, and we’d recommend going for the 148bhp version instead. It’s both more economical and quicker, hitting 0-62mph in a much more reasonable 9.7 seconds. Both these engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive.

Diesel engines

Also carried over from the old car is a 1.5-litre diesel engine, and it’s the only engine with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes. Its 118bhp doesn’t feel quite enough to power such a big car, and 0-62mph takes 11.7 seconds for the manual or 12 seconds for the automatic. It’s around a second quicker than the same engine in the Mk2 Kuga, but still a bit pedestrian.

The diesel sweet spot is the 148bhp 2.0-litre engine, which now comes with mild-hybrid technology - improving fuel efficiency and giving the engine welcome extra grunt. It’s the most efficient diesel and its 9.6-second 0-62mph should be sufficient for the majority of buyers. Above that, there’s a 187bhp 2.0-litre engine without the mild-hybrid assistance, which reduces the acceleration time to 8.7 seconds. At present, this only comes with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox.

Hybrid engines

The Kuga is available as a normal hybrid (Ford labels it as FHEV) and as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). Both use a 2.5-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a battery. The normal hybrid uses engine power to charge the battery, whereas the PHEV can be plugged in, either at home or at a public charger.

In both models, the Kuga will move off in near-silence thanks to the electric motor. Power is instant and delivered smoothly.

Both cars use a CVT gearbox. This is different to a normal automatic as there aren’t any individual gears as such, so when you put your foot down it tends to bring revs up, causing an unpleasant droning noise.

Interior & comfort

Ergonomic if a little unimaginative, the Ford Kuga’s interior shares much with other Fords

The last Kuga was generally quite refined but was a little noisy on the motorway. From our drives so far, it seems that its replacement is better in this regard. The 2.0-litre diesel with mild-hybrid tech sounded a little vocal under hard acceleration but it settles down when cruising.

We found that the bases of the sports seats fitted to our Titanium-spec test car were a little flat for our liking, making them uncomfortable on longer drives. Otherwise, the Kuga features plenty of equipment to take the stress out of the daily commute; lane-keeping assistance, all-round parking sensors, cruise control and hill-start assist all come as standard.

Ford Kuga dashboard

Ford has decided to keep things simple, giving the Kuga the same interior as the Fiesta, Focus and other models. A Peugeot 3008 certainly has more design flair inside, but the Kuga’s interior is simple and intuitive, whether you’re familiar with Ford interiors or not. Besides, the cabin design is a marked improvement over the old Kuga, which was really showing its age having been around since 2012.

An eight-inch touchscreen sits on top of the dashboard, plus a 12.3-inch digital dial display on Titanium models and above. Beneath that is a panel for audio controls, the air vents and the heating controls, with a few extra buttons each side of the gearlever.

The material quality is good in the places where you’ll touch, but there are cheaper, scratchier materials lower down. It all feels well-built, though, so it should stand up to years of family life.

Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system is fitted as standard and provides plenty of connectivity. It includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing your phone’s apps to be displayed on the screen, plus DAB radio and Bluetooth. Voice control is also part of the package, so you can access the screen’s functions without taking your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road.

Equipment

Buyers have a choice of five trim levels. Zetec is the entry point, and includes luxuries like keyless start, auto lights and wireless phone charging. It also gets sat nav, cruise control and a handy heated windscreen, but you need to step up to Titanium in order to get dual-zone climate control and auto wipers. Titanium also brings LED headlights, keyless entry, a 12.3-inch digital dial display and a premium B&O sound system, too.

ST-Line gets sporty detailing inside and out, plus sports seats and cornering LED fog lights. ST-Line X models can be distinguished by larger alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof. There’s also heated seats in the front and rear.

The top-spec Vignale model aims to look elegant rather than sporty, and has lots of equipment to offset its high price. You get metallic paint as standard, along with a different grille, leather upholstery and a full set of heated seats.

Options

Once you’ve picked your trim, you can then select from a number of options including a Technology Pack (upgraded headlights and a head-up display - £400), a winter pack (heated front seats and a heated steering wheel - £400) or a tow bar for £625. We’d recommend spending £100 on a space-saver spare wheel instead of the standard-fit tyre repair kit.

Practicality & boot space

The Ford Kuga can compete with the class leaders on practicality

The latest Ford Kuga is bigger in most respects than its predecessor, with a little more space freed up inside. It’s still strictly a five-seater, like many of its rivals, but Ford doesn’t offer a seven-seat SUV in the UK - just the S-MAX, Galaxy and Grand Tourneo Connect MPVs. This seems like a missed opportunity, as the seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq, Peugeot 5008 and Nissan X-Trail SUVs have all proven popular.

Ford Kuga interior space and storage
We expect that the Kuga will be bought by people who have outgrown the Focus or other cars of that size, and it’s usefully more spacious. Adults will have more than enough space to stretch out in the rear seats, and should be comfortable on long journeys.

The glovebox and door pockets are a good size, and there are a couple of other little cubbies and storage areas on the centre console. All cars get an electrical charging point in the back of the front armrest, which will keep your passengers’ phones or tablets powered.

Boot space

The Kuga has handy sliding rear seats, so you can position them to prioritise legroom or boot space. Even when slid all the way back, most Kuga models offer 475 litres of space - 100 litres more than the Focus - and this increases to 526 litres with the seats pulled forward (measured to the parcel shelf). With the rear seats flipped down and out of the way, you’ve got up to 1,534 litres to fill. A Skoda Karoq is slightly more practical, offering 479-588 litres with the seats up and 1,605 litres with them down, but the difference is unlikely to make you rule out the Kuga.

Because of where the battery pack’s placed, the plug-in hybrid models get a slightly smaller boot. Wherever the seats are, the boot is about 50-60 litres smaller than petrol and diesel variants. Compared to some other PHEVs, that’s not a huge drop in luggage capacity.

Towing

If you plan on towing regularly, make sure you pick the right engine, as all have different maximum towing capacities. The 118bhp diesel can tow a braked trailer weighing up to 1,500kg, increasing to 1,600kg (118bhp petrol), 1,800kg (148bhp petrol), 1,900kg (148bhp diesel) and 2,100kg (187bhp diesel). Not all PHEVs can tow, but the Kuga plug-in can manage up to 1,200kg. Speccing a tow bar costs £625.

Reliability & safety

The Ford Kuga has a full five-star safety score but reliability is unknown

Ford Kuga reliability

The Ford Kuga is too new to feature in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but the previous model scored quite well; it placed 44th out of the top 100 cars ranked, and only 8.5% of buyers told us about a fault in the first year of ownership. However, Ford came a meagre 24th out of 30 brands in our manufacturer list. With the new Focus, Puma and Kuga now all on sale, we expect Ford to climb up the rankings in the next couple of years.

Safety

Independent testers Euro NCAP put the Kuga through its paces before it even went on sale, and it passed with flying colours. Receiving a five-star score, the Kuga scored 92% for adult safety, 86% for child safety, 82% for pedestrian protection and 73% for the array of safety kit on board.

Standard safety features include lane-keeping assist, hill-start assist, auto emergency braking and intelligent speed assist. A Driver Assistance pack costs £1,000 and adds kit such as blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition and front and rear cameras.

Source: carbuyer.co.uk

Published in Ford
Wednesday, 01 April 2020 18:57

Impact of Coronavirus on car industry in US

More than one million people are employed in automobile and auto parts manufacturing in the United States, and 1.3 million work for auto dealerships.

The companies bowed to pressure from union leaders and employees who called for protection from the pandemic that’s spread to more than 212,000 people in nearly every country across the globe.

According information which we receive from Ford Company the plans to close its factories from March 30 up to end of April in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. That pressure intensified after it was revealed on Wednesday that a worker at a Ford truck plant in Dearborn, Mich., had tested positive for the virus.

In addition to G.M., Ford and Fiat Chrysler, Honda, Toyota and Nissan also said they would idle their North American factories. The shutdown of car plants will force hundreds of companies that produce parts and components to follow suit over the coming days.

Ford, which has 55,000 U.A.W. employees, said those with at least one year of service would receive 75 percent of their regular pay through a combination of unemployment benefits and supplements paid by the company. G.M. is discussing a similar plan with the U.A.W.

From Honda we receive information that that will restart production at first week in April. They stop with production on Marth 23. They will provide full pay for the 27,000 employees in North America affected by the decision.

Nissan stop production on Mart 27, and also make a plan to restart production at first week in April.

According information from General Motors all North American factories will be closed and will evaluate the situation on a weekly basis after that. 

Adjustment regarding stocks - that fallout from the coronavirus could send global auto production down 16% in 2020, fueled partially by an expected 20% decline in U.S. sales. 

 

Published in Ford
Monday, 18 November 2019 14:07

Ford Mustang Mach-E debuts with 370-mile range

The Ford Mustang has a historic lineage that spans multiple decades, features hundreds of variations, and amounts to more than 10 million models sold. In the world of muscle cars, it is one of the most successful vehicles to ever do it. But with the future looming, the iconic Pony Car needs to take a dramatic new approach. The Ford Mustang Mach-E is both the first production-bound electric Mustang and the first Mustang crossover. It arrives as a vital stepping stone in Ford's push toward an electrified future, blending capability, performance, and efficiency into a single battery-powered package.

Mach-E For Everyone
So let’s get into the fundamentals. The Ford Mustang Mach-E comes with two lithium-ion battery pack options: standard range and extended range. The standard-range version uses a 75.7-kilowatt-hour, 288-cell pack, sending power to a large rear motor, while the extended-range option uses a larger 98.8-kilowatt-hour battery pack with 376 cells, sending power to both a motor at the front axle and rear. All that electricity gives the Mustang Mach-E a maximum range of up to 370 miles (under WLTP regulations) per charge on certain trim levels when equipped with the optional extended-range battery pack and rear-drive layout.

All-wheel-drive models with the same extended-range batteries will see their range drop to 270 miles (EPA estimated). The standard-range model with the smaller battery pack and rear-wheel-drive can cover 230 miles (EPA), while the same battery pack driving all four wheels drops that figure to 210 miles (EPA).

The only outlier is the Mach-E GT Performance. While the Mach-E GT Performance gets the same extended-range battery-pack and all-wheel-drive layout as the First Edition and Premium models, its performance-oriented approach means its total range drops to 250 miles (EPA). Naturally, range varies depending on how you spec it:

The Mustang Mach-E does come in a few different flavours. But consumers can only choose from two options beginning in 2020: Premium and First Edition. The First Edition model comes with the extended range battery pack and all-wheel drive standard, as well as unique visual treatments like red brake calipers, metallic pedal covers, and unique badging. But those hoping to get the least expensive Mach-E will have to wait until 2021, when the base Mach-E Select arrives.

That more affordable model offers a standard-range battery pack and either rear or all-wheel drive. The more-powerful California Route 1 model, which comes exclusively with extended range and all-wheel drive, won’t be available until early 2021 as well. The range-topping Mach-E GT Performance, the most powerful of the group ( for now), doesn't go on sale until later in 2021.

The Mach-E’s range figures are extremely competitive for the class. Not even top-end versions of cars like the Kia Niro EV (282 miles), Jaguar I-Pace (292 miles), or Audi E-Tron (222 miles) offer as much WLTP range. The Tesla Model Y, though not in production yet, beats the Mach-E with 336 miles of range on the long range RWD model.

Power Up
Ford guarantees its customers have access to 125,000 FordPass Charging Network locations in 21 countries across Europe. With the purchase of the Mach-E, buyers get access to said massive charging network using FordPass Connect, with the ability to recharge up to 57 miles in just 10 minutes with a maximum 150-kilowatt DC fast charging rate. Though, note that competitors like the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model 3 can charge at rates as high as 250-kilowatts.

For the U.S. market Ford also offers a few home solutions, as well. A Ford Mobile Charger comes standard with the purchase of any Mach-E. Plugged into a typical 120-volt outlet, the home charger will trickle out an estimated range of about three miles each hour. Plugging the same Ford Mobile Charger into a more-powerful 240-volt outlet yields up to 22 miles of range each hour. Ford says that this application will charge up to 80 percent of the Mach-E’s pack overnight and makes the most sense for consumers.

But those buyers really wanting to take their charging game to the next level can purchase the optional Ford Connected Charge Station. Plugged into a 240-volt outlet, the higher-powered, 48-amp option adds approximately 32 miles of range each hour to the Mach-E. Ford says this is an easy way to get full charging overnight without utilising a public station. And more importantly, the company works closely with Amazon services for installation of said chargers.

It is unknown at this point whether the Ford Mobile Charger or the optional Ford Connected Charge Station will be made available in the UK.

Dial 'E' For Excitement
Don’t fret, Mustang faithful, performance is still a major part of the Mach-E’s equation. Even with its impressive range and charging capabilities, Ford tells us the Mach-E "still drives like a Mustang." And has the horsepower of one, too.

The most powerful model, the Mach-E GT Performance, produces 459 bhp and 612 pound-feet of torque, giving it the ability to hit 60 miles per hour in about 3.5 seconds. But, as mentioned, that model won’t be available until the spring of 2021. Until then, buyers will have to make do with the next quickest models available in 2020: the Premium and First Edition.

With the extended-range battery pack and all-wheel drive, the Premium and First Edition trims produce up to 332 bhp and 417 pound-feet of torque. The extended-range California Route 1 (not available until 2021) and Premium models with rear-wheel drive produce 282 hp and 306 lb-ft.

Even the lowliest Mach-E is no slouch. The base Select model with the standard-range battery pack and rear-wheel drive produces 255 bhp and 306 lb-ft. Adding all-wheel drive to that same trim bumps the torque figure to 429 lb-ft. The base Select model, though, is the only trim that doesn’t offer an extended-range battery pack.

The stretched, revised pony logos on the six-sided grille and boot lid give away the Mach-E's family ties. But even the angled LED headlights share something in common with the coupe with which it shares its name, as do the tri-bar taillights. Outside of the obvious crossover cues and four-door setup, there are few areas where the Mach-E stands out next to its sibling.

For one, the Mach-E has no door handles. Instead, there are pillar-mounted buttons that pop the doors open upon pressing them, and a pull handle on the front driver and passenger sides. The rear doors, for whatever reason, don't get a pull handle. And the wheels don’t carry over from the coupe, either. Each version of the Mach-E gets its own 18-, 19-, or 20-inch wheel designs

The Mach-E's interior is all new, as well. The animal-free cabin uses high-quality materials like synthetic "Sensico" leather on the seats and steering wheel – a brand-new material for Ford – as well as Premium Black Onyx or Space Gray cloth on the dash and speakers, the latter of which looks ripped from an Amazon Alexa or Google Home unit. The dash, meanwhile, has a shape reminiscent of the first Mustang, which is a neat touch.

A massive 15.5-inch touchscreen sits front and centre on the dash, though it does feature a physical volume dial. That large touchscreen is standard throughout the range, as is the 10.2-inch digital instrument cluster and all-new steering wheel through which to view it. Ford's newest Sync infotainment system is also standard, as is Co-Pilot 360 2.0, Ford's latest active safety suite.

In terms of cargo room, the Mach-E offers a respectable 402 litres of space behind the rear seats. Fold the rear row, and there's 1,420 litres of room. And because there's no engine up front, the Mach-E has a "frunk," or front trunk (boot), with up to 136 litres. Not only is the frunk large enough for a traditional carry-on suitcase and then some, but is lined with a washable material and features a drain. Ford designers note it’s great for tailgating. Cabin space is equally impressive; the Mach-E's 1,029 mm of front headroom with the optional fixed glass roof is best in a class that includes cars like the I-Pace, Niro EV, and E-Tron, as is the 1,060 mm of front legroom.

Availability
The Mach-E goes on sale in Europe at the end of 2020 in Premium and First Edition trims only. Select, California Route 1, and GT Performance models won't be available until 2021. In the U.S. pricing for the Mach-E will range from just above $40,000 (approx. £30,890 at the current exchange rate) to the mid-$60,000s (£46,335), depending on how it’s spec'd. Ford will release European pricing information at a later date. But buyers interested in ordering the Mach-E early can place a $500 (approx. £390) refundable reservation deposit on the Ford consumer site right now.

Published in Ford

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