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Ford Kuga PHEV

The independent definitive Ford Kuga PHEV video review
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    PLUGGING THE GAP (some text hidden)

    By Jonathan Crouch

    Ford's first plug-in model, the Kuga PHEV, offers all the usual virtues common to this kind of technology, plus a few of its own. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.

    Ten Second Reviewword count: 74

    It seems you can't have a cutting-edge mid-sized SUV of any kind these days without having a plug-in hybrid version, so Ford offers that tech with its third generation Kuga crossover. There are the usual PHEV calling card features here - a 35 mile all-electric driving range, a super-low Benefit-in-Kind taxation rating and a rather high sticker price. Built into a package that should feel a touch more dynamic than most of its rivals.

    Backgroundword count: 144

    Perhaps being a market leader is about following established trends rather than pioneering new ones. Ford certainly seems to work that way. The Blue Oval brand didn't really establish any sort of real presence in the SUV sector until the second generation version of its mid-sized Kuga crossover model was facelifted in 2016. And it's taken the company until the 21st century's third decade to launch its first volume made EV (the Mustang Mach-E) and its first plug-in car, the Kuga PHEV model which is our focus here. This is the third generation Kuga, moved subtly up-market to make space for the freshly introduced Puma crossover which slots in below this model. It's just as well the Canadian-built Edge SUV is no more as the Kuga PHEV's asking price would have trampled all over it and is knocking on the door of premium territory.

    Driving Experienceword count: 307

    Unlike the mild hybrid model in the Kuga range (which is a 2.0-litre diesel), this PHEV variant is petrol-powered. Ford didn't have a Euro-market green pump-fuelled engine that was suitable for plug-in tech, so has borrowed for this installation a 2.5-litre unit that it uses with the US market 'Escape'-branded version of this car. This engine is paired with a 108bhp electric motor, resulting in a useful total output of 222bhp, with the electrified element of the whole set-up powered by a decently-sized 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery and the whole shooting match mated to a CVT automatic gearbox. Keep the battery cells topped up and theoretically, up to 35 miles of WLTP-rated electric driving range is possible, though a 25-28 mile range expectation is probably more realistic. You'll need to get your head around all the drive modes. As well as the usual 'Normal', 'Eco' and 'Sport' settings, there's also a 'Slippery Deep Snow/Sand' mode - which is curious because unlike its PSA Group Plug-in SUV rivals, this Kuga PHEV can only be had with front wheel drive. There are also four further settings for the electric drivetrain: 'EV Now' focuses the drivetrain on all-electric output; 'EV Charge' (rather inefficiently) tops up the battery using the engine; and 'EV Later' holds the current state of charge so that you can save it for urban driving you might want to do later in your trip. Most of the time though, you'll simply leave the car in 'EV Auto', where clever electronics determine the most efficient use of engine and battery power. You can boost brake regeneration (and therefore energy harvesting) by clicking on an 'L' button on the gear selector. And in theory, it's possible to drive at up to 85mph on battery power alone. With the full powertrain working, 62mph from rest takes 9.2s en route to 124mph.

    To see the full road test text contact us on 0330 0020 227

    Pictures (high res disabled)

    Statistics (subset of data only)

    Min

    Max

    0-62 mph (s):

    9.2

    Boot capacity min (litres):

    411

    Combined mpg:

    201.7

    CO2 (g/km):

    32

    Max Speed (mph):

    124

    Price:

    30995

    37795

    Scoring (subset of scores)

    Category: Hybrid, Plug-in, Electric & Hydrogen

    Performance
    60%
    Handling
    70%
    Comfort
    70%
    Space
    70%
    Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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