Ford Kuga 1.5 TDCi Trend

Ford’s new baby turbodiesel stars

Testing the Ford Kuga 1.5TDCI Trend proved a pretty puzzling episode. Topping the list was how it performed. 

Were I not a car freak, I suppose I’d not be all that surprised by this tiny 1.5-litre turbodiesel’s performance and low-down pulling power. Lightning-quick throttle response from low down in the rev-range is a masterful achievement for 1500, but to me the most compelling thing about it is that this feels like an engine of half a litre – if not a litre bigger, to drive. 

Power is rated at 88kW with a peak torque output of 270Nm. Think about that for a second – five years ago you’d need that extra litre to achieve that. So take-off from standing start, albeit not extreme at higher altitudes, needs no extra effort, while this special little turbodiesel’s relative silence of operation proved another upside – it is still a diesel after all…

Most impressive though, is how Ford has masterminded this honey of an engine via an armoury of  mechanical marvels to ensure exceptional fuel consumption, and low running costs. The little gem shares tech with its bigger 2-litrte TDCi lump, including a lean nitrous oxide trap for cleanest emissions, a special diamond-like coated components for reduced friction and that versatile variable nozzle turbocharger for improved top response. 

The biggest pity about all this has to be the pressure the diesel engine is under in general from a clearly ignorant green front. Ceasing development in this arena would be sinful – one staggers to imagine where, at this rate of advancement, diesels could  be in ten or twenty years?

Front-wheel driven, our smooth six-speed manual Kuga Trend tester impressed on the road – both at the coast and at the Reef, where it however suffers a little altitude sickness likely assisted by its hefty kerb mass. Once on the run though, Kuga 1.5 TDCi is comfortable and easy on the road with a pleasant ride, precise handling and crisp road holding.

Supremely equipped with a broad palette of gadgets and spec including latest Ford Sync infotainment, Kuga is well kited out, comfortable and spacious and very well backed by the aggressive Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa – at R459K, it certainly is worth a second look… - Mario Lupini

Images – Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Ford Kuga 1.5TDCI Trend
Engine:  88kW 270Nm 1499cc turbodiesel I4
Drive:  6-speed manual FWD
TESTED: (Reef altitude)
0-60km/h: 4.94 sec (6.12 sec)     
0-100km/h: 11.37 sec (14.56 sec) 
400m: 17.9 sec @ 125km/h (19.7 @ 11.4)
80-120km/h:          8.57 sec (10.31 sec)
Claimed VMax: 173km/h 
Fuel: 4.4 l/100km
CO2: 115g/km
Warranty/Service 4y 120K/6y 90Kkm
LIST PRICE:         R459K
RATED:                   86%