Ford Kuga: month six
Model: Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi 163 PS AWD Powershift
On fleet since: July 2011
Official combined mpg: 41.5 mpg
Our average economy: 33.8 mpg
Performance: 0-62mph 9.6secs/119mph
Power/Torque: 163hp@3750rpm/251lb ft@2000rpm
Insurance group: 21/50
Price as tested: £32,045
Pros: Good looking, easy to drive, well thought-out interior
Cons: Firm seats and suspension, economy sometimes indifferent
Where have we been?
Another couple of months of airport runs around the M25, plus the everyday twelve-mile journey to and from the office.
As the amount of snow this year has been extremely disappointing - the reason I opted for a four-wheel-drive Kuga in the first place - I also went wading through a local river. All in the interests of research, of course.
What do we like?
After a 10-day holiday over Easter there was no re-occurrence of the starting issue I had earlier in the year, so I have put that down to me doing something daft like leaving an interior light on.
The Kuga caught first time (I do like keyless doors and keyless start), then it was just a matter of slipping the Powershift into reverse and using the TV screen to steer backwards down the drive and off to work.
Such a pleasant car to live with
It's that easy-driving, high-riding, great visibility that makes the Kuga such a pleasant car to live with. If you want a straightforward, jump-in-and-go machine, the Kuga does it all without a second thought from the driver. Yet with this more powerful 163hp two-litre turbo-diesel, it is indecently quick too.
The steering on Fords is usually a cut above that of rivals in terms of accuracy and feel, yet to get this level of involvement in a tall four-wheel-driver is quite uncanny. You really can drive it like a hot hatch in circumstances where most rivals would be left wallowing in the bends.
The river expedition was in reality no more than a deep ford, but the Kuga dealt with it well. Somehow, though, I suspect the two-wheel-drive version would have been equally effective.
The fuel economy has picked up a bit now the weather is warmer, creeping towards an average of 34mpg. The optimistic trip computer says it's a couple of mpg better than this and indeed on a steady journey a figure nearer 38mpg does seem possible.
The heating and ventilation has been top class. Dual temperature control for driver and passenger is a vital feature in my book and the auto climate control manages to balance the direction of heating and cooling very well.
Then there are the heated seats - slow to warm up but with six heat levels and a wide coverage to the cushion and backrest - and the excellent heated windscreen.
What don't we like?
That TV screen may be useful but it has its weaknesses when you compare it to the one Kia and Hyundai fit in their crossovers. The Ford's doesn't operate unless the radio unit is switched on, which is a bit daft.
And it's not very good when it's dark, whereas the Kia/Hyundai unit has terrific light enhancement. A bit like when you watch Wimbledon on the TV at 9pm and it looks like the middle of the day.
My street has three or four long speed humps before I hit the country road and, boy, do they have the desired effect on the Kuga. You can rarely forget about the firm suspension.
The Kuga comes with a twin tailgate arrangement, which means the rear window can be opened separately from the full tailgate. This is supposed to be a good idea in a multi-story car park, or even your garage, because you get boot access even without needing much room around the back of the car.
I have hardly used it though, as the entry point is particularly high up. It also makes a horrid clang when you slam it shut.
What next for the Kuga?
Another trip to France is planned shortly, more route planning for a classic car rally I am organising. And we need to get the bikes on the back again now that the weather is getting warmer.
Report 1: Ford Kuga arrival
Report 2: Ford Kuga month two
Report 3: Ford Kuga month three
Report 4: Ford Kuga month four
Report 5: Ford Kuga month five
Report 6: Ford Kuga month six (this report)
Report 7: Ford Kuga month seven
Report 8: Ford Kuga final report