At Guten Tag Austria Autotest, the Ford Kuga also impresses in the fully self-loading hybrid version with its performance, consumption and space
We extensively tested the Ford Kuga 2.5 Duratec FHEV with 190 hp, all-wheel drive and automatic transmission in the “Vignale” type of equipment.
Spacious space and high comfort are among the core characteristics of the Ford Kuga. The current generation is wider and longer than its predecessor. The wheelbase has grown to 2710 mm. This also has a positive effect on the interior: the shoulder space has increased by 43 mm in the front, and the pelvis in the front seats has increased by 57 mm. Those who sit in the back benefit from 20 mm more shoulder room and 36 mm more in the pelvic area. And while the new Kuga’s overall height is 20mm lower than before, those at the front can look forward to a 13mm increase in height, and those in the rear up to 35mm.
Kuga passengers also enjoy heated exterior rear seats. The entire second row can be pushed back and forth as needed. This results in knee room, which at 124 millimeters is the highest value in this segment, or an additional trunk volume of 67 liters. The rear seats can also be folded down to form a flat loading floor using the release mechanism. The luxury Vignale’s full-hybrid Kuga top-end version features, among other things, the sensor-controlled electric tailgate. Premium leather upholstery with 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat plus memory function, exterior heated rear seats, B&O audio system and Vignale-style front door sill trims create a relaxing atmosphere.
A feature of the full hybrid version is the pleasant linear response to commands from the throttle – depending on the driving situation and performance requirements – the harmonious and fully automatic change between purely electric and hybrid driving and driven by the combustion engine, which operates on the particularly efficient Atkinson cycle. The electric motor drive ensures more dynamic driving performance, increases fuel efficiency or even drives the full Kuga Hybrid over short distances purely electric and thus without local emissions. As the first full hybrid in the Kuga model series, this driving concept combines high efficiency with extreme autonomy.
The full hybrid does not require an external power source to charge
The Kuga full hybrid is the ideal choice for people who want to take advantage of the benefits of an electric motor with an all-wheel drive system but don’t have access to a wall box or charging station – because the full hybrid version does not require an external power source to charge the batteries: the Kuga full hybrid drive (FHEV) charges Its battery only while driving – regeneratively through braking and bending.
The 1.1 kWh battery is liquid cooled, so no additional fan is required to manage the temperature of the energy storage device. This contributes to high acoustic comfort on board, and also allows a more compact arrangement of the 60 battery cells, which has a positive effect on the available space. This is evidenced, for example, by the 1 meter height of the driver and front passenger and the maximum luggage compartment volume of 1481 liters.
In addition, the exhaust gas heat exchanger system helps the engine reach the ideal operating temperature more quickly. This means the full hybrid Kuga can transition to purely electric mode sooner after a cold start. Another plus: when the outside temperature is low, the inside quickly becomes pleasantly warm.
Simulated transmissions for a natural driving experience
Ford’s latest generation continuously variable transmission (CVT) has been specifically designed to pair with the 2.5-liter Duratec petrol engine. The ratio is adjusted in each case in such a way as to ensure optimum driving performance with maximum fuel efficiency in a wide range of driving situations. In addition, the CVT transmission simulates gear changes and thus creates a natural driving experience. With the exception of Economy mode, these simulated gear changes occur in all other driving modes (“Normal”, “Sport”, “Slippery” and “Off”). The system automatically adapts the engine speed to the driving speed, thus reducing the “rubber band effect” otherwise associated with conventional CVT transmissions.
Four-wheel drive as standard
The Kuga full hybrid is the first member of the series to combine an electrified powertrain and intelligent all-wheel drive as standard. The controller measures the amount of grip the tires have on the road. In coordination with this, the system distributes torque between the front and rear axles. The wheels, which can also be driven if necessary, have no effect on fuel efficiency, especially since the control system directs all power to the front wheels when road conditions are favorable.