Ford to watch and wait on Econetic Kuga version
Speaking at the vehicle’s launch event today, Anthony Ireson, marketing director of Ford of Britain, told Fleet World that the lowest-powered version of the model will feature the 138bhp 2.0 TDCI Duratorq engine with front-wheel drive and will offer 139g/km and 53.3mpg.
A 161bhp 2.0 TDCI version will also be available but will only come in AWD with figures of 154g/km for CO2 and 47.9mpg combined in the manual gearbox version. Interestingly neither version will be offered with Start/Stop technology, which only comes on the entry-level 1.6 EcoBoost petrol.
Ireson added that there are no plans for a FWD 1.6 TDCI to compete with rivals such as the Mazda CX-5 and Nissan, both of which offer 119g/km in their greenest versions. However this could change if there is a business case for a lower-emission version of the Kuga, which is expected to see 35% of sales go to fleets.
This lower-CO2 model would use the 1.6 TDCI unit – not the new 1.5 TDCI that’s being used for model such as the B-MAX and Fiesta – due to the need for more torque for towing. Ireson also said that 65% of Kuga models come with four-wheel drive, down to lifestyle choices and also that the higher-engined diesel isn’t available with 2WD.
The new Kuga will also offer a lower start price than the old model, down by £1,005 for the FWD 1.6 petrol model despite an increase in specification for the entry-level Zetec trim. The new model will also boast increased RVs, up from 32% to 40%, according to figures from CAP.
The increased specification is also expected to increase the Zetec’s percentage of sales, up from 28% on the previous generation to 48%, with the higher-spec Titanium and Titanium X models now taking 52% of sales instead of 72% for the old version.
Unusually the new Kuga is longer but based on the same wheelbase as the old model, as it’s been scaled to slot in between the forthcoming EcoSport urban SUV – due to go on sale in Europe this year although no date has been announced for the UK – and the Edge mid-size crossover, which is not planned for launch in the UK.
The previous-generation Kuga was launched in 2008 and has sold 48,000 models; 12,000 more than expected. The new model is forecast to see similar sales of around 10,000-12,000 units per year.