Expert Reviews

First Drive: Ford Kuga Vignale

Thursday 03 November 2016

First Drive: Ford Kuga Vignale

The Kuga is the fourth Ford car to be given the Vignale treatment, following the Mondeo, S-Max and Edge.

The Kuga Vignale comes as an attempt by Ford to move the C-Segement car a little closer to the premium end of the market, offering drivers improved levels of equipment and technology. Ford’s latest Sync 3 infotaiment system is also included. 

Four engines are available from launch, in the form of two petrols and two diesels. Ford’s 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine is offered with either 148bhp or 180bhp, while the 2.0-litre diesel comes in either 148bhp or 178bhp states of tune. Our test vehicle featured the more powerful diesel, which was combined with Ford’s Powershift automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Looks & Image

The Vignale treatment has brought with it all manner of additional styling touches, such as 19-inch polished alloy wheels and a signature hexagonal grille. They do well to give the Kuga Vignale a distinctly upmarket look, though it may be a little too out-there for some.

Inside, the Kuga’s cabin has been heavily worked on. There’s quilted leather seats, as well as a heavy use of leather on the dashboard and door cards. Our test car’s interior used Ford’s signature Cashmere colour, which really does help lift the look of the cabin. Some cheaper plastics are still used in areas such as around the infotainment system, but for the most part the Kuga’s interior is a nice place to be. 

In terms of the comfort, the Kuga is very good. Those quilted leather seats are pleasant to sit in, though they could offer a little more in terms of lateral support. A good amount of adjustability makes finding the right driving position easy, too.

Space & Practicality

With a five-seat layout, there’s plenty of room for passengers inside the Kuga Vignale. There’s a good amount of headroom throughout the cabin, while legroom in the rear is more than enough. Although there are three seats in the back, a trio of adults may feel a little cramped when travelling together on a long journey.

When it comes to boot space, the Kuga Vignale can offer a reasonably large 406 litres. The rear seats can be folded down of course, which increases the load area to 1,603 litres. A hands-free tailgate is also included as part of the Vignale package, which allows drivers to open the boot by simply waving their foot under the rear bumper. The car’s keys do need to be in their pocket, however. 

Behind the Wheel

The Kuga Vignale is a reasonably pleasing car to drive. Being an SUV it is never going to be able to offer the sort of involvement you’d find in a sports car, but it does a good job of inspiring the smallest amount of driving excitement in the driver. It’s got plenty of grip, while the steering has a good amount of weight to it as well as being able to offer a decent level of feedback. Thanks to a softer suspension setup it rides well too, although a certain degree of body roll can be experienced when cornering at higher speeds.

Where the Kuga Vignale does excel, however, is out on the motorway. The 2.0-litre engine is refined, and the exterior of the car doesn’t generate too much wind noise either. All of this combines to create a car which is relaxing when mile-munching. However, it is a little lacking on the performance side of things, which means a decent amount of preparation has to go into any overtaking manoeuvre

Despite the Kuga Vignale being a relatively large car, it’s never too much of an issue when out on the road. Good levels of visibility, along with Ford’s Perpendicular Parking system that can park the vehicle for you, means that the Kuga isn’t ever going to be too tricky to park.

Value for Money

Prices for the Kuga Vignale start at £30,795, which does appear to be quite expensive for the segment. However, for that you do get an awful amount of standard equipment. There’s the previously mentioned Sync 3 infotaiment system, which incorporates satellite navigation, Apple Car Play and Android Auto. DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity is fitted as standard as well. Voice command technology is also included.

Who would buy one ?

The Kuga Vignale will certainly appeal to those buyers who are looking for a well-specced and comfortable crossover. Families who want all the practicality that comes with a larger car, as well as a decent interior will also favour the Kuga Vignale.

Facts at a Glance

Model: Ford Kuga Vignale
Engine: 2.0-litre TDCi diesel producing 178bhp
Transmission: Six-speed PowerShift automatic, AWD
Performance: Max speed 124mph, 0-62mph in 10 seconds
Economy: 57.6mpg
Emissions: 134g/km 

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