Company Car

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The secret diary of a motoring journalist aged 39¾'ish


23rd November 2020

You may have read a few jibes at the Aston Martin DBX describing its looks as being very similar to the Ford Kuga’s. While Aston owners may smart at such comments, those company drivers choosing the latest Kuga can sit back happy in the knowledge their choice has such illustrious cues. Then again, the plug-in hybrid model that arrived this morning has a price tag of nigh on £40,000, so it should be a looker.
Secret Diary- 23rd November 2020-Ford Kuga-Image 4
I don’t have a wallbox at home as yet, so a domestic socket suffices for any charging of the Kuga. Ford reckons this takes around six hours, which also tells us the Kuga PHEV is at the milder end of the EV range spectrum. So it proves, with a claimed 35-mile battery range. Real-world driving for me on a broad mix of roads shows this to be more like 20 miles from a full charge, which is still sufficient for most of this week’s driving needs.
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Well, it’s been confirmed today: solely petrol- and diesel-powered cars will not be sold in the UK from 2030 onwards. Setting aside all of the arguments for and against this move, the Kuga PHEV shows hybrids have a very relevant place in the world right now. I had to head into Edinburgh for work and the Ford cruised on the motorway very quietly and then glided through town in EV mode, switching seamlessly between the two drive settings.
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A country road drive this morning and, despite packing a 2.5-litre petrol engine and EV motor, this Kuga doesn’t feel that spritely. Claimed 0-62mph is 9.2 seconds, but it feels more of a slouch on the road due to the CVT (continuously variable transmission). I’m not a fan of this type of gearbox and it’s at odds with the Ford’s otherwise excellent handling and steering responses on these kinds of road.
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This isn’t a particular gripe with the Ford Kuga, more with EVs and PHEVs in general: when will car makers provide a proper storage space for the charging leads? In the Kuga, they lie in the boot, sliding about on corners. There is some space under the boot floor, but what’s really needed is a plastic box so the cables don’t leave mucky marks on the trim if they’ve been lying on a wet, muddy path like my driveway.
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Concentrating more on the Kuga side of this car than the PHEV drivetrain, Ford has got it bang on with this second-generation of its mid-sized SUV. More space for the kids in the back seats and a larger boot, excellent driving position and a ride that strikes a very fair deal with whatever road surface you find yourself on. Only the brake pedal could do with a little more progression for a totally smooth drive.
Secret Diary- 23rd November 2020-Ford Kuga-Image 8
A week with the Kuga PHEV and plenty of miles covered, but it’s still showing two-thirds of a tank of fuel. Battery range is current zero this morning as I didn’t plug it in to charge, yet that doesn’t present any concerns in the way it would with a pure EV. So, this hybrid scores well and also adds up when it comes to company car costs, even in this pricier ST-Line X specification.
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