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Ford pounces as new Kuga to start sub-$30k

On the prowl: The 2013 Kuga SUV will come standard with Ford’s SYNC connectivity system an electronic tailgate that uses motion sensor technology to open.

Ford confirms sub-$30,000 entry-level Ambiente variant and EcoBoost for new Kuga

1 Mar 2013

FORD Australia will at last have a compact SUV that competes in the crucial sub-$30,000 price point when it launches the second-generation Kuga in May.

The Blue Oval will add an entry Ambiente variant previously not available in the outgoing Kuga line-up, allowing it to better compete at the sharp end of the booming segment.

For some rivals, as many as 75 per cent of sales are their front-drive, entry variants. The company will retain the mid-spec Trend and range-topping Titanium specification levels used in the previous model.

Two-wheel drive SUVs that come in at under $30,000 include the Mazda CX-5 ($27,880 plus on-road costs), Honda CR-V VTi ($27,490), Nissan X-Trail ST ($28,490) and Toyota RAV4 ($28,490).

All variants will be available with a 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine matched to a six-speed torque-converter automatic, while a 2.0-litre Duratorq diesel will also be available, fitted exclusively with a six-speed Powershift dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Ford is also yet to confirm a manual gearbox for the entry-level Kuga, with an announcement expected closer to the launch date. Neither has the Blue Oval confirmed if the Ambiente will follow the segment trend and come in front-wheel-drive guise.

A larger 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine available in overseas markets could also be shoe-horned under the bonnet of the Kuga down the track, however Ford Australia brand communications manager Neil McDonald told us today the brand would stick with the 1.6 for now.

Mr McDonald said that he expected the new Kuga to be more competitive than the outgoing model that sold a total of 1107 units last year.

“That compact SUV market is hotly competitive and we think we have got a really excellent vehicle with Kuga,” he said.

“We think that the sub-$30,000 segment entry is a really good point for us and with a better model spread it will be a pretty competitive vehicle.” Ford has packed the Kuga with standard safety and comfort features, including the SYNC connectivity system that has an emergency assist function that uses the driver’s mobile phone to contact emergency services if the airbags are deployed.

The Kuga will also include a hands-free automatic tailgate that can be operated by waving a foot under the rear bumper through motion sensor technology.

Ford Australia general manager of marketing David Katic said that the standard features list will appeal to buyers looking for good value.

“We put more smart stuff in, so our customers can get more fun stuff out. It is by far the most advanced compact SUV Ford has ever developed.” Ford has already achieved a five-star ANCAP rating for the new Kuga and pricing and specifications will be confirmed closer to the on-sale date in May.

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