New models - Ford - Kuga - Ambiente
Spec and price increase for Ford's Kuga
Ford Kuga gains connectivity tech and price hike for the new financial year
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11 May 2016
FORD has added more gear to its base Kuga Ambiente and the price of entry to its mid-size SUV range is set to increase at the start of the new financial year in July.
The upgrades are not part of the Kuga facelift that was shown at the Geneva show in March, which is expected to arrive in Australia later this year or early 2017.
Pricing remains unchanged until June 30, with the Ambiente starting at $27,990 plus on-road costs for the manual FWD, $29,490 for the auto and $31,990 for the Ambiente AWD auto.
From July 1, the price of all three Ambiente variants rises by $1260 apiece to $29,250 (FWD manual), $30,750 (FWD auto) and $33,250 (AWD auto), but there is no change to Trend and Titanium pricing.
The increase means that entry point to the Kuga range is now higher than a number of its key rivals including the Hyundai Tucson ($27,990), Honda CR-V ($27,490), Kia Sportage ($28,990), Mazda CX-5 ($27,190), Nissan X-Trail ($27,990) and Toyota Rav4 ($27,990).
Ford Australia communications and public affairs director Wes Sherwood told GoAuto that the specification changes and pricing shift for the Kuga Ambiente was part of the car-maker's strategy to offer more equipment in entry models.
“It is in line with our overall plan which is, we are trying to offer a lot of value at a reasonable price and I think we have laid out the technology advantages we have,” he said. “We recognise we also have a lot of opportunities with small SUVs because we don't have our normal share level in small SUVs so we have got to make a statement there.
“We really do think we have a pretty compelling story there. It is a very strong value proposition for customers.”
The Kuga Ambiente now comes with the Sync2 connectivity system that is already standard in the mid-spec Trend and flagship Titanium.
Sync2 features an 8.0-inch touchscreen – the largest among its competitors, according to Ford – with voice-controlled satellite navigation with real-time traffic and travel information and an updated 4.2-inch colour instrument cluster multi-function display.
It also gains a reversing camera and dual-zone climate control with second-row airvents. The camera and DAB+ digital radio were added to the Ambiente as standard in November last year.
Safety wise, the Kuga features Ford's Intelligent Protection System that incorporates the usual suite of airbags, anti-submarining seat bases, Isofix child seat anchors, emergency brake lights, trailer sway control, rollover mitigation, emergency brake assist and ABS.
The Kuga Ambiente uses a 1.5-litre EcoBoost turbo-petrol engine in two states of tune, with the base front-wheel drive variant producing 110kW/240Nm, while the all-wheel drive pumps out 134kW/240Nm.
The FWD is offered in six-speed manual or auto and the AWD only gets the auto.
Higher grade Kugas are offered with the choice of a 178kW/345Nm 2.0-litre EcoBoost petrol or a 132kW/400Nm 2.0-litre TDCi diesel engine.
Kuga sales fell 26 per cent last year compared with 2014, with Ford clocking up 4344 units, keeping it right at the back of the mid-size SUV pack behind the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Nissan X-Trail, Subaru Forester and Mitsubishi Outlander.
But so far in 2016, Kuga sales have risen by 31 per cent year to date with 1515 units shifted, enough to put it ahead of the Jeep Cherokee (652).
Mr Sherwood said Ford has been pushing the Kuga in its marketing activities and will continue to promote it given the popularity of mid-size SUVs in Australia.
“We have absolutely put a huge emphasis on Kuga this year and SUVs in total. We are just really emphasising that market. Obviously globally SUV sales are expanding rapidly and Australia is leading the way so we have got to be strong in this segment to be a lead player in the market.
“You will see a lot of Kuga around town and on the air. We didn't just launch it and leave it last year when we have the new upgrade, we are continuing to keep the pedal down on the vehicle.”
Mr Sherwood said there were a number of reasons Kuga sales had increased in 2016 and acknowledged the impact of some of Ford's halo models in helping lift brand perception.
“A number of different connections are starting to fire in the right direction.
We don't think it is coincidental that with recent launches of Everest, Ranger and Mustang that most of the boats are starting to lift in the marina.”
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