We take a closer look at the technology in Ford's new Kuga SUV
Ford's new Kuga SUV has a number of cool technology features, including a hands-free tailgate. We take a closer look at what you can expect as Ford banks on a host of technology to win over new car buyers.
Inside the cabin of the Ford Kuga. As you can see, it looks pretty high tech from the driver's point of view. We reviewed the top of the range Titanium 1.6L petrol model ($44,740) with the optional Technology Pack ($2650).
The central part of the Kuga's dash is taken up largely by the built-in infotainment control panel. If it looks confusing, that's because it is. There are a wealth of buttons and it does take time to become familiar with how to operate all of the features.
You'll use the four buttons at the bottom the most, along with the large selection dial in the middle. The former are used with contextual menus on the screen, while the latter also adjusts audio volume.
The buttons for individual menus, like phone and auxiliary, are very small.
Surrounding the navigational dial are buttons for menu, map, sound and navigation.
The infotainment system screen is located above the dash, right in the centre. It's in a good position to glance at while driving without causing too many distractions. Here you can see the navigation menu.
All models of the Ford Kuga come standard with an Emergency Assistance feature. This uses your Bluetooth-paired smartphone to automatically dial 000 and sent GPS co-ordinates to emergency services if you have a car accident.
The Kuga includes Ford's SYNC connectivity platform, which is powered by Microsoft. In addition to allowing Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity, it also allows the driver to operate features via voice commands and a steering-wheel mounted control.
The SYNC system can display and read text messages from any connected smartphone.
We were able to reply to a text message by voice. Results varied, as they often do with voice technology, but for short messages it works reasonably well.
The Kuga's Active Park Assist is another tech function. It uses side and front mounted sensors to locate a parallel parking space big enough, then automatically steers you in. It's a bit of a gimmick but it worked well when we did use it.
One of the side mounted sensors on the Ford Kuga.
One of the rear mounted sensors on the Ford Kuga.
The $2650 Technology Pack adds a handy blind spot warning system, which flashes a small orange light on the side mirror. It works well, but we would have appreciated an audible warning, too.
Another one of the Kuga's sensors, this time on the front.
The drivers HUD displays trip computer information including fuel efficiency and trip kilometres.
A lane keeping warning system is also part of the tech pack. It actively steers you back into your lane if you start to drift out of it.
There's also a driver alert system that monitors for drowsiness.
Push button start is also a feature.
The driver HUD is controlled via the steering wheel.
You can see the voice button in the middle, which allows users to make hands-free calls and use many other commands.
A reverse camera is mounted on the back, just above the number plate.
The Titanium model of the Kuga comes standard with the hands-free tailgate option. It works by waving your foot below the rear bumper bar.
Here you can see the hands-free tailgate sensor underneath the rear bumper.
The active park assist feature can be switched on when you want to scan for available parking spaces.
Other features of the Kuga's optional Technology Pack include Active City Stop, Adaptive Cruise Control, Auto High-Beam Control and Driver Impairment Monitor.
We'll take a closer look at some more of these features in the coming days.
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