It’s all too easy to get familiar with a car these days – you jump in and out so often, that you forget what you like, and those niggly issues can just become the norm.
This is very much the case with our long-term Ford Kuga. Having been with us for the best part of 2018, the trusty Ford has taken us to all manner of places across country, without leaving any fuss or major problems.
My extended Christmas break would be the time to put it to the test with the family and a lengthy on a post-Christmas break to the Kent countryside.
I was a little unsure that a mid-sized SUV would have the luggage capacity needed to cope with the amount that the better half insists on packing every time a trip away is planned, but somewhat to my surprise the Kuga swallowed bag after bag. With only a couple of reshuffles, we managed to get 15 days’ worth of stuff for our five day get away into the back of the Kuga.
Really, the Ford should have been the perfect car for the trip. The majority of our route would be featuring A roads and then the M25, meaning the 1.5 diesel engine and automatic gearbox could cruise happily along, mostly unchallenged before heading into rural Kent.
By the time we had covered the first mile or so, I had realised one of the things I don’t like about the Kuga – the stop-start system. It’s so slow and unreactive. Couple this with a slightly slow to respond gearbox and it’s like a real-life game of Frogger every time you get to a junction. This is one of my biggest moans about driver aids in modern cars; they’re often so user unfriendly that the driver turns it off, so what the point in having them in the first place?
The majority of the journey passed by without much else to report. The Kuga does a fine job, cruising along at a steady place. The mid-sized diesel engine wasn’t too thirsty, the ride was comfy, and for at least part of the way, the kids were quiet – an added bonus.
There were, however, two minor irritations I found along the way – the first being the occasional piping up of the wife in the passenger seat, telling me what exits to take etc, (in case I had decide to ignore the sat-nav), and the other was the squeaky interior trim.
The centre console squeaks terribly in our Kuga – imagine someone rubbing two cheap plastic water bottles together the entire journey. It’s a painful sound to endure over such a long distance, and despite my best efforts I couldn’t find a way of making it stop.
The final leg of the journey saw us leave the bland motorway driving behind and head in to the countryside, with plenty of single-track lanes, and roads that were barely more than tarmac-covered tractor trails. Despite its tendency to stay in gear a little longer than feels necessary, the Kuga did a very adequate job.
Over the five days, the big Kuga carried us a good few hundred miles but still failed to leave a real impression. Was there anything really wrong with it? Annoying yes, but not really wrong. By the same token there is not much to get excited about. It does the job you need it do nothing more, and what else can you ask for?