Hybrid adds to Kuga SUV electrified appeal

Ford Kuga hybrid

FORD has widened the Kuga range with a so-called self-charging hybrid version, which will sit alongside the plug-in hybrid model, writes William Scholes.

The hybrid uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine which runs on the efficient 'Atkinson' combustion cycle and is linked to an electric motor and 1.1kWh battery.

Ford reckons this is enough to give the family SUV a 600-mile range, which it argues makes it a genuine diesel rival.

By Ford's own figures, that also means its range is 30 per cent greater than the plug-in Kuga.

A lack of charging cable means the hybrid is "effortless to own", says Ford, though that same lack of charging cable means the Kuga can't go as far on electric power as a plug-in.

The batteries are topped up by either the engine or the energy generated when coasting or braking.

The stored energy can then be used to enhance performance, aid efficiency or deliver pure electric driving for short periods.

Ford claims that the Kuga hybrid will return 48.7mpg while emitting 130g/km of CO2.

The 0-62mph time is quoted as 9.1 seconds. The powertrain makes 187bhp and can be had with front- or four-wheel-drive.

Ford Kuga hybrid

The hybrid has an automatic continuously variable transmission set-up, and Ford says it has worked hard to give the car "driving appeal".

Kuga chief programme engineer Glen Goold said that a simulated gear-shift function "makes the SUV more engaging to drive with the familiarity of traditional 'cog swaps', plus the added benefit of limiting engine noise".

A liquid cooling system means the batteries don't need a cooling fan, which helps to reduce the overall size of the battery pack.

Thus the Kuga hybrid can still offer a boot of up to 1,481 litres volume with the rear seats folded flat.

The car, which is built in Valencia, Spain, can also tow trailers of up to 1,600kg.

Trim levels follow Ford's familiar ST Line Edition, ST Line X Edition and Vignale hierarchy.

Prices start from £33,600.

Ford is aiming to introduce 17 electrified vehicles in Europe before the end of the year.

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