Ford's new Kuga SUV in sync with consumer trends
The new Ford Kuga SUV is pictured. (Photo from Ford Motor Company)
Published Monday, February 22, 2016 8:28AM EST
Ford has taken the unusual step of revealing its latest compact off-roader at a mobile technology conference, rather than at next month's Geneva motor show.
However, with the amount of intelligent, connected technology built into the new Kuga, the Mobile World Congress is perhaps the best venue.
"New Kuga offers cutting-edge new features and technologies that will help drivers stay connected, comfortable, safe and stylish on the road," said Joe Bakaj, vice president, Product Development, Ford of Europe.
The most notable of which is the Sync 3 infotainment system, which until now has been unavailable in Europe. However, for its launch on the continent it is getting a host of new features including better ‘natural language' voice recognition so that owners will be able to converse with their cars.
It means that if the driver is looking for a fuel station or the closest branch of Starbucks, he or she simply says "I need a coffee," or "I need fuel" in order to initiate a local search and activate the navigation system.
The platform also features a new app that will let users potentially finance a journey by offering to transport a package. Called MyBoxMan, it could enable a driver to earn €5-€8 for a 5km journey. "[It] opens up entirely new ways for drivers to stay connected and even earn money," said Scott Lyons, business and partner development, Connected Vehicle and Services, Ford of Europe. "Like a ride request service for deliveries, MyBoxMan is breaking new ground in social shipping, making intelligent and efficient use of car and van capacity on trips that are happening anyway."
The car boasts a host of active driver aids including a new parking assist feature that can recognize a suitable space as well as help a driver enter it or exit. Its emergency autonomous breaking system (called Active City Stop) has also been upgraded to work at speeds of up to 50km/h) and the car also gets new adaptive headlamps that base the strength and angle of illumination on the car's speed, the direction of the steering wheel and the ambient light levels.
The Kuga is the first of five new crossover cars from Ford planned for launch before decade's end when SUVs are expected to represent 27 per cent of all car sales in Europe.
"Demand for SUVs is stronger than ever, and Ford is expanding its range to offer everything from rugged models with true go anywhere ability to sporty models designed to suit urban lifestyles," Bakaj said.