Category: Ford

New beginnings for Ford? Facelifted Kuga is here.

New Ford Kuga

New beginnings for Ford? Facelifted Kuga is here.

So, there’s a new (read facelifted Kuga) and it’s near impossible to discuss the new Ford Kuga in South Africa, without referencing the controversial “Kuga Fires” in the old car. As you know, this terrible situation led to a massive recall and even greater reputational damage to the brand. So, you can imagine how awkward it must be then, to make a happy occasion of the new Kuga launching in South Africa. The problem faced with Ford now is, how do you move on? How do you rebuild the trust that has been broken? These are the questions the product manager in SA has had to ask himself as we sit in a press conference during the launch. At the point, I am incredibly grateful to be on my side of the fence and not his.

New Ford Kuga

Where to from here?

In a nutshell, this is what the Kuga recall has accomplished. The campaign’s first phase has reached 93% of affected customers and Ford is actively looking for the remaining 7%. This recall affected 1.6 EcoBoost vehicles built between May 2012 and September 2014. A second phase was also initiated which included hardware changes as well in the vehicles. To further show their commitment to their clients, when the facelifted Kuga arrived in South Africa, the affected customers were given first preference to experience the car. Normally, the motoring media are given the vehicles to give their unbiased opinion on the car, but things were switched up this time – which is probably good because the customers come first, not the media.

So, since the affected customers have already driven this car, they’ve already probably formulated an opinion on it. New consumers on the other hand maybe still weary of the nameplate, for obvious reasons such as potentially bad resale value. Before getting into the looks and how it drives, we need to discuss the fact that this new car comes in cheaper than the previous one, approximately 7% cheaper. Ford will tell you that “the Rand has been good to them” but in reality, this is another way to rebuild that trust, which again is a good thing for the consumer. One more thing, the engine that caused all the issues is not even available in the facelifted Kuga and was on run-out in the previous one too. That hopefully eliminates any worries in the eyes of potential customers. Okay, now let’s chat about the new car.

New Ford Kuga

What’s new?

What is on offer now in terms of engines is the 1.5 litre EcoBoost, the 2.0 TDCI, as well as the 2.0 EcoBoost for those that want a lot of power. As usual, different trim packaging is available in the form of Ambiente, Trend and Titanium specification. Manual gearboxes are available on the 1.5 EcoBoost but the two 2.0 engines use automatic transmissions. In terms of tech, the SYNC 3 infotainment system is standard on Trend and Titanium models. This means you get Apple CarPlay and optional navigation. The functionality of Apple CarPlay in my mind makes in built navigation useless as Apple’s system uses its own maps which work very well. A Driver Assistance Package available on the Trend and Titanium will give you Blind Spot Detection, Lane keep/departure warning and Adaptive Cruise Control. All of which work well as our drive in the car revealed.

On the outside, the new look of the Kuga may fool you to think it’s a new car. It’s only a facelift but it does look pretty. The front and rear end has been redesigned, making it look sharper and more aesthetically pleasing. The interior is also of a good standard, not as premium as its rivals, but not cheap in any way. In this segment, there is a lot of competition so your choices are vast. The likes of a Volkswagen Tiguan or Mazda CX5 are tough competitors.

New Ford Kuga

 

So then, how does it drive?

On launch, the 1.5 EcoBoost automatic was available as well as the 2.0 TDCI. The 1.5 is front wheel drive only, whereas both the 2.0 engines are all-wheel drive, via a Haldex system. The little 1.5 is probably the best bang for buck for those looking for a large car with a raised ride height. If you’re a city dweller that barely does any off-road driving, you won’t need more than the 110kW/240N.m on offer from the engine. At R427 900 it comes in attractively too. Comfort levels are good and dynamically the car handled the 150km test route with ease. A slight wind noise here and there was apparent but we were in Eastern Cape after all. Overall however, the most complete package is the 2.0 TDCI. The powertrain in this car is very capable. With 400N.m you’re sorted for any situation, be it general overtaking in the city or long-distance driving. This engine feels better mated to the automatic transmission than the 1.5 EcoBoost, mainly due to the added torque.

Overall, the facelifted Kuga is a good car. It was never a bad car to begin with in terms of its capabilities or attributes. In fact, before the “Kuga Fires” incident, it was a highly recommended vehicle. Now that the old engine is gone, a new design is here and the pricing is lower – it’s simply a matter of allowing time to heal the wounds. Consumers are not as difficult to crack as they seem to be, one day Ford will look back on this situation and think, “That Kuga really showed us flames”. Pun intended.  

 

Ford Kuga Pricing in South Africa

Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente 6MT FWD            R368 800

Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Ambiente 6AT FWD             R381 900

Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Trend 6MT FWD                  R406 400

Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Trend 6AT FWD                   R427 900

Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Trend 6AT AWD                          R483 900

Ford Kuga 2.0 EcoBoost Titanium 6AT AWD              R497 900

Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium 6AT AWD                     R506 900

 

 

Has the Ford RS division gone tame? Focus RS Mk2 vs Mk3

Ford Focus RS Mk2 v Mk3

Any manufacturer that uses the letters ‘RS’  for their top-of-the-range derivatives usually wants to showcase what they can really do when pushed to the limit, they have a wild side that they just can’t contain. Ford is one of these brands and obviously I’m talking about the Focus RS Mk3; but this is not the first RS Ford has built, so l got to drive the mk2 to answer the question; “Has the Ford RS division gone tame or crazier?

Ford Focus RS Mk2

The old.

The mk2 RS has a 2.5-litre 224 kW engine putting out 440 N.m of torque. Now that doesn’t sound like a lot but considering the times when it was produced, back in 2009, this was almost impossible, especially considering that all this power was sent through to the front wheels. Ford did an outstanding job trying to control the power using a limited slip differential, a crucial piece needed to reign the Focus in. Ford’s WRC team also developed something called the RevoKnuckle to further help the power to channel smoothly through the front suspension. Even today, the car feels extremely alive and raw, like a lion eating its prey uncooked, unrefined, however, even with all these elements you feel very much in control, but you get the sense that the car was made to make you feel like a mad man, your steering wheel is your shield and the gear lever is your ‘Knobkerrie’.

Ford Focus RS Mk2

2008 New Ford Focus RS. (12/12/08)

With no driver modes, this car is only controlled by your right foot and boy is it such a thrill, the noise from the 5 cylinder engine under hood is just fantastic, I couldn’t get enough. Added to this noise is the flames thrown by the exhaust system as it backfires, one may think they have landed up in a war zone from the noise!

How does this car differ from the new?

The driving experience in the new car has undergone much improvement. Much more forgiving, and with the driving modes being introduced in the new RS, as well as the 4-wheel-drive system, it creates a safer handling feel to the car. The 4-cylinder engine is extremely powerful and it’s moving on with the times. Smaller engines are used nowadays and packed with power and in the new RS with 257 kW and 440 N.m is kicked out and still has an overboost function. Off the line, the new RS has launch control which can get the car to 100km/h in 4.7 seconds- 1.2 seconds quicker than the older mk2. The new RS feels more grown up and refined than the old one, but for me that’s where the problem lies.

New Ford Focus RS

You see, the new RS is now made to be a full on production car; it’s made to sell in various countries so it really needed to be able to be appealing in America and Australia and other places, so they held themselves back on going all out. It’s evident even in the sales of the cars, the old RS can still sell in the R500 000 region yet the current RS (even though it was released last year at R699 900) can be found  selling second hand  in the R500 000 region as well. The old RS is loud, boisterous and unique, it really didn’t care who bought it or if the seats broke your back or even if it couldn’t settle down, even when you’re just going to go buy bread and milk, it just wants to race there I think Ford played it safe, because even the styling of the mk2 RS is so undomesticated compared to the new one.

New Ford Focus RS

So to answer the question I posed in the beginning, I feel the RS division at Ford has gone tame. They put more into being able to sell the car to get get global appeal and left out the great bit that make Ford RS cars so special,  they followed a standard on this one. They forgot that the people that will buy this car don’t care that the seats break their backs, they know what to expect because the RS badge puts you into that loony frame of mind. In short then: the new RS is a better car, but the old RS though, that is a better RS…

 

Siya Manzini

Junior Writer

 

We drive the Ford Fiesta ST200

Driven Review on the Ford Fiesta ST200

Ford Fiesta ST200 South Africa

Ford celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Fiesta and what better way to send off the Mk7 Fiesta than with something really special? Say hello to the new Fiesta ST200. Only 160 units of these are coming to South Africa so it is going to be rare to see one. Nonetheless, Ford has already revealed the new ST overseas, so at least we know we won’t be waiting almost 5 years for the ST after the launch of the standard Fiesta, as we did with the Mk7 Fiesta ST.

Of course, this is a more powerful version of the outgoing Fiesta ST. In fact, this is the most powerful Fiesta Ford has ever built. The normal ST already has the ability to set excite, with its thrilling dynamics and cheeky performance figures. Things get even better as the ST200 produces 149 kW and 290 N.m in a car the size of a toddlers shoe. These numbers are impressive, considering the size of the car, so much so the top speed has been limited to 230 km/h,.

The result? An authentic hot hatch experience. Ford hasn’t strayed from the classic recipe of the ST, so it still gives you the thrills you want. The car feels more alive and in the bends, it doesn’t have any signs of a struggling front-end due to more power and torque. During brisk pull-offs, the overboost function comes in handy with an additional 11 kW and 30 N.m of torque on the last set of gears, so all-in-all, a whopping 160 kW and 320 N.m is produced. Ford also took the liberty of improving the final drive ratio from 3.82 to 4.06, so that the car can make the most out of the extra power. For those that don’t know what that means, this then shortens the gear changes and improves in-gear acceleration. It’s even quicker off the line, getting to 100 km/h in 6.7 seconds.

Ford Fiesta ST200 South AfricaFord has also worked on the damping of this new ST200, so it’s way more forgiving than the normal ST. It has relaxed dampers and an added new rear twist beam so it’s now even easier to live with, as the ride is not as harsh as it used to be. It is however still stiff enough for when you want to give it the “full beans”. The way the car puts its power down is great, the torque vectoring trickery that Ford uses is still brilliant. After exiting any corner the power is right behind you, to pull you out of any messy situation. The steering is also ever so sharp, the accuracy of it as well as the power delivery works hand well to give the an engaging experience that makes you smile. Overall the car provides accessible performance whilst maintaining the visceral elements you desire in a compact hot hatch.
Ford Fiesta ST200 South AfricaInterior wise, nothing much has changed, but Ford has added a few leather patches on the Recaro heated seats. However, my precious mother battled to fit in the bucket seats and as a result sat on the seat and not in it. The fascia remains the same and the display screen is still quite small. This can be forgiven because this is not a new car, it’s the last hoorah of this generation, so we can only expect an updated cabin in the following ST. Exterior bits include a rather nice looking storm grey paint finish, black 17-inch alloy wheels added to the already standard Fiesta ST go-faster/boy racer looks, completed with an ST200 badge in the rear.

Ford Fiesta ST200 South Africa

This ST is arguably one of the best cars in its segment and it has been outdone by this final iteration. This car also offers great value for money with a price tag of R339 900. The current Fiesta was the one we waited for in this segment, previous models models were never the best of the bunch but the mk7 proved sceptics wrong. The ST200 then is a brilliant way to bid farewell, may the next one keep it up.


Siya Manzini 

Junior Writer

 

Details on the limited edition Ford Fiesta ST200 in South Africa

Limited Edition Ford Fiesta ST200 available in South Africa

The Ford Fiesta is a very popular car among the younger generation in South africa and this can also be said for the sportier and faster ST variant. The Fiesta ST is a very rewarding hot hatch to drive, producing 134 kW in a fantastic chassis, making it a very good option for many a racey South African.

If you own or are thinking of buying a Fiesta ST, part of the reason for that purchase is that you want to be a little different and stand out amongst a sea of Polo GTI’s but still enjoy a rewarding drive. Unfortunately the Fiesta ST is also a very popular car, so you’re not going to be doing much standing out, then…

Ford Fiesta ST200 South Africa

This isn’t necessarily the case with Ford latest hot offering, the Fiesta ST200. This is a Fiesta one would definitely stand out in as Ford are only selling 160 of these units in South africa.

The Ford Fiesta ST200 gets a little bit more of everything over the standard ST. It has different styling, more power and and even better handling. It is also more expensive at R339 900 but for a car that’s more rare in South Africa than a VW Clubsport S, it may be worth the money.

Ford Fiesta ST200 South Africa

In the performance department, the Fiesta ST200 receives an increase in power from 134 kW to 149 kW or 200 bhp exactly. Torque also increases with an extra 50 N.m, bringing the total to 290 N.m. If that’s not enough, 20 Seconds of overboost is also available which produces an additional 11 kW and 30 N.m. That’s a total of 160 kW and 320 Nm – nice!

The additional power means a 0-100km/h time of 6.7 seconds with an electronically limited top speed of 230 km/h. Helping you get to that speed, in a safe environment of course, is a shorter 6th gear ratio.

Ford Fiesta ST200 South Africa

The suspension receives updates as well with revised damper specs, increased stiffness in the rear twist beam and a bigger diameter front anti-roll bar. New settings have also been included for the Electronic Power Assisted Steering to improve vehicle response. All in all, a fantastic handling hot hatch has been improved even further.

Ford Fiesta ST200 South Africa

We can’t forget to tell you about the unique exterior and interior design elements either. The Fiesta ST200 is only available in Storm Grey, a colour which has been specifically introduced for this model. This is offset by Matt Black 17” Alloys, Red brake calipers, LED rear taillights and ST200 badging.

Stepping inside, one will find heated Recaro sports seats, dual-tone seat belts, illuminated scuff plates and privacy glass from the rear windows.

Ford Fiesta ST200 South Africa

From the images, we can see that the Ford Fiesta ST200 is still quite understated and would not be easily recognizable to everyone. It is definitely a unique Fiesta ST and isn’t too badly priced when one considers that it will be scaring Golf GTI’s at the lights!

Updates to the Ford Focus in South Africa

South African Car News: Ford Focus Updated

South African Car News: Ford Focus Updated

The South African hatch segment is a very competitive place to be for a car manufacturer. We are seeing new and updated vehicles released on a regular basis as manufacturers compete provide the best package for car buyers.

One of these cars to recently receive upgrades is the Ford Focus. These changes include a new Diesel variant and updates to the styling and driver assistance packages.

Trend Styling Package

The updated styling package refers to the Trend styling pack which is only available on the 5-Door models of the Ford Focus. Changes to this pack include a newly styled bodykit, rear wing, 17-inch multi-spoke with lower profile tyres and a tilt and slide sunroof.

The sunroof is not the only electronic accessory in this pack, as the trend styling pack now also includes Bi-Xenon headlights derived from Focus ST3. These headlight incorporate dynamic beam technology and LED running lights. Finally, the Trend pack includes dual-zone climate control, heated and folding mirrors and privacy glass on the rear.

This is a nice pack to give your Ford Focus that little bit extra in styling and comfort and is priced at R19 984.

Driver Assistance Package

Ford’s driver assistance package has been updated to now include their SYNC 3 Infotainment system. The SYNC 3 is a big update over the previous SYNC 2 system, the 8-inch screen is brighter and now allows touch sensitive gestures. It also includes full navigation in multiple languages and supports Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

This package also includes a rearview camera, Active Park Assist, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Aid. Costing just R17 089, it could be a worthy upgrade.

New Ford 1.5-litre TDCi turbodiesel engine

The final upgrade to the Focus range is that Ford have replaced the 1.6 TDCi engine with a new 1.5-litre TDCi engine. Producing 88kW and 270 Nm while delivering power via a six-speed manual gearbox. We’re told this engine is much better than the one it replaces – a test will tell.

 

Limited Edition Fx4 Ford Ranger in South Africa

Limited Edition Ford Ranger Fx4 in South Africa

Limited Edition Ford Ranger Fx4 has been added to the South African range.

There’s a new version of the Ford Ranger and Ford describe it as “stunning.” Describing your new product as “stunning” is much the same as when a restaurant describes a dessert as being “delicious” on their own menu. I will be the judge of that, thank you very much!

I wouldn’t go so far as to say “stunning” but it is quite nice. And it’s certainly striking. Based on the Ranger 3.2 TDCi Double Cab 4×4, the Fx4 receives a number of visual only enhancements, as well as Ford’s latest SYNC 3 Navigation and infotainment system. The Ranger is arguably the benchmark in its segment with its “car-like” demeanour – its comfortable, refined and really is the kind of bakkie one can drive every day, in comfort.

Apparently the Fx4 nomenclature has something to do with the F-Series pickups in the US, but that’s about as far as the similarities go – Americans would consider this rather large vehicle a bit of a joke if parked up next to an F-250.

More specifically, the Fx4 gets black finishes for the grille, fog lamp surrounds, exterior mirrors, roof rails and door handles. The side steps, rear bumper and sports bar come in Panther black which should all go nicely with the aftermarket “Raptor” look-alike grille the Fx4’s owners will almost certainly fit the moment they take delivery, as most Ranger owners do.

Interesting side note – there have actually been reports of these “Raptor” grilles causing engine cooling issues on Ranger models. Not surprising, however, as these modifications are not OEM items and as such were likely never tested further than fitment, because they look kiff, bru.  

The Ranger Fx4 is available in just four colours – Panther Black, Moondust Silver, Sea Grey and Frozen White and can be had with either an automatic or manual transmission.

Pricing is R593 900 for the manual and R608 900 for the automatic. Both come standard with a 4 year/ 120 00km warranty and 5 year/100 000km service plan with 3 years/ unlimited km roadside assistance.

Stunning? Perhaps not. Relatively good value for money and a stealthy version of the best bakkie you can buy? More likely.

 

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Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line vs Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Powershift

Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line vs Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost Powershift in South Africa

The newly launched Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI R Line is a nifty little thing. The exterior look of this car is one that will pique the interest of many buyers. It’s marketed as a “performance” Polo despite it only having a 1.0 litre engine with 3 cylinders, but after driving it we can confirm that its nippy. The question then for you as a buyer is what’s the better buy, this new Polo TSI or perhaps the also-very-good Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost PowerShift Titanium?

 

The specs:

The Ford has been around for a while as consumers have loved the 3 cylinder 1.0 litre EcBoost engine it offers. With 74kW and 170Nm, the little Ford produces good numbers for both city and open road driving thanks to turbocharging. Equipped with the 6 speed PowerShift gearbox, it makes being stuck in traffic bearable since your left foot can rest. The Volkswagen Polo 1.0 litre TSI R Line has similar figures in terms of displacement and forced induction. It too has 3 cylinders but produces more power with 81kW and 200Nm. The difference is not huge but will be felt by keen motorists who love to drive in a hurry. Since both these cars have tiny engines, you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that they would be frugal on fuel. The Fiesta has a great claimed combined fuel consumption figure of 4.9 litres/100km, but the Polo edges ahead with a claimed figure of 4.4 litres/100km, again very closely matched.

The looks: 

In this segment, aesthetics play a huge role as cars like these are aimed at youthful individuals and let’s face it, the youth “like things”. In that case then choosing between the Ford and the Volkswagen may be a challenge as they both look great. The Fiesta has ST bits on it, making it look nice and sporty. The Volkswagen on the other hand comes equipped with the R-Line package, giving it too a racier look. On the inside is where the Polo has the slight upper hand as the cabin layout is simpler whereas the Fiesta is a bit too busy. Both cars offer connectivity such as Bluetooth and USB as well as auxiliary input. The new infotainment screen on the Polo is the nicer of the two but Fords SYNC system is quite good to use as well. In terms of overall appeal, the cars are again closely matched but the Volkswagen has a disadvantage. The fact that there are so many on the road may make the car seem more “common” but the R-Line kit can set it apart. Both cars are also four doors so they’re on par when it comes to space and access into the rear.

The Drive:  

The spikey nature of the Fiesta has always been something we’ve enjoyed about the car, it’s an engine with character. As mentioned having an automatic gearbox makes the car easy to live with day to day, so it will be a dream in the city. The Polo however is more of an angry little car. The DSG gearbox in the car has changed the character of the vehicle, giving it an immediacy that’s quite surprising. The way the VW handles too is something you don’t expect from a little 1.0 litre car. The Fiesta will be the one you want if you’re of a more relaxed disposition, whereas the Polo wants to have more fun.

Overall:

Both these cars are great vehicles indeed. At the end of the day it all comes down to preference and of course price. At R290 000, the Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line is not exactly cheap, the Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost PowerShift Titanium comes in cheaper at R274 900. That price tag comes with a 4 year/60 000km service plan which is a good deal. The Polo only comes with a 3 year/45 000km service plan. So what will you buy? These cars are marketed differently but offer very similar specs. If you’re more of a thrill seeker, we recommend the Polo, but if you want to save some bucks and still have a banging little cool car, the Fiesta is a very good choice too.