Friday, 27 August 2010

Ford Kuga and Nissan Terrano

Should I replace the Nissan with a Kuga? When the time comes? The Nissan is taller (see above) but the room inside is comparable. A Kuga is on my shortlist. I bought the Nissan new in 1998 for something like £26,000, about the price of a decent Kuga now, yet it carries its years well, passing its MoT the other week, pausing only to have brakes dusted down. I bought it to replace a 1993 Maverick, its Ford twin, which had also been the soul of reliability so they have been a family mainstay for 17 years. With a stout chassis and non-rusting body I thought it would last for ever, and it very nearly has but its 2.7 diesel has the charm and refinement of a London taxi (no coincidence, lots of London taxis used Nissan diesels) and I now need something more saloon car-ish. Twenty years’ development in diesels shows. The Kuga is smoother, quieter and feels lighter. The only clue to being a diesel is a limited rev range but the strong torque and 6-speed automatic mean that scarcely matters. It was so much smoother and livelier than the Nissan I did actually stop and looked at the fuel filler (which is only a flap – it has no screw cap) to see if it said DIESEL. You can use the automatic like a manual if you want.
I have thought about an estate car yet I am reluctant to forgo four wheel drive. You only need it once in a while but in emergencies, winter, towing, or off-road occasions that happen infrequently you bless it. So, maybe a crossover, on a car platform, with a tall body, high seating, good ground clearance and the appearance of a Sport Utility. The Kuga behaves like a saloon car, handles securely, rides smoothly and doesn’t feel a bit like the harshly sprung Terrano. It hasn’t got a big strong separate chassis but its C-car architecture of Focus and C-Max provide a good balance of comfort and control.

Would a Kuga be big enough for the dogs? That is Wellington looking superior. The luggage space of 360l (12.7cuft) is smaller than a Focus but with the back seats flat it goes up to 1355l (47.8cuft), which is big enough. Underseat storage beneath the rear seats and the boot floor are practical features, the back seats have a 60/40 split and the flat glass upper section of the tailgate can be opened separately. I might miss the third row of seats. The Nissan’s have seldom been used; they are usually folded away or taken out and left in the garage but once again, what a boon on occasion. Their leather upholstery is like new. I would miss the Nissan’s leather. The seats on Kuga I had on test only had leather facings although they are well trimmed and practical. Kuga has some road noise and bump-thump, a bit of winfd noise on the motorway, but against the Nissan it is luxury. Although 41.7mpg is not as economical as some rivals it beats the Nissan’s 27.
The kerbside-opening door was never an inconvenience but the Kuga's upwards one is better. It has a little handle to help short people close it.
Tail-ender. Nelson would not be left out.

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