Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Ford Kuga: A Qualified Opinion

How disappointing. I received an email from Quantum Market Research:

Recently you showed some interest in buying an SUV called the Ford Kuga. Ford is very interested in asking you some questions regarding what you thought of the Ford Kuga and what you look for when purchasing an SUV.

Oh goody, someone cares about what I think! some one is "very interested" in what I think and what I look for!
Unfortunately, after 5 qualifying questions, I was booted out! Apparently that first statement in the email was a total lie, and now I, as a potential customer feel like I am not interesting and my thoughts are not important. 
Of course that's not entirely true, in that I didn't feel that way, but some potential customers may have, and of course my opinion is important. 
Way to distance the customer from the product Quantum Market Research.

Here's the 5 Qs:
Are you male or female?
How old are you?
What state are you from?
Have you bought a new car?
Do you work in the automotive industry/nooz?
Unfortunately, I didn't qualify (and it wasn't the last question because I said no. The Automotive industry is not my profession). Whether that was because I wasn't the correct configuration or Quantum Market Research are Blues fans (Go Maroons!) is irrelevant. I have an opinion on the Kuga and I'm going to share it dammit!
It's heavier than a Commodore Evoke wagon and only marginally more efficient, however the cost of the required premium fuel would certainly mean greater running costs. 
That's before even talking about servicing costs or the possibility of using the greener LPG option for the local product. 
Statistically the Kuga appears markedly under powered with the 1.6 ecoboost. I am fairly confident that fuel consumption would be pretty ordinary under load, particularly in hilly areas. Why on earth would you use a 1.6 in the Kuga but a 2.0 in the Falcon (which weighs less!)? #weird
Of course there is good news to be had though, in the frugal and grunty 2.0 Diesel coupled with the direct shift 6 speed transmission, but it's going to cost you 40k at least for the privilege (which isn't too bad really).
You get points for how it looks too. The design is reasonably good for the upper end of the segment, however, it has just stopped being contemporary. It's now out of date. If you sit a new X-Trail next to it, it's Star Trek (the one with the young hot Kirk) vs. Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek IV the Journey Home. Have a guess which is the Vulcan.
Interior wise, the Spanish built Kuga is mid pack, mainly due to the centre stack which looks like something Sony designed in the late 90's. I do have "a problem" with Sony in that I still think they're cool, but I'm partying like it's 1999. No one else is.
Now here's the rest of the good news: I don't REALLY care about any of that stuff (except the 1.6 Ecoboost). 
What I'm looking for is; how well I can fit the kids seats? 
How easy it is to get the pram/portacot/lilo/esky/8 changes of baby clothes/300 nappies/tent etc. (dependent on requirements at the time) loaded into the back...... and then access the clothes bag to retrieve the only Octonauts DVD that is required (the other 4 are the wrong ones).  
Can I easily pass a frozen coke fruit popper to the seat behind me? 
Does the cover of the centre console bin become wobbly after kids constantly use it as a thoroughfare to escape when you are trying to buckle them in? 
How easy is it to get the McDonalds fries out from next to the front seat rail?
Is there somewhere to store a spare change of clothes and emergency wipes for the juniorest burger (we're potty training)?
If, for some strange reason I actually drive on some wet grass, will my pretend 4X4 have the guts to pull itself up that seemingly innocuous knoll without awkward slipping and revving whilst the other dads at the camp ground point and laugh nervously hoping they don't have to do the same with their flimsy french poodle Peugeot?

According to your survey, you already know I'm not your target market. I mean sure I'm a mid level white collar professional under 40 (just) with three kids and a 3 year old car I bought new, but who's interested in what I think? 
Maybe next time around, we will buy an SUV because as I try out more of them, I can see their practical value, but they are still slow as shite. 
Right now, many SUVs are still badly done cars or weak sauce off road vehicles, with almost minivan practicality. They are rapidly moving toward becoming more car like, and that's a good thing (handling wise) but they need more power! 
Think about it. SUVs are supposed to be for holidays as much as the everyday. But when you are on holiday, that is when you have the least rearward visibility, the highest load and usually the longest travel time. They are all risks. The last thing you need is to find out that 240nm really isn't a lot when you are trying to overtake a caravan on unfamiliar roads.
Chances are, I'm just going to buy another Commodore wagon anyway, because  my wagons already do what I want (except for retrieving fries from next to the seat rails) and I can safely rely on the little bit of extra power to safely overtake, irrespective of if I have my whole family on board with all our camping gear or not. 
So there you go Quantum Market Research. That's what I thought of the Ford Kuga and that is what I look for when buying an SUV. Not that you care. I don't qualify. 

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