· Porsche Cayman scoops the 2014 SA Car of the Year title.
· SAGMJ says that it’s only the second time that a manufacturer has won the competition twice in a row. Last year the Porsche Boxster scooped the title.
· Opel won the competition twice in 1994 and 1995.
· But VW scooped the win in 2010 and 2011 (sharing the win with BMW in 2011)
· Porsche Cayman is powered by a 3.4L flat six engine. Has a top speed of 287kph and a 0-100kph in 5.2 seconds
· Sadly, not that affordable and maybe people don’t believe that it is a justified COTY winner.
Road test of the week: Ford Kuga 1.6 ECOBOOST
When the previous-generation Ford Kuga arrived in South Africa in 2011, it didn’t make much of an impression because it was an unproven product in the market and in the twilight of its model life. This situation is now rectified with the introduction of the new range soon after its European debut.
The newcomer is built in Spain on the Focus C-segment hatchback platform and has increased in overall length compared with the previous model. This means there’s quite a bit more luggage space – a high priority when buyers of do-it-all soft roaders. The stylists have managed to improve even on the great looks of the outgoing design, putting the Kuga high up in the cool fashion stakes. Oh, and even though the brake-duct inlets are faux, they still look racy.
The touchscreen of the infotainment system is small and cluttered, navigation is not available and the audio system, with its plethora of small buttons spread out over the shiny black facia, is finicky to operate. There’s plenty of leg- and headroom, while the spaces under the front seats afford added foot space for rear passengers and the fold-up trays conjure thoughts of picnics in the countryside.
Families benefit from luggage room and utility space balloons with the 60:40-split rear seats folded down. A flexible, retractable parcel shelf is fitted. To maximise the load space, Ford decided on a space-saver spare wheel that has a maximum speed rating of 80kph. While this might be frowned upon by owners of 4×4 models, it will probably be acceptable to 4×2 purchasers who normally do not venture too far from sealed surfaces.
Smaller engines with turbocharging are becoming very popular and Ford’s version produces 110kW and 240Nm. Turbo lag is all but absent, which should be to the liking of the majority of drivers because the power delivery is linear rather than exhibiting a surge of torque that can catch you during cornering. The degree of engine noise permeating the cabin is low and a sprint time of 10,1 seconds to 100kph is very good for a compact SUV.
Fuel efficiency is what all manufacturers are sweating over and Ford has chosen the 1.6L route with turbocharging for this very reason. The 1.6 Kuga achieves an average fuel-index figure of 7,92-litres/100 km and our fuel run returned 8,2-litres/100 km. An active grill shutter in front aids the aerodynamics, thereby also reducing consumption.
The steering is now electrically assisted, yet provides very natural weighting, making it one of the better designs of this ilk. The ride quality is firm and well controlled without ever being too harsh.
“Lifestyle vehicle” is an overused description for cars that are aimed at adventurous buyers, but this perhaps best describes the front-wheel-drive 1.6 Ecoboost Ford Kuga. With more space than before, great looks and class-leading comfort, it would be difficult not to be impressed by this new Ford. Nevertheless, the 4×2 SUV/crossover segment has a number of very talented contenders.
The segment also boasts contenders from Japan (Nissan Qashqai and X-Trail), Korea (Kia Sportage and Hyundai ix35), France (Peugeot 4008 and Citroën C4 Aircross) and, of course, Germany (VW Tiguan). Buyers are spoilt for choice, but the Ford Kuga is good enough to deserve a spot on any short list.
Pricing includes a 4-year/120 000 km warranty, 4-year service plan (80 000 km on petrols and 90 000 km for diesels) and a 3-year roadside assist plan
Thegandra Naidoo in conversation with ebizradio
Podcast | Click HERE to listen
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