Unfortunately, Colin has an inquiry on my 2.0 Mondeo Vignale Hybrid and he will most definitely not be on Santa’s nice list if he sells it, because I genuinely love that car and it left me with a big problem, what will I drive in the meantime? (Yes, it’s a perk to drive different vehicles, but is 60 hours a week and BIK really worth it?)
Luckily, I have a car outside that has some road tax on the screen. It’s a Magnetic grey, 1.5 TDCi Kuga ST-Line on a 181 plate.
The first thing that strikes you about this car, is that it is the same model and colour as the one from Ford Ireland’s advert, you know the one, the Lady lying in bed and see’s it outside, turns around and then sees it in the mirror, then up she gets and she goes to the gym.
“Spoiler alert” let me state, with absolute certainty, this car will not make you get up at 5.30 in the early hours, with a spring in your step and send you to the gym. What it will do, is exactly what happens in the advert, it will bring a smile to your face as soon as you see it. It looks savage, absolutely savage. That large angular grill, with those sweeping headlights at either side and the stance of the thing, it must be the best looking sub-€50K SUV on the market.
The ST-Line also has those black multi-spoked 18” alloys, flowing bodylines that culminate at a rear which is just as striking as the front. From every angle, this vehicle screams at you, shouts to make sure it’s heard and seen, it is not a car for the squeamish, here sits a car that wants to make a statement, has something to say and says it loud.
On opening the door, you are greeted with half leather and suede, electrically operated, multi adjusted seats that offer great support without you feeling cramped. The electric adjustment will position you in the correct position for comfort and safety. Looking up, that large panoramic roof lets in the light to emphasise just how roomy this car is, but it also feels like you have space to waste. All the dials are in the right place, (In front of you), you have a touch screen media centre with Bluetooth, Temperature control, 4 x electric windows, electrically heated mirrors and you also get Fords quick-clear heated front screen, a Godsend on those early frosty mornings. Apart from the above, the interior exudes quality. The materials are of the highest order and where there should be soft touch, it feels like your fingers are gloved.
So, it looks great, once inside, it feels great, but how does it drive? I leave for the gym most mornings at 6AM for a 6.30AM start, so you can imagine how dark, damp and cold it is. From Ninemilehouse to Thurles takes around the 30-minute mark, and it covers a load of twisty country lanes.
Let’s start with the engine. It’s a big vehicle, so how does a 1.5 engine pull such a vehicle. Answer, with ease. The lower gears are full of torque and the higher gears are smooth and very, and I mean very, economical. You may not think so, but this large SUV will easily deliver 50+MPG, wow! It blows me away at the strides in engine technology, by all manufacturers, over the last few years in making smaller engines perform like their older, larger predecessors. There is no screaming of resistance from under the bonnet when I accelerate, in fact, it is surprisingly willing to oblige.
I pass Mullinahone and am faced with a series of very tight S bends and don’t have to brake at a single one. The ST-Line just takes the bends as if they are not there. You do get slightly more roll than if you were in a car which is closer to the ground, but you won’t get that seasick feeling you get with some SUV’s out there. Never do you feel out of control, in fact, you get a sense of what early Volvo drivers felt, safe.
Going over the tops near Ballingarry, the lights penetrate the darkness with ease and allow you to see any possible obstruction (Whether furry or not, 2 little foxes saved this morning). Brakes are solid and deliver exactly what is needed to stop in time. When out on the main roads, it cruises without fuss, it even tells you what the optimum gear you should be in.
The gears themselves are crisp and extremely smooth, not fidgety, loose but solid to the feel. When you hit those hills, you simply knock it down a gear and the engine repays you by supplying the power required. It will not let you down and wants to deliver on all fronts.
I like this car, I like it a lot. It simply delivers on every front and I cannot imagine any customer being disappointed. This vehicle is ready to roll for those winter months that we know are coming. So, all I need is you. I need you to come on down and let us show you just how good this vehicle is. The coffee is always fresh and hot, the welcome warm and the service top notch, so see you soon. Thank you yet again for taking the time to check out my ramblings. James Mc Vicker, Sales Manager, Barlo Motors in Thurles.