DYNAMIC FORD KUGA SOUTH AFRICA







Published by Gerald Ferreira Date: November 21, 2011
Categories: Ford, Ford Kuga

  • The Kuga offers excellent on-road and off-road driving capabilities
  • A fully-automatic Haldex All Wheel Drive(AWD) system ensures dynamic driving capabilities and peace of mind motoring

PRETORIA, South Africa, 21 Nov., 2011 – The Ford Kuga has been engineered for superior on-road driving dynamics and exceptional off-road capabilities for expanded leisure-time use.

New Ford Kuga Rear

The dynamic new 147kW 2.5-litre Duratec 5-cylinder Turbo petrol engine offers drivers smooth but agile power and high torque levels over a wide speed range, combined with a high level of refinement and a distinctive engine sound.

The engine for the Kuga is based on the well-proven and acclaimed Ford 2.5-litre Duratec Turbo engine already available in the sporty Focus ST. The unit has been carefully re-calibrated for the Kuga to meet the performance expectations that customers have in the compact All-Wheel-Drive crossover segment.

The Kuga 2.5 Turbo comes with the acclaimed, Haldex Gen-4-Intelligent AWD system delivering impressive performance.  With a maximum power output of 147kW at 6,000rpm and a linear torque peak of 320Nm being available from 1,600 up to 4,000rpm, the vehicle reaches a top speed of 205km/h.

New Ford Kuga Inside

But it's not all about performance. A detailed re-tuning of the exhaust tone makes sure that the driver can really enjoy the characteristic and sonorous 5-cylinder turbo sound - powerful yet highly refined.

The Automatic Choice
The Kuga comes with a 2.5-litre Duratec engine which is mated to a Durashift 5-tronic automatic transmission.

This combination not only takes full advantage of the high and very linear torque performance of the 5-cylinder turbo engine, it also adds significant comfort, refinement and versatility to the Kuga.

Key to the versatility of the Durashift 5-tronic is the ability for the driver to switch between different modes. To allow maximum driver involvement, a Manual mode is provided, giving full control of the five-forward gears. Sport and Manual modes give faster transmission reaction times to minimal throttle inputs from the driver, providing a sportier and more dynamic driving style.

When the 'S' mode is engaged, the driver can enjoy the fully automatic Sport mode which activates up- and downshifts at different shift points as appropriate. Information related to modes and gear selection is provided in the central instrument cluster display.
The TCM incorporates sophisticated, adaptive learning procedures. After the prescribed running-in period the transmission will provide optimum gear shifting smoothness for all conditions irrespective of terrain or driver input. The transmission will adapt to perform within its optimum window of operation to always provide maximum smoothness when changing gears, irrespective of the mode selected.

Engineered to Provide Car-like Qualities

The challenge when developing the Kuga was to bring passenger car-like DNA characteristics into the crossover segment. Ford's engineers had a number of targets and areas that contribute to the Kuga's characteristics:

  • A high level of agility, low level of steering wheel angle demand, avoiding a 'big-car' feel, despite a high seating position
  • A high level of ride quality while still providing excellent body control
  • A low level of roll angle and low roll velocity during cornering, despite the higher centre of gravity
  • A high level of steering precision to overcome the use of typically 'less precise' muddy and slippery conditions.

The key overall target was to ensure that the Kuga achieved the highest levels of ride, handling, braking and steering performance within the segment.

Unique suspension and steering geometry had to be developed for the Kuga. Engineers were able to draw from Ford’s already established and reliable C-car components such as the front axle with MacPherson strut suspension, Ford's Control Blade independent rear suspension already fitted to many of the latest Ford models, a solid body structure and a low friction steering system.

The Kuga uses many systems and components in order to achieve the programme's targets:

  • Front shock absorber valving
  • Rear shock absorbers that are larger than those usually fitted to Ford's C segment cars
  • Front suspension 'jounce' bumper
  • Front and rear suspension top mounts
  • Hydraulic rebound stops
  • Rear anti-roll bar system
  • Rear suspension knuckle and subframe to provide significant stiffness improvements
  • Front and rear suspension geometry
  • Hydrobush in the front suspension lower control arm
  • Front and rear wheel bearings for improved stiffness
  • Track width – at 1,578 mm
  • Wheelbase – at 2,690 mm

Kuga Ride

To achieve a high level of ride quality for on-road usage combined with the demand of high body articulation angles for excellent off-road traction and manoeuvrability, the front and rear damper systems were modified.

New Ford Kuga Front View

The front shock absorbers utilise a valving system that allows a tuning in 'jounce' to rebound balance for better body control. The valving system helps to reduce suspension noise, thus contributing to the best possible ride and SQ&V characteristics.

Hydraulic rebound stops are located within the front shock absorbers of the Kuga, further improving suspension noise.

The improvements to the front shock absorbers had to be balanced with the rear. The rear shock absorbers of the Kuga were therefore increased in size, in order to reduce the internal pressure level. This ensures an even better 'tunability' throughout the damper speed range, an especially important consideration in off-road conditions.

The improved tunability of both shock absorber systems was also key in minimising so-called 'headtoss', a term coined by Ford's engineers to describe the unpleasant lateral jerks usually associated with off-roading where a higher level of wheel travel occurs. This is further supported by a new anti-roll bar system with improved efficiency.

New Ford Kuga Cup Holder

A new rear anti-roll bar system gives a significantly increased 'efficiency', which in driving dynamics terms means an optimised response time. These actions also enabled a reduction in the anti-roll bar diameter, a main parameter of headtoss-causing driving situations.

The positive headtoss characteristics are further enabled by a front and rear suspension geometry that has been especially devised for the Kuga. They employ 'off-road optimised rollcentre' positions. The rollcentre positions can be tuned to create individuality to each car's driving dynamics. For the Kuga, Ford's engineers chose a high position to enable the desired low car-like roll motions during cornering while at the same time allow for a quick steering response through optimised lateral load transfer.

New Ford Kuga Aircon

Kuga Steering

Front and rear geometry settings of the Kuga are a key enabler to providing the desired car-like steering attribute targets. The high level of structural stiffness within the body and chassis systems ensure that outstanding driving quality is delivered. A new front suspension turret brace that reinforces the top mount attachment areas was developed to cope with the increased loads of the Kuga.

Low roll motion and a direct and predictable steering response on a high level of agility form the basis for crossover steering precision and feel. Coupled with Ford's proven and established Electro-Hydraulic Power Assisted Steering (EHPAS) system enables speed-dependent steering efforts. The Kuga allows the driver to select their preferred steering 'feel' from a choice of three settings – Standard, Comfort and Sport.

Kuga Handling

The significant structural stiffness improvements were not only a key means to achieving the desired steering characteristics but also provide the key to outstanding handling performance.

Superior cornering capability with the highest level of 'steady state' and transient stability are the result of these efforts. Together with excellent steering performance, the Kuga achieves conventional passenger car-like handling and gives the driver the highest level of confidence under all conditions.

The electronically controlled intelligent AWD system transmits as much torque to the rear wheels as needed to ensure the best traction under all possible cornering and accelerating conditions, while being careful to avoid a negative impact on the fuel consumption.

The intelligent AWD system continually provides levels of torque to the rear axle depending on the driver's style and driving conditions of the car. Determined by acceleration levels, steering wheel angle and vehicle speed, among numerous other smaller parameters, the torque to the rear wheels can vary from 10 per cent for cruising on-road to 50 per cent when a more enthusiastic driving style is adopted.

Various signals from the Kuga's Controller Area Network (CAN) system such as vehicle speed, steering angle and driver's torque demand, among others, are used to transfer optimum torque to the rear axle.

With agile manoeuvring and stable handling the Kuga delivers on the expectations of road ride and handling, continuing Ford's acclaimed reputation as a leader in driving dynamics. The combination of the intelligent AWD system and the specific tuning of the chassis components make the Kuga a highly capable and comfortable car for on- and off-road driving.

Equipped with disc brakes all-round, the Kuga gives assured braking performance at all times. All model and drive types feature standard Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with Anti-Rollover Mitigation (ARM) and Electronic Brake Assist (EBA).

The ABS is specially tuned for Kuga to give good brake performance and high levels of stability. Vehicle stability and short stopping distances are achieved by the use of individual rear wheel brake pressure control.

Integrated Electronic Systems

To deliver a very high degree of stability and driver confidence the Kuga is equipped with a complex and highly integrated network of electronic driver assistance systems. Each of these assistance systems is designed and calibrated to share its data with the other systems to ensure that all aspects will be considered for potential electronic intervention.

The standard ESP system continually monitors the vehicle's progress and will activate only when it is needed during critical driving situations. This enables the driver to enjoy fully the Kuga's driving qualities without suffering disturbing and possibly unexpected interventions from the ESP system. The seamless engagement and intervention of the ESP system also reduces the likelihood of the driver manually switching it off.

Dedicated axle software analyses and controls the yaw; making over- and understeer negligible and flattering the novice driver. If the software determines too much bodyroll it will reduce the torque to the wheels and will apply the brakes to the wheel(s) as necessary.

The system is capable of individually braking only one wheel – or any combination of up to three wheels – if the situation demands it. This is especially important for increased performance, particularly in understeer situations where excessive speed entering corners can be reduced much more effectively. In oversteer situations – and depending on the road friction and the Kuga's stability levels – the intelligent logic of the ESP will decide to brake either the front or rear axle, or both, to achieve an effective, comfortable and imperceptible level of ESP intervention.

The Kuga's ESP system is so advanced it is capable of detecting variations in the car's behaviour due to consequential elements such as tyre wear or vehicle loads at any given point. The ESP 'matrix of events' will 'learn' the real behaviour of the car and adjust itself to significantly increase the performance and robustness of ESP interventions.

ESP is also capable of reducing the amount of torque transmitted to the rear axle down to 0Nm. This interface between ESP and intelligent AWD is used to stabilise the car in case oversteer occurs while the driver maintains a full-throttle position.

Several areas of tuning were focused on in developing Kuga's ESP system:

  • To achieve maximum directional support in critical driving situations and maximise the Kuga's active safety elements within their physical limits and tolerances
  • To offer maximum traction performance for on- and off-road driving
  • To adapt ESP tuning to the car to allow the passive elements to work at their full potential
  • To eliminate the need for the driver to switch between ESP modes when driving from one surface type to another by implementing robust tuning and intelligent ESP logic

Kuga's state-of-the-art ESP system therefore incorporates:

  • Anti-Lock-Braking (ABS) system including Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Corner Brake Control (CBC)
  • Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
  • Traction Control System (TCS) which comprises:
    Engine Traction Control System (ETCS) and Brake Lock Differential (BLD)
  • Engine Drag torque Control (EDC)
  • Anti-Rollover Mitigation (ARM)

Accompanying Systems for Added Driver Confidence

Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
Limits the brake pressure applied to the rear brakes to maintain stability by preventing rear axle lock prior to the front axle locking.

Corner Brake Control (CBC)
Improves stability during partial braking and during EBD or ABS activation in bends by reducing pressure at the inner edge of the front wheels. This produces a stabilisation torque in case the vehicle 'turns in' too much.

Emergency Brake Assist (EBA)
EBA is responsible for rapidly building up brake pressure when activated. The level of activation depends on the driver's intervention and is triggered by a rapid brake pedal movement in an emergency event. During this time the brake pressure applied by the driver is not high enough to achieve maximum brake forces, therefore the EBA increases the pressure applied to the brake pads until the system enters ABS mode. This results in the shortest possible braking distance.

The Traction Control System (TCS) consist of two parts:
Engine Track Control System (ETCS)
Traction Control eliminates excessive wheel spin to guarantee optimal traction performance and stability. This becomes even more important for cars with off-road capability. The Kuga's TCS will reduce the engine torque to a level which delivers optimal wheel slip to achieve maximum acceleration.

Brake Lock Differential (BLD)
When necessary, one wheel on each driven axle can be braked to transfer torque to the wheel with the most grip – the BLD will control the torque distribution between left and right wheels. In addition, the intelligent AWD system will control the torque distribution between the front and rear wheels. This ensures that each wheel will receive the optimum amount of traction torque for every road condition.

On high friction surfaces TCS delivers maximum acceleration without the need for the driver to modulate wheel spin by adjusting the pressure to the throttle pedal. In off-road conditions the intelligent TCS logic will allow sufficient wheel slip to 'dig' through conditions such as deep sand or mud without the need for the driver to switch the system off – which otherwise may be expected.

Even in conditions where only one wheel is able to take traction forces, the TCS and intelligent AWD systems will make optimal use of the available surface friction.  This is further testimony to Kuga's capability in off-road conditions.

Engine Drag torque Control (EDC)
EDC requests positive torque from the powertrain control system to compensate for the engine drag and powertrain losses during specific driving manoeuvres. Conventionally on low-friction surfaces the engine drag forces may slow the wheels too much causing them to slip. EDC is applied to re-accelerate the slipping wheel(s) and build up traction forces between the tyres and the road. EDC serves to support vehicle stability.

The TCS eliminates excessive wheel spin to provide optimal traction performance and stability, an even more important consideration for cars with off-road capability.

Kuga's TCS has two elements that can be selected by the system to ensure good traction at all times:

  • Reducing engine torque to a level which delivers optimal wheel slip to achieve maximum acceleration
  • The ability to brake one wheel on each driven axle or transfer torque to the wheel with the most grip. This means that the TCS will control the torque distribution between front and rear wheels and that every wheel will receive the right amount of traction for all road conditions

Anti-Rollover Mitigation (ARM)

An Anti-Rollover Mitigation (ARM) system is integrated into the ESP system to further increase driving safety. While ARM is braking the front wheels the engine torque is reduced to zero. These combined actions generate understeer and reduces the Kuga's road speed in order to reduce the lateral acceleration and minimise the possibility of a rollover. As soon as the potential rollover situation has passed ARM stops the braking and engine intervention for normal driving to resume.

Intelligent AWD in all Situations
The Haldex intelligent AWD system and the tuned chassis technology with MacPherson struts on the front and Ford's acclaimed Control Blade rear suspension deliver exceptional driving dynamics to the Kuga.

The go-anywhere character and Intelligent AWD contributes positively to normal road use and helps give the vehicle a sporty and dynamic feel for outstanding on- and off-road driving performance especially in difficult weather and surface conditions. At the same time, special actions have been taken to offer remarkable off-road skills and flatter the novice off-road driver.

As with many of the features and equipment fitted to the Kuga, the intelligent AWD system has been designed and integrated for simple and seamless operation. There are no additional buttons or levers that the driver needs to operate.

The intelligent AWD system distributes the engine torque up to a ratio of 50/50 front/rear and uses technology that monitors information from a number of key areas to determine when and how much intelligent AWD power should be used. These parameters take into account the torque and speed of the engine, the throttle position, the steering wheel angle, yaw rate, braking system and the speeds of all four wheels among other signals.

The Kuga targets impressive off-road ability. A maximum approach angle of 21 degrees and a maximum departure angle of 25 degrees ensure that hills and descents can be tackled with ease and confidence.

Intelligent AWD pre-charge
Transmitting up to 10 per cent of torque to the rear wheels from a standing start means maximum grip is available instantly; some competitor systems require the vehicle to move before power can be distributed to the rear.

Intelligent AWD when cornering
The Kuga's systems recognise lateral acceleration (enthusiastic cornering) and transfer exactly the right amount of torque to the rear wheels. This improves balance and grip and results in safe and assured handling.

Intelligent AWD when accelerating
The intelligent AWD coupling will lock and prepare to transfer torque to the rear axle when the accelerator is pushed aggressively. The system recognises that torque levels are about to increase, giving the driver virtually seamless intelligent AWD grip instantaneously.

Intelligent AWD when wheels slip
In addition to the intelligent AWD electronic sensors, a mechanical pump responds to any loss of forward grip on the front wheels by instantly transferring torque to the rear axle.

Intelligent AWD when parking and manoeuvring
On tight corners at low speeds torque is reduced to the rear wheels to optimise efficient and comfortable manoeuvring.

Intelligent AWD and traction control
The Traction Control System (TCS) automatically modifies its operation to suit different conditions. For example, in sand some wheel slip is needed for best traction, but on road surfaces less wheel slip is best. The TCS will always account for the type of surface that is being driven on.

Intelligent AWD and Engine Drag torque Control (EDC)
Helps prevent wheels slipping and skidding as a result of engine braking in very icy or slippery conditions. The system senses wheel slip at high engine speed in low gears and uses the engine management system to increase torque output to compensate.