Ford India has imported the Kuga SUV for R&D. The Kuga is a slightly larger vehicle than the five-seater SUVs like the Renault Duster, Hyundai Creta and Nissan Terrano and might be launched in India, to plug the gap between the EcoSport and the soon to be launched Endeavour.
The Kuga measures over 4.5 metres in length, which is closer to that of the Mahindra XUV500, though the seating capacity is limited to five. It commands a premium over vehicles like the Duster, with its size and much larger engine options in the European market. Ford offers the Kuga with 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine producing 150bhp and the 2.0-litre diesel engine in two states of tune – 150bhp and 180bhp. The vehicle is primarily a front-wheel drive with an option of AWD and dual-clutch automatic transmission.
While it is too early to predict, if Ford will launch the Kuga in India, it makes a case for itself by filling the void in the D-Segment for the American carmaker. The EcoSport sits way down in the price range while the new Endeavour will easily cost around Rs 25 lakh on road. Ford currently lacks a D-Segment vehicle and since sedans aren’t doing too well in that price bracket, an SUV may be introduced to plug the gap.
Of course, the Kuga is a more premium product and it will require a lot of re-engineering to make the SUV viable in India. For one, to make it cost effective, it will have to be manufactured here with smaller engine options. Also, even if Ford does decide to go ahead with the plan, it will easily be mid-2017 before the car reaches the showrooms. We are waiting to hear from Ford officials in this regard and hope to see the SUV on display at the 2016 Auto Expo next month.