ford kuga 2015 MY

Sime Darby Auto ConneXion has begun selling the 2015 Ford Kuga, which now comes equipped with the new 1.5 litre EcoBoost mill – the variant takes over from the 1.6 litre EcoBoost that was on the Valencia-assembled C520 when it made its debut here in June 2013.

Despite the slightly smaller displacement, the 1.5 litre engine – which is assembled in Romania – offers the same level of output and performance as the 1.6, with listed numbers being 180 PS at 5,700 rpm and 240 Nm at 2,500 rpm, identical to the latter. Likewise the performance, with the 200 km/h top speed being retained. No change either to the SelectShift 6F35 six-speed automatic transmission.

The downsized 1.5 litre, which debuted in the Chinese-market Ford Mondeo in 2013, is aimed at providing the automaker with the necessary entry point for markets like China, which offer specific tax relief for vehicles with engines of 1.5 litre capacity or less.

kuga ecoboost

There are some improvements and revisions from the 1.6 litre (which is built at Ford’s Bridgend plant in Wales), and these include a new integrated exhaust manifold and the inclusion of a water-cooled charge air cooler, which offers a more efficient feed of air into the unit. The 1.5L EcoBoost engine is also the first Ford engine to incorporate a computer-controlled clutch on the belt-drive water pump, which helps reduce engine warm-up time.

Other than the new mill, there’s very little change elsewhere from the Titanium-level specification seen on the Malaysian unit (which differs somewhat from Titanium spec elsewhere, notably Australia – the actual full Titanium-spec was seen on the limited-run Titanium+ sold here, complete with leather seats and 19-inch alloys).

The 1.5L EcoBoost has virtually the same kit and trim as found before, save that auto start/stop has now been included in the mix and the driver’s seat is now a 10-way power adjustable design (previously, six-way manual, except in the Titanium+). The front passenger seat also gets improved adjustability as a result of the revised driver seat going on, and is now a six-way manual (previously four-way). The semi-leather finish remains as before.

Click to enlarge the price list images.

Equipment includes keyless entry with push-start ignition, automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Sony CD/MP3 audio system and a 4.2-inch TFT liquid crystal display. Safety kit includes seven airbags (front, front thorax/pelvis, side curtain, driver knee) as well as Electronic Stability Control (ESP) with ABS and electronic brake assist.

Also retained are the 17-inch nine double-spoke alloys and 235/55 tyre configuration, as is the pricing – the Kuga 1.5L EcoBoost goes for RM164,888 (on-the-road, without insurance), identical to the 1.6L variant.

The only other change is that the SUV is now available in only a single colour, and that’s Frozen White (prior to this, four colours; Ginger Ale, Panther Black, Moondust Silver and the aforementioned white), but the good news is that the SUV now comes with a five-year warranty (three-year manufacturer, two-year third-party extended warranty) on top of the usual three-year/60,000 km free maintenance package.