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Experts 1

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January 27, 2018

A few trouble-free thousand kilometres later and all is well in the land of our long-term Kuga. It’s even been for a couple of visits to the car-wash to have some dirt and dust removed, having been used every day since we received it almost three months ago.

Some of it has been hard work, which included helping a mate move house which necessitated the rear seats being folded. At 1 603 litres, it's cavernous to be sure, with enough room for a fridge loaded in the back.

January 27, 2018

A few trouble-free thousand kilometres later and all is well in the land of our long-term Kuga. It’s even been for a couple of visits to the car-wash to have some dirt and dust removed, having been used every day since we received it almost three months ago.

Some of it has been hard work, which included helping a mate move house which necessitated the rear seats being folded. At 1 603 litres, it's cavernous to be sure, with enough room for a fridge loaded in the back.

In fact, at one stage, I had the impression it held almost more than a double-cab bakkie.

In fact, at one stage, I had the impression it held almost more than a double-cab bakkie.

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Part of the route was along a rutted dirt track (we live out in the sticks), and despite being heavily loaded, when driving at the correct speeds it didn’t feel unsure on the road at all. Used mostly for home, work, home trips and the occasional drive to the outskirts of Joburg and Pretoria, the first real long trip was to the South Coast for Christmas with the family. All polished and clean (the car, not us) my son and I loaded presents, cooler boxes and luggage into the back and turned towards the N3.

Part of the route was along a rutted dirt track (we live out in the sticks), and despite being heavily loaded, when driving at the correct speeds it didn’t feel unsure on the road at all. Used mostly for home, work, home trips and the occasional drive to the outskirts of Joburg and Pretoria, the first real long trip was to the South Coast for Christmas with the family. All polished and clean (the car, not us) my son and I loaded presents, cooler boxes and luggage into the back and turned towards the N3.

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Because much of the driving I’d done was urban, I’d almost forgotten about the adaptive cruise control, and once out of Joburg set it to the speed limit. My son couldn’t be further from a petrolhead if he tried, but even he was impressed by the car’s technology doing everything for you. Set the following distance and push cruise control, and you pretty much only have to steer. Breaking, changing gears up and down through the six-speed gearbox is all done for you.

It does tend to switch down two gears, however, rather than one, when it picks up speed again and then revs quite high rather than a gentle increase to cruising speed. We left the day before Christmas so the road was not busy, which meant no cars and particularly trucks to encumber our way to the sea, and there weren’t too many gear changes apart from the hilly sections.

Because much of the driving I’d done was urban, I’d almost forgotten about the adaptive cruise control, and once out of Joburg set it to the speed limit. My son couldn’t be further from a petrolhead if he tried, but even he was impressed by the car’s technology doing everything for you. Set the following distance and push cruise control, and you pretty much only have to steer. Breaking, changing gears up and down through the six-speed gearbox is all done for you.

It does tend to switch down two gears, however, rather than one, when it picks up speed again and then revs quite high rather than a gentle increase to cruising speed. We left the day before Christmas so the road was not busy, which meant no cars and particularly trucks to encumber our way to the sea, and there weren’t too many gear changes apart from the hilly sections.

Also, if you’re not concentrating and get too close to the white line without indicating, the steering wheel vibrates as a reminder to keep focused.

Also, if you’re not concentrating and get too close to the white line without indicating, the steering wheel vibrates as a reminder to keep focused.

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En route, we took a short detour and stopped off at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site with the amazing sculpture that focuses his profile as you move. It’s important to show our children where we came from and how much Madiba did to take us away from a violent brink, and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of visitors.

It was just after the ANC’s 54th National Elective Conference, perhaps another seminal moment in our history. It struck me that many members of the current government should take a walk through there and be reminded of what it was Madiba did for us and how humbly he did it, rather than spout empty platitudes from the stage. Perhaps then they would place the country’s people and their needs first rather than trade insults and stuff pockets.

En route, we took a short detour and stopped off at the Nelson Mandela Capture Site with the amazing sculpture that focuses his profile as you move. It’s important to show our children where we came from and how much Madiba did to take us away from a violent brink, and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of visitors.

It was just after the ANC’s 54th National Elective Conference, perhaps another seminal moment in our history. It struck me that many members of the current government should take a walk through there and be reminded of what it was Madiba did for us and how humbly he did it, rather than spout empty platitudes from the stage. Perhaps then they would place the country’s people and their needs first rather than trade insults and stuff pockets.

Anyway, we were there to get to the sea, and after refuelling continued towards Leisure Bay, listening to music from our phones connected via Bluetooth and charged via the double USB plugs. Our taste in music differs, so we took turns listening to a variety of genres fairly loud and even sometimes very loud, the speakers handling it without trouble.

Anyway, we were there to get to the sea, and after refuelling continued towards Leisure Bay, listening to music from our phones connected via Bluetooth and charged via the double USB plugs. Our taste in music differs, so we took turns listening to a variety of genres fairly loud and even sometimes very loud, the speakers handling it without trouble.

We normally take a back road just after Pietermaritzburg to get to the N2 and it’s a lovely newly tarred twisty piece of road, made even better by the lack of traffic.

We normally take a back road just after Pietermaritzburg to get to the N2 and it’s a lovely newly tarred twisty piece of road, made even better by the lack of traffic.

The Kuga loved it, not so much my son, but again showed that the tweaks made to the suspension have improved handling considerably.

The Kuga loved it, not so much my son, but again showed that the tweaks made to the suspension have improved handling considerably.

The car was used almost every day to run about, and as is always the case that time of the year, it was crammed with people, and there was often one with a beer belly and a loud mouth who would say something about the car bursting into flames, or ask if we had extra marshmallows to braai and if it came standard with a fire extinguisher.

The car was used almost every day to run about, and as is always the case that time of the year, it was crammed with people, and there was often one with a beer belly and a loud mouth who would say something about the car bursting into flames, or ask if we had extra marshmallows to braai and if it came standard with a fire extinguisher.

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Even after pointing out that it’s a new model and all the issues have been sorted, they still chuckled and chirped and I suspect it’s going to be an albatross around Ford’s neck for a long time still. Driving back to the big smoke, the road was much busier, as Gautengers made their way home. Again the adaptive cruise control did its thing and I am still amazed at how some people have a disregard for themselves, their families and other road users.

Even after pointing out that it’s a new model and all the issues have been sorted, they still chuckled and chirped and I suspect it’s going to be an albatross around Ford’s neck for a long time still. Driving back to the big smoke, the road was much busier, as Gautengers made their way home. Again the adaptive cruise control did its thing and I am still amazed at how some people have a disregard for themselves, their families and other road users.

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Even after passing a horrific accident, with bodies under foil blankets next to the road, people still feel the need to pass in the emergency lane or squeeze into gaps that simply are not there, or zigzag between lanes at speed.

Small wonder there’s carnage every long weekend and holiday. When we pulled into the driveway, the average fuel consumption was 10.1L/100km, the best being 9.6L/100km on the way down. This is the only thing I can fault, and keeping the Kuga fuelled is quite an expensive exercise even on the open road, while a friend in a fully-loaded 3.0 litre diesel double cab was getting similar consumption.

Even after passing a horrific accident, with bodies under foil blankets next to the road, people still feel the need to pass in the emergency lane or squeeze into gaps that simply are not there, or zigzag between lanes at speed.

Small wonder there’s carnage every long weekend and holiday. When we pulled into the driveway, the average fuel consumption was 10.1L/100km, the best being 9.6L/100km on the way down. This is the only thing I can fault, and keeping the Kuga fuelled is quite an expensive exercise even on the open road, while a friend in a fully-loaded 3.0 litre diesel double cab was getting similar consumption.

Overall, though, with the climate control on, cruise control, automatic rain sensor, lane departure warning and a host of other features, any long trip is a pleasure.

Overall, though, with the climate control on, cruise control, automatic rain sensor, lane departure warning and a host of other features, any long trip is a pleasure.

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