Life / South Africa

A day trip to East London with the new Ford Kuga

Starting the day with a 6am flight from Johannesburg and we made our way to East London which was the ‘official’ starting point of our road trip for the first time for the Launch of the new Ford Kuga.

The route that followed was around 500km’s as we drove up to Hogsback, in the Amathole Mountains. We outlined the scenic route to Port Alfred before making our way back to East London Airport.

I was lucky enough to be paired with an amazing co-pilot (Kiki Marli) who liked the same music as I do.

Suggested Reading: Staying at the Samara Private Game Reserve in Eastern Cape

Things to know about the Ford Kuga

The car is available in eight colors and three levels:

1. The entry-level Ambiente

cruise control, a six-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and voice control, multi-function leather-covered steering wheel, 17-inch alloy wheels, seven airbags and trailer stability function.

2. The mid-range Trend

An addition of dual-zone climate control, Sync3 with 20cm touchscreen and nine speakers, Torino leather seats (with electric power adjustment for the driver), rear parking sensors, and rain sensors.

3. The range-topping Titanium

An addition of 18-inch alloy wheels, LED taillights, smart keyless entry with hands-free powered tailgate and Roll Stability Control.

Trend and Titanium buyers can also opt for a ‘Driver Assistance Pack’, for R15 450 (about $1200), which comes with an enhanced version of the Active City Stop auto-braking function, as well as Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Information System, Lane Departure Warning and Advanced Active Park Assist.

Related Post: Meet the smarter and more efficient Ford Ranger Auto 2.2

93% of the old Kuga models have been recalled and Ford is going all out to rebuild the consumers trust.

Why I like the Ford Kuga

No more fumbling for keys in your purse

All ranges have a push-button start with hands-free powered tailgate.

Parking made easy

The Kuga has rear parking sensors, reverse-view parking camera and you can purchase the additional package with the automatic parking feature.

Ford removed one of my favorite features – the “heated seats”, but after speaking to the Kuga brand manager, Kuda Takura, he explained that only have a limited number of features and they chose what they thought was best for the South African market.

More functionality for your phone

Picture: Matthew Kanniah

Ford’s SYNC3 with Navigation infotainment system is amazing! When a smartphone is paired with SYNC 3 via a USB cable, the map generated is projected on the Ford vehicle’s 20cm touchscreen, and full control of the program is remitted to SYNC 3. Voice controls are also linked, and ultimately, this all means that the driver should never need to pick up and look at his or her smartphone while using it for navigation, and driver distraction should be kept to a minimum.

The new Kuga has lower pricing than the outgoing model.

Parents can rejoice

With the touch of one button you can activate child lock which automatically locks the doors and windows. You family is in good hands as the new Kuga has a five star safety rating and a total of seven airbags.

More Space

The new Kuga offers up to 1603 litres of cargo space with the rear seating folded – perfect for weekend getaways.

Pricing for Ford Kuga (September 2017)

1.5 Ecoboost Ambiente 6MT FWD SUV – R368,800

1.5 Ecoboost Ambiente 6AT FWD SUV – R381,900

1.5 Ecoboost Trend 6MT FWD SUV – R406,400

1.5 Ecoboost Trend 6AT FWD SUV – R427,900

2.0 TDCI Trend Powershift 6AT AWD SUV – R483,900

2.0 Ecoboost Titanium 6AT AWD SUV – R497,900

2.0 TDCI Titanium Powershift 6AT AWD SUV – R506,900

All models are backed by a four-year/120 000km warranty. Petrol models come with a four-year/80 000km service plan (with 20 000km intervals), while the diesels are sold with a five-year/90 000km service plan, with 15 000km intervals.

Things to do in East London

Stop in Bathurst to see “The Big Pineapple”. Located on a pineapple farm, The Big Pineapple is a 16.7 m tall pineapple-shaped building that has three floors. The first floor is a gift shop where you can buy fruit and other pineapple-themed souvenirs (t-shirts, bags, etc). The second floor is a museum with some general information about pineapples and the history of pineapple farming in South Africa. The third floor has a TV showing a movie about pineapples and an observation deck, where you can enjoy the view, which includes fields of growing pineapples.

Where to eat in East London

The Edge Mountain Retreat is one place I loved. Their restaurant offers locally grown organic food with scenic views – surrounded by cliffs and indigenous forest complementing the pristine, natural environment.

Where to stay in East London

The Royal St Andrews Hotel, Conference and Spa is the epitome of luxury and comfort.

Overall, I enjoyed testing driving the car and I would recommend it to anyone. If you’d like book a test drive the car, visit

Get Insurance before traveling to South Africa

Use travel insurance while visiting Africa so you are covered for theft and medical expenses. There are a lot of adventurous activities to do in SA, and it’s best to have peace of mind while diving, hiking and trying some of the best food in the world.

Find out why I recommend World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance review.

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