4. Blind spot detection system
Ford's new blind spot monitoring system aims to eradicate accidents that happen because you simply can't see the car behind you. No matter what manufacturers do with the chassis of a car, there's always a blind spot where you can't see an approaching car in your mirrors.
To eliminate the blind spot problem, a multi-beam radar system anchored on each of the back corners of the Kuga constantly monitors the road for obstacles within 3m of you as soon as you're travelling faster than 6mph. If it sees a car in your blind spot, it lights an LED in your wing mirror, alerting you to the fact that there might be something in the way of your lane change.
Considering the bigger the car, normally the bigger the blind spot, it's a really smart addition that could make the difference between a crash and avoiding something trying to over or under take you.
5. Lane keeping aid
Taking the simple lane detection system one stage further, Ford's new lane keeping aid automatically keeps you in your lane, preventing you from wandering out of your lane accidentally. By monitoring the white lines on the road with cameras under the car, the system will steer you back into your lane if you start moving over unintentionally. If the angle of steering needed to correct your movement is too great, say around a tight corner, the system will vibrate the steering wheel to warn you to do something to avoid swerving into other lanes or incoming traffic.
The aid is intelligent enough to know when you're actually trying to change lanes, however, deactivating when you indicate, accelerate or brake hard, or actively counter-steer against its corrections.
In order to prevent no-hands motorway drivers, however, Ford's set up the system to essentially detect whether your hands are on the wheel and making any sort of steering adjustments. If it thinks you're not doing your job of driving properly, the system will beep in the cabin and then deactivate to prevent people relying on the system instead of driving themselves.
6. Auto City Stop
Sometimes, especially in stop-start traffic, you need a little bit of help to stop you crashing into the car in front. Ford's Auto City Stop does just that. It monitors the road ahead of you, scanning 15m in front of the car 50 times a second using both light and range sensors. Should the worst happen and you don't see the car in front stop, the Kuga will react and slam on the brakes for you while cutting the engine and flashing your hazard lights to warn others around you.
Ford rates Auto City Stop as being able to actually prevent collisions at up to 15kph (10mph), stopping the car roughly 30 centimetres from the object in question, while aiming to significantly reduce the impact velocity of accidents at up to 30kph (19mph).
Unfortunately, being camera-based rather than radar-based like some more sophisticated systems, above 30kph it won't be able to help you. Having said that, Ford's system should prevent all the minor bumps people have while not paying attention in congested traffic just fine.
7. Active Park Assist
There's no getting over the fact that the Ford Kuga is a big car, at least for British standards, and one of the disadvantages of a big car is attempting to park the thing. Ford has thrown its intelligent automatic parallel parking system into the Kuga to give you a helping hand.
Active Park Assist can measure up a space, make sure you'll fit, and then actually park the car for you. It'll do all the steering for you, so all you have to do is work the accelerator and brake, following on-screen and audible instructions.