10 tech-tastic features inside the new Ford Kuga 2013

The big car with clever tech

The system is capable of parking the car automatically in spaces that are less than a metre longer than the Kuga, removing all the anxiety and frustration associated with trying to parallel park. Getting out of the space when you're done shopping is, however, up to you.

8. Hands-free powered tailgate

10 tech tastic features inside the new Ford Kuga 2013

Taking keyless entry further, Ford's brand new powered tailgate on the Kuga has a neat trick up its sleeve. You can open the boot (trunk) without needing to use your hands, thanks to a strip of sensors under the rear bumper. As long as you've got the key on your person, or it's already in the car, you can open the boot with your foot.

Simply swing your foot towards the rear bumper, underneath the car and the tailgate will open. Once you're done, a second kick will then automatically close the boot, ready to go. It's a handy little feature for when you're trying to shove the shopping in the back, or your handful-of-a-dog for that matter.

9. Smart Regenerative Charging

10 tech tastic features inside the new Ford Kuga 2013

The new Ford Kuga also comes equipped with a "smart regenerative charging" system. Not a hybrid or electric car system, as the name might suggest, instead it's an intelligent control system for charging the car's battery.

In most normal cars, the alternator that charges the car's battery is permanently hooked up to the engine when running. Ford's system only engages the alternator when the car's coasting, slowing down or idling, reducing wear and tear on the engine and other components in the system, making it all last longer. It's handy for saving on expensive servicing bills while still keeping the Kuga's large battery topped up as required.

10. Intelligent AWD with torque vectoring control

10 tech tastic features inside the new Ford Kuga 2013

For a big car, the Kuga is surprisingly nimble, innpart due to its intelligent all-wheel drive traction control system. Going beyond what a normal traction control system does, Ford's packed the Kuga with what it's calling Smart AWD.

Essentially the system combines the best of both worlds, from pure low-speed pulling power and control to a decent, responsive drive at higher speeds. To do this, the system automatically balances the power distribution without you having to do anything other than drive. At speeds over 18mph the Kuga adjusts the drive balance for optimum driving feel, handling and response, giving you a heads-up display showing precisely where the power is going.

Instead of lowering the engine power like older systems, it uses the brakes on the individual wheels to gently adjust the wheel's speed back into traction range. In essence, it enhances your steering ability in corners by applying a small amount of braking force to the inside wheels. This pulls the car tighter around the corner and eliminates torque steering, which forces the steering wheel outwards as you floor the throttle. It's something you'd see on high-performance vehicles and sports cars, so it's impressive to see Ford bringing it down into the SUV segment.

Of course, being a 4x4, at low speeds and in slippery conditions the Kuga channels the power to whichever wheel has the most traction, engaging all four wheels and using the brakes to stop individual wheels just spinning up, meaning you can master whatever obstacle stands in your path even though the Kuga doesn't pack a low-ratio gearbox.