Ford Kuga Owners Club > Kuga Model Information > Kuga – All-Terrain with Intelligent AWD Capability

The Haldex intelligent AWD system and the proven, but all-new, tuned chassis technology with MacPherson struts on the front and Ford's acclaimed Control Blade rear suspension deliver exceptional driving dynamics to the new Ford Kuga.

With its 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi 136 PS engine with standard DPF, the Kuga offers a proven, smooth and economical powertrain with small carbon footprint. In comparison to its direct competitors, the new Kuga excels with combined fuel consumption figures of less than 6.5 litres per 100 km for both the FWD and intelligent AWD versions.

The go-anywhere character and substantial off-road ability of the Ford Kuga comes to the fore in the intelligent AWD model. Intelligent AWD contributes positively to normal road use and helps give the vehicle a sporty and dynamic feel for outstanding on- and off-road driving performance especially in difficult weather and surface conditions. At the same time, special actions have been taken to offer remarkable off-road skills and flatter the novice off-road driver.

“The Kuga has been developed to provide off-road skills without 'SUV sins',” said Herrmann.

Optimised Torque, Fuel Consumption and Traction


The AWD system used on the Kuga is a so-called 'intelligent' system as it is permanently monitoring the driving situation and the driver's demands to always react with optimised torque distribution. With driving torque permanently distributed to all four wheels driver intervention – by way of operating separate controls – is not necessary to operate it.

Ford's engineers were keen to ensure the Kuga's success as their first venture into the AWD crossover segment and have provided the car with optimal road holding irrespective of surface conditions.


Optimised fuel economy

Although the driving torque is permanently ready to be distributed to all four wheels the 'intelligent' part of the system ensures that just the right amount of torque is transferred only at the point in time it is needed. This ensures that optimal torque distribution during acceleration and deceleration is applied. A separate 'slip control' is applied for those occasions where the base torque is insufficient. The base torque transfer has been lowered to support the fuel economy of the vehicle. This is possible because yaw rate and lateral acceleration are used at higher cornering rates to increase torque transfer, and thus optimise the Kuga's balance to help maintain an excellent level of handling during enthusiastic driving.

These combined actions contribute to favourable fuel economy as they provide much the same control as when a driver manually switches between drive modes on a switchable system.

Best possible traction control

The active 'on-demand' coupling of the intelligent AWD unit provides optimal torque distribution during acceleration and deceleration which is calculated from the engine and various electronic system signals including ABS, ESP and TCS. The on-demand coupling is integrated with the traction control system to provide torque to an individual wheel if it needs more torque than the remainder. In addition, a specific locking torque is applied to the coupling at standstill to prevent wheel slip during launch situations.

Internal capability and durability testing prove that the intelligent AWD Kuga is a serious crossover contender. In traction and hill-climb tests Kuga has surpassed itself by performing as well as dedicated full-time off-road competitors, in some cases even out-performing them in winter condition tests.

Intelligent AWD in all Situations


As with many of the features and equipment fitted to Kuga, the intelligent AWD system has been designed and integrated for simple and seamless operation. There are no additional buttons or levers that the driver needs to operate.

The intelligent AWD system distributes the engine torque up to a ratio of 50/50 front/rear and uses technology that monitors information from a number of key areas to determine when and how much intelligent AWD power should be used. These parameters take into account the torque and speed of the engine, the throttle position, the steering wheel angle, yaw rate, braking system and the speeds of all four wheels among other signals.

The Kuga targets impressive off-road ability. A maximum approach angle of 21 degrees and a maximum departure angle of 25 degrees ensure that hills and descents can be tackled with ease and confidence.

Intelligent AWD pre-charge

Transmitting up to 10 per cent of torque to the rear wheels from a standing start means maximum grip is available instantly; some competitor systems require the vehicle to move before power can be distributed to the rear.

Intelligent AWD when cornering

Kuga systems recognise lateral acceleration (enthusiastic cornering) and transfer exactly the right amount of torque to the rear wheels. This improves balance and grip and results in safe and assured handling.

Intelligent AWD when accelerating

The intelligent AWD coupling will lock and prepare to transfer torque to the rear axle when the accelerator is pushed aggressively. The system recognises that torque levels are about to increase, giving the driver virtually seamless intelligent AWD grip instantaneously.

Intelligent AWD when wheels slip

In addition to the intelligent AWD electronic sensors, a mechanical pump responds to any loss of forward grip on the front wheels by instantly transferring torque to the rear axle.

Intelligent AWD when parking and manoeuvring

On tight corners at low speeds torque is reduced to the rear wheels to optimise efficient and comfortable manoeuvring.

Intelligent AWD and traction control

 The Traction Control System (TCS) automatically modifies its operation to suit different conditions. For example, in sand some wheel slip is needed for best traction, but on road surfaces less wheel slip is best. The TCS will always account for the type of surface that is being driven on.

Intelligent AWD and Engine Drag torque Control (EDC)

Helps prevent wheels slipping and skidding as a result of engine braking in very icy or slippery conditions. The system senses wheel slip at high engine speed in low gears and uses the engine management system to increase torque output to compensate.

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