Published on June 17th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Ford Kuga Has Segment Best All-Terrain with Intelligent AWD Capability
The Ford Kuga comes with tuned chassis technology using MacPherson struts on the front and Ford’s acclaimed Control Blade rear suspension to deliver exceptional driving dynamics. The go-anywhere character and substantial off-road ability of this 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 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.
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.