Having transformed the Fiesta and Focus, the grand ‘One Ford’ globalisation strategy has provided yet another object for road test assessment: the Ford Kuga SUV.

Dead and buried is the quirky Kuga of old. It was highly rated by us but it proved popular on too few continents, and catered for too narrow a spread of tastes, to be worthy of a place among the Mulally model generation. 

Its replacement has in effect moved up a class. Measuring over 4.5m long, it’s now a closer match for a Hyundai Santa Fe than a Nissan Qashqai.

The repositioning of the Kuga is a crucial part of Ford of Europe’s growth strategy; Ford is aiming to displace the more traditional ‘sports utility’ brands and lead the 4x4 market.

Ford's new Kuga caters for many tastes too, as it's offered with a range of frugal turbocharged petrol and diesel engines and the option of automatic transmissions on some models.

There's even less costly two-wheel drive models, which are notably more efficient, ideal for those who want something the size and shape of the Kuga but without the need for additional traction.

Little by little, the Ford Motor Company is becoming the model of a streamlined, right-size international car maker. But this Kuga will need to sell every bit as well as many of Ford’s more traditional models if that’s going to happen. Is it up to the task?

Top 5 Compact SUVs

  • Ford Kuga
    Ford's targeting a class above with its bigger Kuga

    Ford Kuga

    1
  • Hyundai Santa Fe makes for an excellent ownership proposition

    Hyundai Santa Fe

    2
  • Land Rover is targeting the growing number of people buying into two-wheel-drive SUVs

    Land Rover Freelander

    3
  • If the new CR-V looks more crossover than old-guard SUV it may be because the roofline is 30mm lower than before

    Honda CR-V

    4
  • Toyota RAV4
    This is the fourth model in the RAV4's history

    Toyota RAV4

    5

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