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 Crossovers

  • Nissan Qashqai
    The Nissan Qashqai gets a new look and more functionality in an effort to attract a new generation of buyers

    Nissan Qashqai

    1
  • Ford Kuga
    Ford's targeting a class above with its bigger Kuga

    Ford Kuga

    2
  • CX-5's exterior has been shaped using Mazda's 'Kodo - soul of motion' design

    Mazda CX-5

    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
  • Kia’s well priced compact soft-roader has been given attention-seeking looks

    Kia Sportage

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    4 September 2015
    New entry-level 3 Series uses the three-pot turbo motor from the Mini Cooper. We find out if it's up to the job.
  • First Drive
    4 September 2015
    This special-edition Skoda Octavia vRS 230 is the fastest Octavia ever made and the most powerful vRS version. We drive it at the Slovakia Ring
  • First Drive
    3 September 2015
    First UK test of Fiat's best-selling city car, which has been overhauled for 2015
  • First Drive
    3 September 2015
    Volkswagen reveals the second generation of its high-riding Passat Alltrack estate. We drive it for the first time on German roads.
  • First Drive
    2 September 2015
    Kia facelifts its Cee'd and drops its six-speed torque converter in favour of a new seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox in the process. We drive it for the first time