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

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

    Ford Kuga

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

    Mazda CX-5

  • 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

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

    Kia Sportage


First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    1 December 2015
    Bentley's big seller has a facelift for 2015 and we've driven it on UK roads for the first time in twin-turbocharged 4.0 V8 form. Is it still the pick of the range?
  • First Drive
    27 November 2015
    We try the turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol version of the Golf Bluemotion. If you're not doing mega miles, it's a better bet than the diesel
  • 2015 Mercedes-AMG A45
    First Drive
    27 November 2015
    Mercedes couldn't let the Audi RS3 get away with having more power than its AMG A45. As part of a wholesale A-Class facelift, it now has 376bhp and a host of other revisions
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    More powerful Clubsport version of Volkswagen's iconic hot hatch proves thoroughly entertaining on our track-only first drive in Portugal
  • First Drive
    25 November 2015
    Suzuki has added an automatic diesel powertrain to its S-Cross crossover line-up. Does it offer a compelling choice over the manual versions?