Buyers will also be able to choose a self-charging hybrid set-up, akin to the Prius’s hybrid system, which links the 2.5-litre petrol engine to an electric motor and smaller battery to deliver 50.4mpg and 130g/km. A 48V mild-hybrid set-up is mated to a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel option to offer 56.5mpg and 132g/km. Conventional 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel variants will also be available, mated to either a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox. Two and all-wheel drive options will be available.
Also striking is the new, more sophisticated and less boxy look of the third-generation Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson rival. The styling moves Ford’s design language another step on from the more contoured lines of the latest Fiesta and Focus. The interior also follows those cars, delivering an uncluttered, sweeping look despite the raft of technological functions that are offered, the majority of which are controlled through the central touchscreen.
The Kuga sits on the same C2 platform as the new Focus, being longer, wider and having a larger wheelbase – and therefore improved stability and dynamics – than the car it replaces. The platform is also said to be 10% torsionally stiffer than the outgoing car’s, as well as supporting the basis for a more aerodynamic design and allowing weight savings of up to 90kg over today’s model.
In particular, the new Kuga is said to deliver more interior room than before, including what Ford says is class-leading space for rear-seat passengers thnks to an 89mm length increase. In the front, occupants get 43mm more shoulder room and 57mm more hip room than in the current model, while in the rear there is a 20mm increase in shoulder room and 36mm more hip room, while the seats, split 70:30, slide fore and aft as standard.
This increased rear accommodation has been achieved in part by setting the dashboard closer to the engine bay bulkhead and positioned more upright than before, allowing front seat passengers to be seated farther forward.
Despite sporting a dramatic, sloping roofline and an overall height that is lower by 20mm than that of the outgoing car, the new Kuga also offers 13mm more head room in the front and 35mm in the rear, thanks to clever interior packaging.