If nothing else, the US-size Ford Kuga has made it look like rather good value next to its rivals. None of the car’s competitors start as low as the entry-level, front-drive Kuga Zetec with a 118bhp 1.5-litre Ecoboost engine, with the cheapest Nissan X-Trail coming in £1000 more expensive, while an entry-level Hyundai Santa Fe is more than £10,000 dearer.
However, most buyers are expected to shun both the lower trim level and the petrol line-up for the 2.0 TDCi. Available in 148bhp and 178bhp outputs, the four-cylinder diesel is capable of a claimed 53.3mpg combined with CO2 emissions of 139g/km if taken with the six-speed manual ’box and without 4x4.
As competitive as that is (only the new Toyota RAV4 shades it), it still doesn’t seem like the sweet spot.
For our money, we'd opt for the 178bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, all-wheel drive and mid-spec Titanium trim. Taken with the more efficient manual gearbox, it offers 47.9mpg and 154g/km of CO2 in claimed figures, all for less than a new five-seat Hyundai Santa Fe starts.
Ford has also addressed the issues that irked some prior to the facelift with rear parking sensors, sat nav and dual-zone climate control all present on a Titanium trimmed Kuga, whereas they used to remain the reserve of the now defunct Titanium Sport and Titanium X Sport trims.
Adding those previous options as standard further distances the Kuga from the Santa Fe it previously lost ground too with those boxes ticked.