What is it?
It's the facelifted Ford Kuga, which we've already driven abroad in 1.5 Ecoboost petrol guise. This, however, is our first UK drive and our test car is fitted with something more relevant to the average British punter: a diesel engine.
To be precise, it’s the top-spec 2.0-litre diesel with 178bhp. It comes only with four-wheel drive, but for those that value a degree of autonomy you still have a choice of either a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The whole set-up is on the money in terms of efficiency: 134g/km of CO2 emissions and a claimed fuel economy of 54.3mpg are, give or take, what you’d see from a four-wheel drive, automatic Seat Ateca 2.0 TDI 190. However, keep checking the performance figures and you’ll discover that the dash from 0-62mph in the Ford is 10.0sec, while in the Seat it's 7.5sec. On paper at least, the Kuga is outpaced then.
Our test car is the new sporty ST-Line trim. This has lowered sports suspension and loses any exterior chrome, swapping it for black on the grille, window surrounds and roof rails. You also get 18in dark machine-finished alloys. Inside, sports seats, steering wheel, gear knob and the aluminium pedals complete the spiced-up look.
There are other general updates to all 2017 Kugas. These include a front and rear cosmetic refresh, with the trapezoidal grille also seen on the Ford Edge, and new head and tail lights. You also get Ford’s updated Sync3 infotainment system, an electronic parking brake and gesture control for the power-opening tailgate. There's more safety kit available, too, with enhanced optional automatic emergency city braking that works at speeds up to 31mph and, for the first time, rear cross traffic alert.