What is it?
This is the new Ford Kuga, part of Ford’s belated multi-pronged attack on the ever-growing SUV sector. There has been a Kuga on the Blue Oval’s books since 2008, but it was pretty much the only credible crossover offering, if you exclude the rather undercooked EcoSport and Escape models.
The original looked great and steered more sweetly than the competition yet it failed to sell strongly, partly because the SUV boom was far from in full swing. The second-generation car arrived in 2013 and was a product of the global ‘One Ford’ policy that meant it had to work as well in New York as it did Neasden. It grew in size, yet retained its predecessor’s ability to entertain its driver. After a slow start, sales finally took off, and in its last couple of years on sale, it finally hit its stride, becoming Ford’s biggest-selling SUV.
So there’s quite a bit resting on the shoulders of the latest version. New from the ground up, it’s arguably the most ambitious iteration yet. Not only does it take a different design approach to its predecessors, but it also features Ford’s broadest range of powerplants yet, including petrol, diesel, diesel mild hybrid and, as tested here, petrol plug-in hybrid.
It’s also bigger and more spacious than before and it packs all the latest showroom lures, including semi-autonomous driving modes in the form of adaptive cruise control and steering assist. There’s also cutting-edge connectivity and a healthy smattering of TFT screens. Yet despite all this increase in tech, it’s also a claimed 80kg lighter compared with its similarly specified predecessor.