Call it late braking, but the other week I finally got my turn in a Ford Kuga.

Come again? The Kuga, Ford’s smart soft roader, has been out quite a while now, has it not? Yes, true but not in Japan, alas, where I happen to reside.

Which means that to drive the Kuga and all other new wave Euro Fords, these days I have to board a plane to Europe to see how they stack up versus the Mazdas, Subarus, BMWs et al that normally come my way in Japan.

Time was when we got the Ka, Fiesta, Focus and Mondeo in Tokyo and Ford, to its credit, put it a lot of time and effort to adapt them to the sometimes curious demands of the Japanese market. Trust me, the cars were competitive…

For reasons best known to itself, however, Ford Japan has decided to switch tack and scratch the Euro Fords off the menu. At least for now.

Instead, we get Blue Oval cars from the US (the Mustang, Explorer, the Lincoln MXK and Mercury Grand Marquis), a nod it would seem to the full-sized, Made in America brand of Fords that perhaps have a stronger image among Japanese.