The revitalised Ford Kuga is probably one of the best-researched vehicles on the market. Ford took on board comments from thousands of users when it came to giving its SUV a makeover.
The result is more electronics including voice recognition which can guide you to filling stations, hotels, cafes etc, and more of the functions controlled from a touchscreen. You also get a connection point to charge your mobile phone, plus options like a heated steering wheel and hands-free tailgate operation.
Ford’s SUV has had some cosmetic treatment to the design, including a stronger front end with new grilles and redesigned tail light clusters.
The Kuga starts a shade above £21,000 – good value for a substantial car. You can choose between front wheel drive or all wheel drive, depending on your own requirements. I test drove the Kuga in top-of-the-range ST Line spec, with front wheel drive and powered by Ford’s 2.0 TDCI diesel engine.
The Kuga has a quality feel to it inside and out. It feels substantial, both to sit in and to drive. The doors close with a satisfying clunk – always a good sign.
The latest Kuga is certainly a good looker – every bit as attractive as some of its more exalted competitors. It has a strong side-on presence, helped by beefy new alloy wheel designs.
Inside the car has a lot of class about it. My test vehicle had black leather upholstery of a very high quality. The dash is simple and attractive, with sensibly placed, easily accessible controls. Ford has added an electronic park brake and extra storage.
Interior space is good, and can be further improved with the 60/40 folding split rear seat which can be folded flat. Specification includes all-round parking sensors, satellite navigation, automatic climate control and a good DAB radio with MP3 compatibility and Bluetooth.
I drove the 2.0 litre turbo-charged diesel-powered petrol version which gives a more than adequate 150 bhp. Linked to a smooth six-speed manual gearbox, this is a good unit, offering plenty of power with little noise or fuss. Acceleration is pleasingly brisk for a vehicle of this size.
Ford claims fuel consumption of 60.1 mpg in mixed driving, which might be a touch optimistic, but this is a big car with power under the bonnet, which will always have a frugality penalty.
My test vehicle came at £28,745 on the road, which is competitive for such a high specification. You get a lot of car for your money.
It’s difficult to fault this offering from Ford which has won awards and deservedly so. It’s an improvement on earlier models, and with a keen price which will keep other manufacturers on their toes.