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Spotlight on the Ford Kuga

We took a look at the latest version of the Kuga, Ford’s SUV best-seller, which is set to return in 2020.

The all-new Ford Kuga.

The all-new Ford Kuga.

Engine options and fuel economy

The Ford Kuga is back. While it’s aesthetically different from its predecessors, with a more muscular build, it affords drivers the same space and performance power as previous versions.

There are both petrol and diesel-powered engines, and a plug-in hybrid option that offers plenty of power at 225bhp, as well as 235mpg fuel economy and an electric-only range of 30 miles. That’s easily enough to get you from the suburbs to the inner city and back again. The self-charging full hybrid version returns a still-competitive 50.4mpg.

Then there’s the diesel mild hybrid, which like the full hybrid version doesn’t need to be plugged into a power supply. This delivers up to 56.5 mpg through the combination of a 48V electric battery, supporting a 2.0-litre diesel engine – another excellent return for this multi-purpose powerhouse.

The Kuga’s conventional 1.5-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine comes in two power levels of 119bhp and 148bhp, while the diesel choices on offer are the 119bhp 1.5-litre EcoBlue, and 178bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue. Both can be driven in either six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic shifts.

Clearly the Kuga offers competitive fuel economy across the board.

Exterior finery

For the Kuga’s outer body colour, there’s a dozen to choose from, with the car available in 12 colour choices, including lucid red, star white, and the striking panther blue.

The latest Kuga has elegant curved bodywork across the length of the door panels, and the wide, imposing front reminiscent of previous models, on which are mounted brilliant LED daytime running lights and piercing headlights, showing it’s a car for all seasons.

And when you’re at the wheel, you’ll have a firm grip on the road from the get-go, thanks to 17-inch alloy wheels available with the Kuga’s entry-level Titanium spec.

Built to carry, and carry on

Towing capacity is 450kg – superior to its nearest in-range competitor. It’s able to pull an outstanding 2,250kg, and the boot is expected to be well in excess of the generous 406 litres of space available in current models. That space can be extended by removing the Kuga’s rear seats.

The Kuga’s build is 90kg lighter than the 2017 version, but 10% more rigid, which points to a sturdy and reliable drive, maintaining the family-friendly appeal that has typified the brand.

High-spec options

There’s still much modernity in the entry-level Titanium, with the model’s interior featuring sports-style seats for added comfort, as well as cruise control and keyless entry features provided as standard.

Across the range, the driver and front passenger will enjoy an 8-inch SYNC3 touchscreen infotainment system with app connectivity through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across the range.

Meanwhile, the ST Line is a sportier statement, designed for those who’d like a more vibrant version of a venerable SUV; this trim houses bold 19-inch, double-spoked alloy wheels, while on the interior there’s a flat-bottomed steering wheel with perforated leather for enhanced grip, set in front of Alcantara sports seating which enhances the race-car cockpit feel you’ll find with this trim.

As well as offering an 8-inch touchscreen across the range, the Kuga boasts a dynamic 12.3-inch digital cockpit, available from the ST Line and above, to put a range of essential driver information into clear view. Sound good? It could sound even better. In addition to the six-speaker system provided, a Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker system is available as an optional extra, with a phenomenal 575W output and a subwoofer fitted in the rear adding buccaneering levels of bass to your in-car playlist.

But before all that, on opening the driver and front passenger doors, look out for chrome panels on the Kuga door sills featuring ‘ST Line’ insignia, daubing added gloss on an already impressive interior layout.

And after going rogue with the ST Line, it’s time to roll out the red carpet, for the range-topping Vignale spec. This arrives in style, showing off an exterior adorned in ‘satin’ exterior trim for an executive touch, with classy 18-inch alloy wheels, with classy chrome double spokes.

The Vignale’s seating is a joy, with quilted leather material and raised, soft panels designed for the driver to get into their groove however long the drive is.

Safety features

There are a range of safety features, including an intelligent element seen in the ST Line and Vignale trims that allows the car to park itself, taking over braking, acceleration and steering. The car interprets any reverse parking possibility so you don’t have to stay jutted out towards impatient passing traffic any longer than you need to; it’s the future, seen now.

Even more in-cabin intelligence is on offer, with a three-microphone Active Noise Control system fitted in the Kuga interior which counteracts cabin noise with its own noise, tricking driver and passengers’ brains into interpreting a quieter cabin. It’s very clever, but you’ll need to go ST Line at least before you can enjoy the sweet sound of neutralised cabin noise.

The new Ford Kuga is coming to an Arnold Clark branch near you soon. To find out more, register your interest today.

About the Author

John McCallum