The Kuga was one of the few cars it took Ford a few goes to get right.
The first generation was launched in 2008. It looked good and was great fun to drive but was tight for space compared to rivals.
The second generation Kuga fixed the space issue but at the expense of a stodgy drive and blobby looks.
This third iteration, launched last year, finally gets it bang on.
It has a svelte new shape, an even more spacious cabin – and driving it puts a smile on your face.
There are petrol, diesel, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, and a broad choice of trim levels.
Prices are competitive, starting at a little over £26,000 for an entry level Zetec model and the 2.0 diesel version I drove, in Titanium spec and with manual transmission, cost £29,375.
At 89mm longer, 44mm wider and 6mm lower, it has a sleeker and more low-slung appearance. Despite its bigger size, it’s 80kg lighter, contributing to better fuel economy – I easily managed 45mpg during a week with it.
There’s a smart new interior, with an 8in touchscreen that’s clear and easy to use.
Room front and back is excellent, and sliding rear seats let you prioritise passenger or boot space.
One of the best things about the Kuga is how good it is to drive. Ford has always produced cars that handle well and the Kuga is no exception. Its cornering ability is more akin to the Focus it shares a platform with than a high-sided SUV. Ride quality is first rate as well and it’s an easy car to munch miles in.
You can go for two or four-wheel drive. I took my front-wheel drive model up to Balintore Castle, north of Kirriemuir, for an upcoming feature in our Saturday Magazine and it handled a rutted, muddy track on the castle estate without any problems at all.
The six-speed manual gearbox is easy to use, though an automatic would suit the car’s character better.
My 2.0 diesel model came with Ford’s 48V mild hybrid system, which allows the start/stop system to operate more efficiently and improves economy.
It was with a degree of sadness that I handed back the keys to the Kuga. It really is a great all round car.
It may have taken them three tries to get it right, but Ford really has nailed it this time.