When it was launched back in 2008 Ford’s Kuga was part of the first wave of modern SUVs.
These ditched true off roading prowess for a much more dynamic on-road drive and more refined manners overall.
The first generation version won plaudits for its sporty handling and for generally being great fun to drive. It was cramped in the back though, and had a small boot.
The second generation model addressed those issues, increasing size and thereby boosting practicality, as well as upping interior quality.That car has since been given a mid-life refresh, bringing us what we have here.
Smart styling, an upmarket interior and lots of technology are among its calling cards.
There’s one petrol engine and two diesels offered in the Kuga, although they do come in a variety of power outputs. The 1.5 EcoBoost petrol comes in 120hp, 150hp and 182hp guises. There’s a 1.5 diesel with 120hp and a 2.0 diesel that can be had with either 150 or 180hp. Front or four-wheel drive options are on the table.
Prices start around the £22,000 mark and the car I spent a week with was one of the most expensive versions. My 180hp diesel engine in high spec Titanium X trim with automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive weighed in at £33,445 – and that’s before a couple of thousand pounds of options were added.
It wanted for nothing though – full leather seats, panoramic glass roof, power tailgate, xenon headlights, electric heated seats and all manner of other gadgetry abound.
For those who need their Kuga with even greater luxury there’s a Vignale version – Vignale being Ford’s luxury arm.
The Kuga’s now a much more well rounded car than the original. Adults can fit in the back, dogs can go in the boot, and there are more and cleverer cubby holes and stowage areas.
Ride and refinement are much better too. I took my Kuga up to Pitlochry and it’s proved to be a comfortable cruiser along the A9.
What’s lost, unfortunately, is some of the pin-sharp handling that made the original such fun. It’s still handles quite well but it’s rare for a Ford not to be the best driver’s car in its category and Mazda’s dynamic CX-5 certainly offers greater involvement.
Not everyone cares about chucking an SUV around a bend, though, and a drive down a few of Dundee’s residential streets shows the Kuga’s a popular enough car – plenty of driveways have one parked on them.
The Kuga is up against some tremendously talented opposition, including the aforementioned CX-5, Nissan’s Qashqai and Hyundai’s Tucson.
The latest round of updates keep it in the game.
0-62mph: 10 seconds
Top speed: 124mph
CO2 emissions: 134g/km