Ford’s Kuga has certainly sharpened up its act in this third-generation guise. It has evolved into a more credible mid-sized SUV that benefits from an improved engine range that includes both plug-in and mild hybrid electrified options. There’s also sharper styling, a much-improved interior and extra technology.
This third generation Kuga is a significantly bigger SUV than its predecessor. It’s 44mm wider and 89mm longer than the outgoing model, while the wheelbase has increased by 20mm. This is thanks to a new C2 platform that allows for a wheelbase increase of 20mm and has allowed this Ford to become one of the bigger SUVs in the mid-sized sector, freeing up space for the brand’s new Puma crossover to fit in between this Kuga and Ford’s entry-level EcoSport SUV.
Inside, the exterior size upgrades translate into 43mm more shoulder room and 5mm more hip room in the front seats than the outgoing model, while rear passengers benefit from 20mm more shoulder room and 36mm more hip room. Despite an overall height that is 20mm lower than the outgoing model, this third generation Kuga also has 13mm more headroom for front seat occupants and 35mm more in the rear.
For rear seat passengers, heated outer seats are available for the first time, and the entire second row of seats can be moved backwards for best-in-class 1,035mm rear legroom, or forwards to increase boot space by 67-litres. A remote release function enables the second row to be folded flat with ease. At the wheel, it’s much as it would be in a Focus hatch, with the usual 8-inch centre-dash SYNC 3 infotainment touchscreen. Higher-spec Kuga variants though, differ from their Focus counterparts in their provision of a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.
Whichever Kuga you choose from the lineup you’ll enjoy the driving experience. The sharp steering, plentiful grip and decent performance mean that it’s enjoyable to drive on country roads. Good visibility and a decent turning circle make it simple work in town, too, while it’ll prove comfy and quiet on the motorway. On back roads it was generally a comfortable drive and most bumps were absorbed without any fuss.
All New Kuga in Ireland
New Kuga in Ireland is available in four series: Titanium, ST-Line, ST-Line X and Vignale.
Spec detail is as follows:
Titanium: 17” alloy wheels (18” for PHEV); LED daytime running lamps; halogen projector headlamps; heated and power-fold mirrors with puddle lamps; rear spoiler; twin exhausts; keyless start and entry; leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob; auto dimming rear view mirror; front scuff plates; 4.2” TFT coloured instrument cluster; SYNC with DAB audio system, 6 speakers and Navigation; FordPass Connect embedded modem; pre-collision assist and AEB; lane keeping aid with lane departure warning; intelligent speed assist.
ST-Line adds: 18” rock metallic alloy wheels; front LED fog lights with front cornering; black roof rails; ST-Line full body styling kit – (front and rear fascia and bumper design; rear painted diffuser; front painted skid plate; dark mesh upper grille); large rear spoiler; red brake calipers; flat-bottomed steering wheel with red stitching; alloy pedals; ST-Line sport seats in cloth; full digital 12.3” instrument cluster.
ST-Line X adds: full HED headlamps; headlamp control, automatic high/low beam; B&O premium audio system (10 speakers and subwoofer); driver impairment warning.
Vignale adds: 19” liquid aluminium alloy wheels; full LED quad projector headlamps with glare-free; Vignale body styling kit; Vignale rear diffuser; memory functionality with door mirrors; hands-free tailgate; Vignale premium leather steering wheel and gear knob; leather-wrapped instrument panel; Vignale scuff plates; full Vignale leather seat trim; heated passenger and driver seats; active park assist; heads up display.
The all-new third generation Kuga, available as a plug-in hybrid for the first time and a trusty diesel, with a regular hybrid to join the Kuga range in 2021. The Kuga diesel is available from €34,581, while the Kuga plug-in hybrid is available from €43,017. The ST-Line is the pick of the range from €36,723. The entry level Titanium model is priced from €33,358.
This latest generation of the Kuga has improved in diesel efficiency, media connectivity, safety spec and styling. The Kuga needed wider appeal if it was to push itself up-market and this third generation re-design looks to have provided just that. Other crossovers still make more of a style statement in this class, but this Ford now has considerably greater showroom appeal and is a fantastic overall package.
Model tested: Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBlue ST-Line X
Price: €39,134 (Range starts at €34,581)
Engine: 1.5-litre turbo diesel
Power: 120 hpTorque: 300 Nm
0-100km/h: 11.7 seconds
Top speed: 180 km/h
Economy (WLTP): 5.1l/100km
CO2 emissions (WLTP): 127 g/km
Motor tax: €200 per year