If a sales pitch could be expressed in a pressed galvanised steel body sat on four rubber-covered wheels, the new Ford Kuga would be the result.
Because this is less just a mode of transport than a global sales strategy aimed fairly and squarely at the company’s target growth markets in the US and Asia.
It replaces, some would say, the cuter looking MkI model with a car that is much more likely to appeal to these two large volume audiences.
To this end, it’s not much of a surprise that the new Kuga boasts more technology than you’ll see on any other Ford model.
Along with the host of Ford technology we’ve seen of late, including driver assist, anti-collision systems, there comes the intelligent tailgate able to be opened with a wave of your tootsies!
This may seem a bit OTT but think of how many times you go to open the car either to load or unload it with arms full of stuff and you have to drop it all to find the key? Not with the new Kuga, just waggled a foot under the tailgate sensor and the electric powered tailgate opens or closes as you require.
But the car is not just about techy-gadgets. This is a seriously good off-roader in 4x4 format allowing the driver to take on challenging terrain thanks to sophisticated on-demand traction control that compensates for highway standard tyres even in boggy conditions. This technology also boasts a useful readout to tell the driver which wheels are gaining traction to help plot a course through the terrain. It’s so good off-road, it’s just a shame it doesn’t have a full steel sump-guard for those serious green-lane enthusiasts.
That said, most owners will not use the Kuga for anything more challenging that bumping an occasional grass verge.
Road manners are also good with reduced body-roll on fast bends than some of its SUV rivals thanks to the factory’s ‘curve control’ electronics to reduce understeer if the car is pitched too fast into a bend.
Also key, in this sector, is boot space and this increases 82-litre over the outgoing model to an impressive 442-litres with the rear seats which, themselves, fold almost completely flat – rare to find these days – to liberate a van-like storage capacity.
At launch in the UK, Ford will offer two power variants of its 2.0-litre TDCi turbo-diesel engines, 137 and 160 brake horsepower respectively. I drove the more powerful version at the international launch in Valencia and found it a little on the noisy side and I suspect the lower-powered engine may be quieter and still up to all the performance parameters an SUV should require.
The range starts in Zetec specification and boasts an impressive array of standard features, including 17-inch alloys, front fog lamps, powered/heated mirrors, keyless ignition, hill-start assist, cruise control and, naturally, the hands-free electric tailgate.
There’s also more good news for your financial director, all the models, including the range-topping Titanium X executive cruiser, undercut the old Kuga on pricing and specs with prices starting from just £20,895.
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