Road test: Ford Kuga
THIS Ford Kuga does enough to appeal right now. It's good-looking, spacious, well-priced and drives very well. It's a little different in its emphasis than before, feeling a bit more grown-up than its predecessor and riding a whole lot better. Is it the big bold step that Land Rover achieved with its Evoque? Maybe not. Ford will point to the fact that the Kuga is much cheaper and they'd have a point, but the inevitable result of trying to build one vehicle for many markets is that the extremity of design inevitably gets watered down.
Still, the extra 81mm of length and some cleverer packaging solutions means that this Kuga is properly spacious for four or five passengers, although the lack of occasional sixth and seventh seats may see it taken from some lists.
There's decent headroom all round, despite the car being 8mm lower than before. Rear legroom is good too; certainly better than you'd get in a five-door Focus – which is quite an achievement given the requirement to package the all-wheel drive mechanicals. The rear seats also recline at the pull of a handle. These same handles also allow the seats to fold flat. The MK2 model's additional length is largely accounted for by luggage space. The old car had 410 litres of space available but even with the rear seats in their fully reclined position, there's 438 litres in the latest car. Put the seats to a more upright position and you get up to 481 litres.
So while it's not quite as exciting as some may have hoped for, there can be little doubt that the second generation Kuga is a better vehicle than its successful predecessor. It also slots into a price point that offers clear air between the best of the Koreans and competitors like the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Audi Q3 and the Range Rover Evoque.
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