Ford Kuga TDCI

Titanium X

Powershift AWD

Ford Kuga, side
Ford Kuga, side
Ford Kuga, rear
Ford Kuga, interior
Ford Kuga, interior
Ford Kuga, rear

THE ever expanding number of new of SUV models going into showrooms might give buyers a wide range to choose from, but it can also be confusing.

And it's easy to look at the new kids on the block when often the best bet is the established player which has been evolving for some time.

Take the Ford Kuga, for example. The model has been around for more than 10 years which means it's been getting better and better for a decade.

And the latest model is a real cracker, putting a lot of its competitors in the shade.

Get behind the wheel of the Titanium X spec model and you can't help but be impressed by the upmarket feel of your surroundings.

Full leather seats - heated in the front - give the model an executive air while a smart dashboard with piano black inserts boasts a centre-set touch screen and crisp, clear dials with pale blue pointers to contrast with the black finish.

Standard equipment includes a panoramic glass sunroof with tilt and slide action and - useful for families - picnic trays on the backs of the front seats.

It's not lacking in space either with generous head, shoulder and leg room for five people and impressive overall comfort.

I particularly liked the high stance of the Kuga making it not only easy to get in and out of off but also helping with all round vision.

The high mounted automatic gearshift falls easily to hand and you have a choice of normal drive mode as well as sport for when you want to liven things up a little. A small toggle switch on the side of the shift allows you to flick quickly between gears if you want to change gear manually.

From the outside the Kuga is a good looking if unpretentious SUV with nicely flowing lines, a dramatic grille and twin cannon-like exhaust pipes.

There's a powered tailgate which reaches right down to the bumper for easy loading and the rear seat backs fold down easily to boost luggage space from 406 litres to 1,603 litres.

If you return to the car with an arm full of parcels a quick swipe under the rear bumper with your leg automatically opens the tailgate.

The Kuga has a nice solid, quality feel to it. The doors close with the gentlest of pushes and all the switchgear is solid and chunky, particularly the stylish, oversized airflow wheels.

The combination of the 2,0-litre engine and six-speed automatic gearbox makes for smooth, refined motoring with plenty of power always available.

The ride is comfortable and relaxing and although there is a noticeable increase is body roll at speed on fast bends it's all kept well under control, and you have the reassurance of plenty of grip thanks to the all-wheel-drive system.

Reversing sensors on the rear and a rear view camera make parking easy and the Bi-xenon headlamps with adaptive beam shape make night driving less stressful.

FAST FACTS

Ford Kuga TDCI Titanium X Powershift AWD

Price: £35,710

Mechanical: 180bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving all wheels via six speed automatic gearbox.

Max Speed: 124 mph

0-62mph: 10 secs

Combined MPG: 38.7

Insurance Group: 22

C02 emissions: 134 g/km

Bik rating:34%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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