Ford Kuga

Focus-based SUV not at all bad

Evo rating
Price
from £20,500
  • Surprisingly enjoyable compact SUV
  • But do you need it?

Are you a lover of SUVs or a hater? The big, thirsty, bling-laden variety is ever harder to justify, but just as we admire cars that are light, nimble, fast and a riot to drive, so there might be a place for an SUV similarly blessed. Relatively speaking, anyway.

The best-driving workaday hatch you can buy is a Ford Focus. Fact. So what happens if you take a Focus platform, enlarge it in track, wheelbase and the height of the body it carries, and insert an extra, Haldex clutch-controlled drive to the rear wheels? You get a Ford Kuga.

Smaller than a Freelander, it doesn’t promise unstoppable off-road ability but it’s competent. It has the usual 2-litre turbodiesel (the 2.5-litre turbo five-pot petrol arrives later) and comes in top Titanium or well-gizmoed Zetec trim, the latter optionally with satin-finish blue or orange accents inside.

And it steers and handles like no other compact SUV I can recall. The steering is crisp, consistent and natural (providing you don’t switch it to heavy, stodgy ‘Sport’ or anaesthetic ‘Comfort’), there’s little roll and yet the ride is smooth, calm and composed. It’s a bit of a miracle, frankly. And the engine pulls with the zing typical of a good modern TD, with a CO2 rating of just 169g/km. Take that, SUV-haters.

Specifications

Engine4-cyl, 1997cc, turbodiesel
Max power136bhp @ 4000rpm
Max torque236lb ft @2000rpm
0-6010.7sec (claimed)
Top speed112mph (claimed)
On saleJune

Most Popular

All-electric Ferrari confirmed for 2025 reveal
Ferrari badge
Ferrari

All-electric Ferrari confirmed for 2025 reveal

Ferrari has confirmed its first EV, but first three new models are due in the coming months
15 Apr 2021
Jaguar XJ41 – Dead on arrival
Jaguar XJ41
Jaguar

Jaguar XJ41 – Dead on arrival

The blighted ’80s ‘F-type’, the demise of which led to the creation of the Jaguar XK8 and launched a new era for Aston Martin
8 Apr 2021
Peugeot 508 PSE 2021 review – high performance hybrid takes on S4 and M340i
Peugeot 508 PSE – front
Peugeot 508

Peugeot 508 PSE 2021 review – high performance hybrid takes on S4 and M340i

New 355bhp petrol-hybrid 508 from Peugeot Sport Engineered has Audi’s S4 licked
14 Apr 2021