First drive: This Ford Kuga could be a very important car for the brand with the blue oval. It’s only 3 years since Ford had a zip of the hybrid-cocktail and now they are offering something for everyone in this special world.

A little bit of history. This is the third generation of the “in 2008 introduced” Ford Kuga. The popular compact SUV got a second life in 2012 with a new generation that we would call a “face-lift“. Anno 2019, Ford is hitting the ball out of the park with its third generation. New looks and more important: new technology! The “for the car industry very important” hybrid-technology is a welcome addition to the range of Ford having only started selling hybrids in 2017 with the Ford Mondeo.

Now Ford is bringing a vast range of hybrid cars in their gamma with the Kuga and Puma being important cars. Something with people liking the SUVs and crossovers. Have you heard about that?

It’s a hybrid, it’s a diesel. It’s both!

Yes yes, that’s something you don’t see that much in its direct competition. Our Ford Kuga is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel with a 48-volt battery for a little boost in power and torque but more important a drop in fuel consumption. This system doesn’t need to be plugged in but regenerates while driving. The set-up is good for 150 hp and 370 Nm of torque. A “sprint” to 100 km/h takes 9,6 seconds with a top speed of 194 km/h. Not thrilling, but the car ain’t about that. You have more than enough to go around normal traffic without feeling slow.

Other engine-choices exist out of 1.5i EcoBoost (120 hp) and 2.5i PHEV (225 hp) as petrol engines. But if you want to “diesel” you can go for a 1.5 EcoBlue (120 hp), the 2.0 EcoBlue (190 hp), or the one we’re testing here. If you would go for this set-up the choice for a gearbox is pretty simple. You can choose the 6-speed manual or the 6-speed manual. Odd thing number 2 for a hybrid. But let’s forget the gearbox, since it makes us shift up to fourth when driving 50 km/h and makes us then shift back to third, only to make us switch back to fourth AGAIN! Please, make up your mind!

The most important thing about the diesel hybrid is the fuel economy. Ford promises us an average consumption of just 4.1l/100km and we averaged 4.3l/100km. Not right on, but more than close enough! Driving around at 50 km/h you can cope with 3.5 liters while hitting 70 km/h the car will need only around 3.3 liters on 100 km. Definitely the flaw of the gearbox at 50 km/h.

But how does it drive?

Well, pretty normal actually. A big advantage -personally anyway- is the lack of jumping between full electric, full classic drive or something in between. You are always driving the same car, giving you the same feeling -being if you put it in its more sporty setting it feels that little bit more pully than in normal or the “bad weather” setting- and the same trill.

Ford focuses mostly on general comfort. You shouldn’t expect a sharply steering car, cause it isn’t. A large quantity of the steering feeling is lost in the floating feeling of the car. A “big” cruizer for long journeys and then the diesel-thing makes sense.

British Ford?

Bear with me! Look at the front of this Ford Kuga, now take a look at the front of an Aston Martin DBX. Do you see it? We do. There is a lot of contradiction about the appearance of the new Ford Kuga, but we absolutely love it. It’s a lot more in balance, more graceful and less angular than the previous one which ensures it will age less quickly. New and cleaner headlights accentuate the new design.

Moving to the side of the car and it becomes more German. Yes, we can see some Porsche Macan in the styling of the Kuga and again: not a bad thing. It looks lower, more sleek and even more streamlined. On the back, the rear lights have become less “blocky” and you get the sense of less is more. The car looks less busy and therefore better balanced.

Still Ford

On the inside, the Ford Kuga is still a Ford. Meaning the car is a nice place to be in, but doesn’t never ever hit the top. It’s like always getting a seven out of ten at school. You are a good student, but you will never be a doctor. If we had to believe Ford, they would have brought premium to the segment. But it’s just isn’t enough to call this interior premium.

Again the general feeling the Ford Kuga brings on the inside is peace and comfort. Nice soft seats with a high seating position. A sober but well thought out central center console where everything is in place and everyone could get in and just drive away. The easy to use infotainment system with -rather- basic navigation works like a charm. There is truth in that simplicity.

Enough space to go on holiday with 4 to 5 persons and their luggage thanks to the spacious rear seat. But also thanks to the 435 liters in the trunk. Slightly less than its direct rivals like a Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-5 and Opel Grandland X.

Conclusion

The cheapest Ford Kuga will set you back 28.600 euros (in Belgium). Our Titanium and 2.0 EcoBlue mHEV choices will boost the price to 34.650 euros. A few extra options will bring the total to 35.250 euros. Good value for money if you ask us. But go for the ST-line in Lucid Red.