Before even heading out on a test drive you will be faced with an array of gadgetry and technology that, especially if you haven’t been in a new car for a while, might seem somewhat overwhelming. When wandering into a Ford dealership to take a look at the Kuga, you would be faced with a choice of three engine derivatives: an updated version of the 2.0 TDCi turbodiesel unit, a new 1.5 EcoBoost petrol engine and the all-new 2.0 EcoBoost, as found in the Focus ST performance hatchback.
Our test unit is the diesel unit producing 132kW and peak torque to 400Nm. The advantage of this derivative is that it has the highest torque, which, as it is matched to a six-speed dual clutch PowerShift gearbox and Intelligent All-Wheel Drive system, means it pulls the hardest of the range.
But long before you pull out on to the road you will be faced with features that will grab your attention. They are the small things that make your day-to-day interaction with the car all the more pleasant. One of my favourites is the hands-free tailgate, which allows you to open and close the Kuga via the key fob. This means when you approach the car with your hands laden with parcels, a simple push on the ignition key and the tailgate opens automatically. Once you have become used to this feature, you are spoiled for life.
Heated seats could not have been available at a better time. A freezing cold morning is made so much more bearable when the seat is inviting and warm and those in the Kuga warm up as quickly as the dual zone climate control, so you are snug in next to no time. Acknowledging the requirements of a modern family running multiple electronic gadgets, Ford have fitted an integrated 230V/150W power inverter ideal for charging laptops. This is bolstered by 12V power points in the front and in the luggage compartment.
All Kuga models boast the Ford SYNC multimedia system with Bluetooth and Voice Control, auxiliary input and USB port, as well as remote audio controls on the steering wheel. When you do finally drive out of the dealership there are a host of electronic driving aids. A rear parking sensor with audio warning provides practical assistance for reverse parking manoeuvres.
Active Park Assist is available as part of an optional Driver Assistance Pack on the Titanium models. Over and above the cruise control with speed limiter that is standard across the range, the option pack incorporates Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Alert that warns drivers if they are travelling too close to the vehicle ahead, Active City Stop with Low Speed Collision mitigation, Lane Keeping Aid, Driver Alert and the Blind Spot Information System.
Another standard technology is the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, which warns if any of the tyres lose significant pressure during a journey. Further available technologies on the top-spec derivatives include hands-free tailgate, Bi-Xenon HID headlamps with auto high beam, as well as LED daytime running lights.
Safety remains a key selling point for the Kuga, which enjoys a Euro NCAP five-star safety rating and an outstanding arsenal of active and passive safety features.