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The Mk2 Kuga was released in 2013 as a replacement for the very successful Mk1 version and has been vastly improved both in size and build quality compared to its predecessor. The current Kuga has been designed primarily in Europe under the One Ford policy whereby Ford has one vehicle for each market sector globally. This is also carried through to the assembly process whereby engines are made in the UK and the interiors are made in Detroit for example. The Mk2 Kuga has a sharper looking front end compared to the Mk1 version which has improved the aerodynamics of the Kuga whilst giving it a smarter appearance. The kuga also has good ride height which gives the Kuga great presence on the road and also off it. Like most vehicles in the SUV class the kuga is more of a softroader rather than an offroader but this won’t affect most buyers who I suspect will be buying the Kuga as a family car and thus keeping the Kuga on the tarmac. On the other hand, I feel the most offroad action the Kuga will see is around the campsite where it should perform effortlessly. There are five specification levels to choose from for the pre-facelifted Kuga which give buyers plenty of choice and means there should be a Kuga to fit all budgets. The specifications are: Zetec is the entry level model but is far from basic and comes with 17” alloys, heated front windscreen, SYNC 1 DAB radio, cruise control, electric windows front and rear, manual air conditioning, leather trimmed steering wheel with reach and rake adjustment. The Zetec is available with a 1.5 eco boost petrol engine with either 120ps or 150ps in 2WD form or 182ps in all wheel drive. But also a 2.0 litre TDCI diesel engine with 150ps in either 2WD or all-wheel drive. Titanium has all the features of the Zetec plus automatic headlights and wipers, duel zone climate control, SYNC 2 DAB in replacement of SYNC 1 on Zetec models, stainless steel scuff plates, centre armrest, leather gear knob and lumbar support for the front seats. Engines are the same as the Zetec excluding the 120ps petrol which is not offered and there is an uprated TDCI engine producing 182ps as well as the 150ps version. Titanium Sport has the same features as the Zetec and Titanium but also benefits from a bodykit, boot spoiler, 18” alloys, parking sensors front and rear, part leather seats and active park assist. Engine options are the same as per the Titanium. Titanium X has all the features and engine options as Titanium but gains 182 wheels, Xenon headlights, LED taillights, LED day time running lights, panoramic sunroof with built in sunblind, power folding mirrors and leather seats which are heated. Titanium X Sport is the top spec model and is fitted with the features from both Titanium X and Titanium Sport but has additional 19” alloys, rear view camera, rear privacy glass and aluminium roof rails. All models are offered with either a six speed manual gearbox or powershift automatic transmission. Ford haven’t skimped on safety either as all Kugas come with a 5* NCAP safety rating and are equipped with front, side, curtain and knee airbags as well as a collapsible steering column and pedal assembly. Driving the Ford Kuga The Kuga I have on test is a Titanium Sport model fitted with the 2.0TDCI 150ps engine and manual gearbox which is also fitted with the appearance pack which consists of aluminium roof rails and tinted windows as well as having power folding mirrors and sat Nav fitted. Climbing into the Kuga I found the seats very supportive, as well as very good adjustment with the reach and rake steering wheel both of which made it easy for me to find the ideal seating position. Moving onto the rear of the cabin, passengers are treated to a generous amount of leg space as well as being able to adjust the back of the seat into a reclined position. Ford have also been generous with the storage space, as the Kuga comes with deep door pockets both front and rear as well as having a sunglasses holder and good armrest storage and a glovebox. Now don’t think that with all the cabin space on offer that the boot has been compromised because this is far from the case and comes with 406 litres of boot space and the added benefit of a flat boot floor, meaning loading big items is a doddle. Furthermore, the cabin is very well thought out with all switches in easy reach and the infotainment screen which is both clear and well positioned so as to not distract the driver. I found the Sat Nav easy to use and gave clear instructions in plenty of time before the change of direction but did have live traffic updates which could be hit and miss at times and would tell me of an issue whilst being stuck in it. The air conditioning system is also very good and there is an array of vents to distribute the air evenly about the cabin. The Bluetooth connectivity is another standard feature and again, is easy to operate for making phone calls and receiving texts messages which can be both read on the screen or played through the speakers. Driving the Kuga is a pleasant affair and I found the diesel engine both smooth and quiet for general driving, but engine noise would become apparent if the Kuga was pushed hard and naturally a car like this is more comfortable being driven more sedately. This was also clear in the MPG figures as when the Kuga was pushed hard the MPG would tumble but when driven sensibly I was getting between 41.8-43.0mpg with a mixture of town, country and motorway driving. I must admit that despite the Kuga's size it handled very well and found the suspension setup very compliant and had good rebound but I would suspect the ride to be slightly firmer on the 19” wheels fitted on higher spec’d models. One drawback I found with the Kuga's driving characteristics was the level of tyre/road noise entering the cabin but this could be partly down to the Continental tyres fitted to this particular car. The steering too was very good, being light but with plenty of feel and made me feel like I was driving a family hatchback rather than an SUV. The only other drawback I found with the Kuga was the amount of wind noise experienced but again this is partly down to the Kuga’s size and is a small price to pay for its many advantages. The Motorists Guide View: The second generation Ford Kuga had big shoes to fill when compared to the outgoing model but I feel it has lived up to its predecessor’s reputation of being a practical and well-designed SUV, but more importantly a great family car. With the wide range of specifications and engine options on offer, there is sure to be a Kuga to accommodate all tastes. Also, I feel that good build quality combined with all-round versatility makes the Kuga a serious contender in the SUV market and one well worth considering when you are looking to change your current car. https://fave.co/2wPiV6Z Dimensions Length: 4524mm Width with mirrors: 2077mm Height: 1689mm Curb Weight: 1580Kg