TopGear.com16 November 2011

We like the Ford Kuga

And here’s the new version due to launch in December next year…

We like the Ford Kuga

Yes, we do like the Ford Kuga. Small, cute, useful. Here’s the new one for next year and, get this: you open its tailgate remotely by pretending to kick the back of the car. The idea came from playing XBox Kinect, apparently. So it’s cool as well.

Launched, like everything this week, a million miles away in Los Angeles at the motor show (for that, read welcome winter sun break for jaded auto execs), it’s currently wearing the name ‘Escape’. Which is what it will be called when you rent one on your next Florida fly-drive.

But, give or take a few engine tweaks, it’s the new Kuga. Like the Fiesta that Americans have taken to, and the Focus, which was designed for both us and ‘them’ from the start, it’s a proper world car, part of the ‘One Ford’ programme designed to make them the Google Android of motoring.

See more pictures of the new Ford Kuga

The Kuga has, around these parts at least, been a huge hit. Like an SUV but without the social baggage, it’s tall enough to make it strangely comforting both to be in, and to drive. There’s something about being that little bit further off the ground that makes whatever space it has work harder. Seriously, if you’re stuck for a car to pack you and your family or vaguely active mates in, try a Kuga.

That said, you should probably wait for this new one. A little longer than the current model (bigger boot, a little more legroom in the back), it comes with the full range of excellent petrol and diesel ‘ecoboost’ turbos from the Focus. It’s also got the neat opening and closing ‘eco-grille’, plus all the phone and iPod and, eventually, internet connectivity you could want. Ford, as you will know, does that stuff very well.

There’s the potential for even more miserly fuel consumption too, with Ford set to launch a range of three cylinder petrol engines in C-Max and B-Max, though they won’t be there at the Kuga’s launch in December next year.

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