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Ford Kuga 2.5 Titanium
6/10

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Road Test

Ford Kuga 2.5 Titanium

Driven May 2009

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We like the Ford Kuga here at Top Gear. We're running a diesel one as a Lifer, and wouldn't suggest you buy much else if you're in the market for a smallish SUV.

And that means we really can't recommend this new petrol addition to the range either - the new 2.5-litre flagship using a retuned version of the five-cylinder turbocharged engine from the Focus ST.

It's not a dynamic issue. This is an entertaining car to drive (let's face it, if anyone's going to make a tallish 4x4 handle well it's going to be Ford) and with 200bhp on tap the Kuga 2.5 is a bit of a hot hatch-worrying sleeper.

It serves up 0-60mph in around eight seconds and with 236lb ft torque there's always ooomph when you need it - in virtually any of the six manually selected gears. Body control is excellent, steering is precise and, pleasingly, it rides pretty well too.

So, what's to hate? Well, nothing really, except the price you pay for the extra poke. Emissions are 234g/km so you're into the £400 per year road tax bracket and fuel economy is bound to be mid-20s in the real world. Factor in the likely heavier depreciation and £25k list price and it's a no-brainer.

Like I said, then, we can't look you in the eye and recommend this over the perfectly good 2.0-litre diesel, but if you pass us in the street driving a 2.5 we'll drop you a discreet, knowing smile. Oh, and give Ford tuning shop Mountune a ring. They might be able to sort you out a tuning package the missus never need know about. That'll really keep the GTis at bay.

Paul Regan

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