Its predecessor reached our shores so late in its life cycle that it's being replaced just over a year down the line.
Ford has just announced the specifications and pricing for the second-generation Ford Kuga, which comes with a wider model range to put up a stronger fight against RAV4, Tiguan, Sportage and company.
Whereas the previous range was only offered in high-specification five-cylinder turbo guise, the new range offers lower spec levels and a starting price of R289 900.
MODERN TURBO POWER
Two new engines offer a choice between petrol and diesel. The petrol option has been downsized significantly - it's now a 1.6-litre EcoBoost turbo motor available in two output levels.
The 110kW/240Nm version will be fitted to front-wheel drive models and is only available with a six-speed manual gearbox. Where most of its rivals offer 2-litre naturally aspirated motors at this level, the turbo Ford will have a certain advantage at Reef altitude.
If you opt for one of the all-wheel drive Kugas, you'll get a 134kW version of the aforementioned engine, with the same torque output, and mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox. According to Ford the FWD and AWD both take 9.7 seconds to get to 100km/h, sip 6.6 and 7.7 l/100km respectively and reach top speeds just short of 200km/h.
For the diesel-blooded variety, Ford is offering its 120kW/340Nm 2-litre TDCi motor, which is only available in AWD guise and mated to a six-speed Powershift transmission. According to Ford's numbers it's not much more efficient than the petrol model - 6.2 l/100km combined consumption - and it's slower against the clock, taking 10.4 seconds from 0-100.
The permanent all-wheel drive system fitted to the upper end of the line-up constantly readjusts the front-to-rear power slip after assessing conditions - which it's said to be able to do 20 times faster than it takes to blink an eye.
THREE TRIM LEVELS
Ford's put considerable effort into crafting a classy cockpit complete with soft-touch surfaces and electroplated metal finishes.
The availability of a new entry-level Ambiente allowed Ford to bring down the base price, but it's not all bare inside, the standard fare including air conditioning, a six-speaker audio system, Sync Bluetooth and Voice Control, start button, idle-stop, multi-function steering wheel, cruise control and 17-inch alloy wheels.
Stretch to the Trend derivative and leather sports seats, a nine-speaker Sony audio system, 4.2-inch TFT screen, parking sensors and dual-zone climate control enter the scene.
True indulgence comes in Titanium models, which have 18-inch alloys, BiXenon alloys, auto lights and wipers and smart keyless entry with a handsfree 'open sesame' tailgate.
GADGETS GALORE - AT A PRICE
Furthermore, you can specify a Titanium Option Pack, for R35 000, which comes with a whole glut of electronic safety technologies including Active City Stop, Adaptive Cruise Control, Active Park Assist, Blind Spot Information System, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Aid. The pack also adds a panoramic roof and 19-inch alloy wheels.
1.6 EcoBoost Ambiente FWD - R289 900
1.6 EcoBoost Trend FWD - R324 900
1.6 EcoBoost Trend Auto AWD - R364 900
1.6 EcoBoost Titanium Auto AWD - R398 900
2.0 TDCi Trend Powershift AWD - R384 900
2.0 TDCi Trend Powershift AWD - R418 900
4-year/120 000km warranty
4-year/80 000km service plan (petrol)
4-year/90 000km service plan (diesel)
3-year roadside assistance
Kia Sportage (R301 995 - R366 995)
Toyota RAV4 (coming soon)
Mazda CX-5 (R314 700 - R396 100)
Honda CR-V (R299 900 - R499 900)
Nissan Qashqai (R249 900 - R365 900)