Say what you like about it being a run-out model (the next generation Kuga has already been announced overseas) the Ford Kuga, released in South Africa this week, adds to the Ford range something it hasn't had in the past - a stylish, all-wheel drive crossover with a bit of flair and a lot of attitude.
Standard on all Kugas is an intelligent 'on demand' all-wheel drive system that feeds all the power to the front wheels under normal circumstances so that, on tar, it drives just like a 'normal' family car.
But, if the front wheels begin to lose traction, it will automatically transfer as much torque to the rear wheels as necessary to ensure the best drive under all cornering and accelerating conditions.
The Kuga is available in South with only one engine option - a 2.5-litre turbopetrol mated to a five-speed auto transmission. Quoted output is 147kW at 6000rpm and 320Nm from 1600-4000rpm good enough for a top speed of 202km/h.
Claimed fuel consumption is 10.3 litres per 100km and average CO2 output is 244g/km.
The styling is typical SUV-wannabee, with strong wheel arches, chunky detailing (especially around the grille/headlight/bonnet area) and a high waistline with a relatively small glassed area.
A split tailgate offers separate access to either the parcel shelf or both storage areas simultaneously, while four D-ring tie-down points enable heavy items to be safely tethered - and there's more storage under the second row of seats.
But the Kuga is also more than a family workhorse; luxury features include push-button starting, cruise control, Bluetooth with voice control functionality, full leather trim with six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heatable front seats, power windows and heated, powered door mirrors.
Safety is entrusted to disc brakes all round with antilock braking, electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist, linked to an electronic stability programme with anti-rollover mitigation.
The higher-spec Titanium variant adds rain-sensitive wipers, auto dimming rear-view mirror, dual-zone auto aircon, green-tinted privacy glass, 17” alloy rims and a panoramic glass roof.
Kuga 2.5 Turbo Trend - R375 000
Kuga 2.5 Turbo Titanium - R395 000
The Kuga comes with a four-year or 120 000km warranty and a four-year or 80 000km service plan; service intervals are 20 000km.