Amsterdam - Ford has pulled the covers off its third-generation Kuga, redesigned from the ground up on the company’s C2 architecture that also underpins the new Focus.

Interestingly Ford has chosen a sleeker, more car-like design language for its new SUV that takes much inspiration from that aforementioned Focus, and it also sits 20mm lower to the ground.

The new architecture improves torsional stiffness by 10 percent, and despite being 89mm longer and 44mm wider than its predecessor, with an extra 20mm going into the wheelbase, the new Kuga is actually up to 90kg lighter. 

Not only is it more spacious, but Ford has improved versatility too, thanks to a sliding rear seat that can vary the ratio between legroom and boot space.

Ford has packed a whole lot more technology into the new Kuga, including an embedded modem that turns the SUV into a mobile WiFi hotspot with connectivity for up to 10 devices. 

The command system is a 20.3cm Sync 3 touchscreen that towers above the dashboard, and the new Kuga is also available with a digital instrument cluster for the first time, as well as head-up display and wireless phone charging.

Driver assist gizmos include Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition, Lane-Centering, Pre-Collision Assist for intersections, Active Park Assist 2 and a new lane-keeping system with Blind Spot Assist.

On the engine front the Kuga offers a plug-in hybrid drivetrain for the first time, mating a 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine to an electric motor and generator for a system output of 165kW, while the 14.4 kWh lithium ion battery allows the vehicle to be driven for up to 50km on electricity alone, according to Ford’s claims.

The Kuga will also be available with mild hybrid and conventional (non-plug-in) hybrid drivetrains, as well as a range of conventional ICE engines, including a 1.5-litre turbopetrol in 88kW and 110kW guises and turbodiesels in two sizes - 1.5-litre (88kW) and 2-litre (140kW). Transmission choices include a six-speed manual as well as a brand new eight-speed automatic and as with the current model, with Kuga will be offered in front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive configurations.

Do note however that the South African powertrain line-up has yet to be confirmed.

IOL Motoring