First impressions of the new Ford Kuga ST-Line X

As the saying goes: All good things come in threes! Ford has taken the third generation of the Kuga literally and made a lot of things better than in the previous models. The Ford Kuga, like the Focus model, uses the new C2 platform and that brings more size to the SUV, but also the opportunity to use current hybrid and safety technology.

The Ford people have really changed a lot in the body design and the interior. The result is something to be proud of. Ford offers seven model variants for the Kuga. The engines produce between 120 and 225 hp. In addition to gasoline and diesel engines, there are now also mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. A full hybrid version is still to follow in 2020. For the test a Ford Kuga ST Line X with 2-Liter Eco Blue engine and 190 HP inclusive 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive was available.

Body – Ford Kuga ST-Line X

The first time I see the new Ford Kuga, I'm struck by its size. Although it is declared a compact SUV, its body length of 4.63 meters puts it far ahead of its competitors, the VW Tiguan (4.49 meters), the Mazda CX-5 (4.55 meters) and the Peugeot 3008 (4.48 meters).

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

The Kuga is 1.88 meters wide (with exterior mirrors it is 2.18 meters) and the height is 1.65 meters to the roof edge. The wheelbase of the new Kuga has also increased significantly to 2.71 meters. The ST-Line-X version is the sporty version of the Kuga. 1.The tested SUV weighs 735 kilograms unladen.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

12 different colors are available for the Ford Kuga according to the configurator. The test car was wrapped in Sedona Orange Metallic (828 euros) and looked very successful in combination with the black front applications. The side skirts and wheel arch trim on the ST-Line X version are painted in body color. Forgotten is the somewhat rustic body design of the previous model. The new Kuga convinces with its proportions.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

The ST-Line X version has 18-inch tires as standard (up to 20 inches are possible) and dark tinted windows from the second row of seats onwards. Static LED headlights with high-beam assist and LED fog lights are also standard equipment. The LED headlights were convincing during evening drives and illuminated the road very well.

The test car had the styling package (731 euros) on board, which includes red-painted brake calipers, a larger roof spoiler and 19-inch wheels in 5×2-spoke design.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

Since the model change, the Kuga badge is now centered at the rear. The shape of the exhaust trim has also changed compared with the predecessor model. The overall look of the rear fascia is now much more coherent and gives the SUV body a handsome finish.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

There are four different ways to open the Ford Kuga's tailgate (by key, from inside the car, handle in the tailgate, by foot swing). There's room for a good 500 liters of luggage in the trunk, and it's easy to load, too. With the backrests folded down, the trunk volume increases to just over 1.500 liters. The maximum load capacity of the Kuga (test car) is 510 kilograms.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

The electrically extendable and retractable trailer hitch on the Ford Kuga is very practical. It costs 1.072 euros surcharge and is activated at the touch of a button from the trunk. A maximum of 2.1 tons (braked) can be hitched to the hook. Under the trunk floor is the emergency wheel (107 euros). If you don't order it with, then there's a tire repair kit and there's extra space in the wheel well for odds and ends.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

The fuel filler flap for diesel and Adblue is located in the rear left fender. The tank of the Ford Kuga holds 54 liters of diesel, which is enough for a range of just under 900 kilometers.

❏ Interior

Ford Kuga ST-Line X Photo: F. Moritz

In the Ford Kuga, thanks to Keyless Go, the SUV can be opened from all four doors. The doors open wide and entry is smooth. Door edge protection is available in all four doors – simply clever. Space in the back seat is more than adequate for two adults, both in terms of legroom and headroom. The split rear seat can be moved 14 centimeters if necessary. This then brings additional space for luggage.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

The materials used for the door panels in the second row are not of high quality. Hard plastic dominates. The same cannot be said for the seats. Here the material quality is right and longer distances can be sat out comfortably and without discomfort.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

The space available for the driver and front passenger is very good and the feeling of space in the first row leaves nothing to be desired in the new Ford Kuga. The 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat (244 euros) could have offered a little more lateral support in the back area for my taste, but was otherwise pleasantly comfortable.

I found the somewhat thicker, leather-covered multifunction steering wheel with shift paddles to have a very nice grip. The adjustment range was also generous.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

What stands out particularly positively in the interior is the redesigned dashboard. Gone are the days when you had to look at a huge jagged wall and find your way through the jumble of switches and buttons in the Kuga. Another positive effect of the new dashboard is that the driver and front passenger have noticeably more space, especially in the footwells.

The choice of materials around the driver is not premium, but good class average. The material workmanship throughout the test car was impeccable.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

The digital age has also arrived in the new Ford Kuga. In the ST-Line-X version tested, there is a 12.3″ (31.2 cm screen diagonal) digital and freely configurable instrument panel as standard. The various settings are easy to understand after some time to get used to them.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

The SYNC 3 with AppLink and 8″ touchscreen is very logically laid out. The submenus can be reached quickly and the system works very fast overall. Voice control, SMS reader, DAB and dual USB ports are standard. Just like a Bose sound system, which provided in the test car for special sound experiences.

A head-up display is now also available for the new Ford Kuga (in the technology package for 585 euros), which does not project its information directly into the windshield, but onto a simple plexiglass screen.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

But the Ford Kuga is not yet completely without buttons and switches. The controls for the radio and the SUV's air conditioning are conveniently located in the center console. To the left of the steering wheel is the control unit for the lights. The automatic climate control system belongs to the same as z.B. The inductive charging station for the cell phone comes as standard with the ST-Line X equipment.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

When it comes to assistance systems, the test car had lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, pre-collision assistance with pedestrian and cyclist detection and a cruise control system as standard.

Blind spot, evasion or drowsiness assist systems are part of the package, as is u.a. A rearview camera and the park assist are part of the driver assistance package for 1.365 euros – a sensible investment.

❏ Engine and handling

The test car used a 2.0-liter diesel engine without electric assistance. It produced 190 hp and 400 Nm and is the perfect engine for the 4×4 Ford Kuga for long distances, but also in the city.

The SUV goes to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 8.7 seconds and the top speed is 208 km/h (155 mph). When accelerating, the engine remains acoustically in the background for the occupants for a long time.

The engine and the 8-speed automatic transmission are well matched to each other. The average consumption of 6 liters during the test drive was also positively convincing.

Ford Kuga ST-Line-X Photo: F. Moritz

There is little criticism of the chassis tuning. Although there is no driving profile selection or. The Kuga sits quietly on the road and offers good comfort on almost any surface. The SUV is more of a touring car and less meant for sporty performance. Steering is light and allows the SUV, which weighs a good 1.7 tons, to negotiate tight turns with ease.

Thanks to the standard all-wheel drive, the Kuga has no traction problems even on wet roads. The turning circle is 11.5 meters and the brakes do a good job. Overall, the new Ford Kuga offers an unagitated and relaxed driving experience.

Conclusion – Ford Kuga ST-Line X

The cheapest Ford Kuga is available from 26.270.59 euros (trend), the most expensive from 37.334,45 Euro (Vignale). The base price for the ST-Line X version tested is currently from 36.310.92. With a few extras, the test car came in at 42.842,02 Euro. Not cheap for a compact SUV, but worth a recommendation for the features offered.

The new Ford Kuga hardly affords any weaknesses, has made significant improvements in body design and interior space, offers plenty of ride comfort, good space, and a wide range of trim levels and engines. Unfortunately, Ford only provides a two-year manufacturer's warranty. Other manufacturers do it better.

The Kuga test car was provided by Ford.