The all-new Ford Kuga will start from £20,895 when it arrives in showrooms in early 2013. This means that the entry-level Kuga Zetec is around £1,000 cheaper than the equivalent outgoing model.
It's available in three trim levels - Zetec, Titanium and Titanium X - and all versions come with 17-inch alloys, daytime running lights, sports seats, cruise control and keyless start. The four-wheel-drive model, which costs around £1,500 more than the equivalent two-wheel-drive model, also comes with a touchscreen.
Mid-level Titanium models add a gloss-black grille surround, automatic headlights, part-leather seats, dual-zone climate control, a DAB radio and Ford SYNC, which includes voice-activated commands for music and phone calls via Bluetooth.
Flagship Titanium X cars are the only ones that comes with 18-inch alloys, Bi-xenon adaptive headlamps and LED taillights, as well as a panoramic roof and full-leather interior.
A ‘hands-free’ tailgate - which can be closed or opened just by waving a foot under the bumper - is available as an option on Titanium and Titanium X cars, along with safety kits such as Park Assist, a blind spot warning system and Ford’s Emergency Assistance system. The latter works using a GPS locator and Bluetooth-paired smartphone to make an emergency call if the airbags are deployed, relaying the car's coordinates.
The engine line-up kicks off with a 148bhp 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. It’s offered across the range and comes with stop-start and a six-speed manual gearbox. A 178bhp version of the same engine is available with a four-wheel-drive system for an extra £1,500.
The most efficient choice is the 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel with front-wheel drive, as it returns 53.3mpg and 139g/km - this is compared to 48mpg and 154g/km for the outgoing car. This engine is also offered with four-wheel drive, plus there’s also a more powerful 161bhp version offered for Titanium and Titanium X cars with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
As to practicality, the new Kuga has a 492-litre boot that expands to 1,615 litres with the rear seats folded, which is 29 and 95 litres more than its rival, the Volkswagen Tiguan.