- Third-generation Kuga sports curvaceous styling
- Available as a regular and plug-in hybrid as well as full electric
- Goes on sale in the UK later in 2019
Ford has revealed its new third-generation Kuga SUV, which goes on sale later in 2019. It’s the first Ford to offer all three versions of the company’s new hybrid technology. That equates to a choice of mild-, full- and plug-in hybrid options. The swoopy styling will no doubt suit the transformation to sporty ST and ST-Line forms, offering stern opposition to the Volkswagen Tiguan, SEAT Ateca, Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar.
Entry-level Kugas will continue to offer non-hybrid engines, with customers able to choose from a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol with either 120hp or 150hp, and either 120bhp 1.5-litre or 190hp 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel options. But it’s the three hybrid variants that take the Kuga into unfamiliar territory.
EcoBlue Hybrid – a 150hp 2.0-litre diesel engine with mild-hybrid technology. This replaces the standard alternator with a belt-driven starter/generator that captures energy lost under braking, stores it in a small lithium-ion battery, and uses it to power electrics and provide the engine with extra performance. This is the simplest hybrid technology, and the EcoBlue Hybrid comes with front-wheel drive only. Ford anticipates 56mpg and 132g/km.
Hybrid – this is most comparable to technology used in the majority of Toyota Prius models. It combines a 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with a larger lithium-ion battery that captures energy lost during braking, and an electric motor. The Kuga Hybrid cannot be plugged in, but will run for short periods on electric power alone. It will be available in both front and all-wheel drive, and Ford predicts 50mpg and 130g/km.
Plug-in Hybrid – largely similar to the Hybrid, this model can be plugged in to charge, as the name suggests. Ford says fully charging the battery from a 230-volt plug socket takes four hours, giving enough energy for over 31 miles of electric-only motoring. It produces 222bhp, with official economy figures of 29g/km and 235mpg. The reality? Keep the battery topped and you’ll never visit a fuel station again. Never top it up and we’d guess – and it is a guess – 35-45mpg.
What else do we know about the 2019 Ford Kuga?
The Plug-in Hybrid will be front-wheel drive only. All-wheel drive is technically feasible, but was ruled out on the grounds of adding extra weight to an already heavy car. Based on underpinnings derived from the latest Focus, Ford’s best-selling SUV debuts a sleeker, more car-like shape than its predecessor. It’s 89mm longer, 44mm wider and 20mm lower than before, but up to 90kg lighter.
Trim levels are expected to progress from Zetec through to Titanium, ST-Line and Vignale, with alloy wheel designs from 17- to 19 inches. The Kuga interior offers highly comfortable seats, and the second-row seating is now more spacious thanks to a 20mm longer wheelbase. Despite the lower roofline, occupants are claimed to have more headroom: 13mm more in the front, 35mm more in the rear.
As with the previous model, the rear seats also slide back and forth to maximise legroom (up to 1035mm) or luggage capacity (to provide 67 more litres), but boot space remains generous, even with the second-row seating pushed all the way back.
The infotainment combines Ford’s Sync 3 system with an 8-inch central touchscreen, wi-fi hotspot, B&O stereo system and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. All models get a 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster as standard.
Expect prices to creep up from today’s entry-level Zetec trim by about £1000 to £24-£25,000 when UK deliveries begin in the first quarter of 2020.