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Ford Kuga interior, tech and practicality

Comfort and visibility

The Ford Kuga has a straightforward, easy-to-use interior with physical climate controls exactly where you’d expect, which allow you to keep your eyes on the road. There are lots of buttons on the steering wheel, as well as some more below the touchscreen and next to the gear lever. Luckily all are pretty well explained, and all are within reach. There’s also a small ledge to steady your hand when using the touchscreen.

This button-heavy layout doesn’t make the Kuga one of the most modern-feeling SUVs but, in day-to-day life, its ease-of-use surely trumps style.

The seats are very comfortable, and especially supportive on ST-Line models – we’ve done a 1,500-mile road trip in a Kuga and had no aches or pains. The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake and there’s a good level of adjustment in the seats, so you should be able to find the perfect driving position.

And that driving position will be much higher than the one in a Focus, giving you a more commanding view and better visibility of the road ahead. All-round visibility is pretty good, and parking is made easier by standard-fit front and rear parking sensors.

Standard equipment

First up in the range is the Kuga Zetec, which comes with some juicy features despite its entry-level position. Alongside an eight-inch touchscreen (more on that below), you get cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, push-button start and a heated front windscreen – so no need to get the ice scraper out on frosty mornings. Interestingly (well, we found it interesting), there’s a proper three-pin socket by the rear seats, rather than just a USB or 12V socket, so it’s easy to charge a laptop.

Titanium models get 18-inch alloys and silver exterior trim, but it’s inside where you’ll notice a step up in luxury. Joining the touchscreen is a fully digital instrument cluster, a thumping B&O Premium sound system and a rear-view camera. That’s not all, with a power-adjustable driver’s seat, two-zone air con, auto wipers, a powered tailgate and keyless entry all included too. And once it’s dark, you’ll notice the bright LED headlights.

ST-Line adds a smart body kit and a larger rear spoiler, with red brake calipers behind its sportier-looking alloy wheels. The makeover is largely cosmetic inside and out, with largely the same equipment as Titanium. Move up to ST-Line X for 19-inch wheels, a sunroof and heaters for the seats and steering wheel.

The top-spec Kuga Vignale gets lots of chrome trim and shiny 19-inch wheels, plus a model-specific body kit and heated leather seats.

Infotainment and audio

Every Kuga gets an eight-inch touchscreen running Ford’s Sync 3 infotainment system. Sat nav, DAB radio and Apple CarPlay / Android Auto phone connectivity are among the standard features.

Also included is the FordPass Connect modem, which links to a phone app to give you more data about your car. You can check if you’ve locked your car and, if you haven’t, you can lock it remotely from your phone. The app will also show you where you’re parked, give you vehicle health alerts, let you book a service and let you transfer route guidance from your phone to the car’s sat nav screen. For plug-in hybrid Kugas, the app can also show how much charge is in the battery and where you can plug in locally.

The graphics on the infotainment system aren’t the sharpest, but the system itself is simple to operate. Tiled widgets let you quickly get to the area you’re looking for, and the menus are generally logically laid out.

And while the digital instrument cluster looks very modern and gives you all the information you need at a glance, we’d like some more configurability. The dials always remain in place and you can’t see the sat nav in the display, like you can in rivals.

Nearly all Kugas get the upgraded B&O sound system, so the Kuga is a good choice if you like your music up loud and your bass rattling your bones.

Rear seat space

Being both longer and wider than the previous Kuga, the new car is more spacious where it matters. There’s enough headroom and legroom for even tall adults – you absolutely wouldn’t call the Kuga cramped. Unless you’ve got five adults on board as then, like most other cars, it’s a little bit tight across the rear seats. But it is certainly doable and there’s still a fairly reasonable amount of space for the middle-seat passenger.

The Isofix points are on the outer rear seats – which are heated in high-spec versions – and aren’t hidden away. Kids will have plenty of space and shouldn’t be able to kick your seat unless they’ve got the legs of a giraffe. There’s no option for a third set of Isofix points and the doors don’t open as wide as in a Nissan Qashqai – potentially making it a bit trickier to get child seats in and out – but these are only minor issues in an otherwise very impressive rear space.

Boot space

If your rear-seat passengers don’t need all the available legroom, you can slide their seats forward to free up more boot space. Doing so puts the Kuga in contention with the Skoda Karoq, SEAT Ateca, Vauxhall Grandland X and Peugeot 3008, although the bootspace is down on the class leaders when the rear seats are pushed back. Still, there’s easily enough room for several large suitcases.

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