Stylish Kuga on the prowl

Brilliantly styled, smartly finished and powered by one of the better diesel engines in its class, the Ford Kuga is one of the must-have models of the moment.

With car-like driving dynamics allied to the all-weather security of four-wheel drive, or the economy benefits of front-wheel-drive, it’s tightly priced and creating quite a buzz.

4x4s tend to polarise opinion. Either they’re so ridiculously macho that you feel the need to start chewing tobacco and killing your own food in order to drive them or they’re so self-consciously suburban that you’ll look like a harassed school run mum. The Kuga is different. For a start it’s manageably sized which means that the urban driving experience is a pleasant one.

Most of the versions that people actually buy are powered by a Ford 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi diesel engine. This unit has either 138bhp or a rounder-looking 161bhp.

The 4x4 Kuga uses a full-time Haldex intelligent AWD system which sends 95% of torque to the front wheels until slippage is detected and more drive is redirected aft. Buyers less interested in maximum traction might like the 2WD models which are slightly more fuel-efficient and a little quicker.

Show the Kuga a straight, well-surfaced road and it serves up a good standard of ride comfort and refinement.

Outside, the detailing is exquisite, Ford hitting just the right tone between sporting aggression and nuggety cuteness.

The Kuga looks great.