New 2019 Ford Kuga revealed with new look and hybrid tech

The new Ford Kuga is wider and longer than the previous generation, and will arrive in December with three hybrid versions in the range

This is the all-new Ford Kuga. It’s the third generation of Ford’s biggest-selling SUV and the first model from the brand to be launched with a trio of hybrid powertrains, including a 235.4mpg plug-in hybrid unit that will top the range.

The new SUV is the most thoroughly redesigned version of the car since it was launched back in 2008. It’s based on a completely new platform called C2 that has not only brought significant gains in practicality, but also allowed Ford to fit the latest family of hybrid powertrains.

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Now 89mm longer and 44mm wider than before, and with a wheelbase that has been extended by 20mm, the Kuga can deliver “class-leading” space for passengers in the rear seats, according to Ford.

There are no official figures for its boot capacity, but the volume is expected to be significantly larger than the 406 litres in the outgoing version. A new feature is a rear bench that can be moved backwards to boost passenger space or forwards to add a further 67 litres to the boot’s capacity. 

The changes in size have also brought a new look for the Kuga. George Saridakis, Ford of Europe exterior design director, told Auto Express: “The extra width has allowed us to get more definition in the wheelarches. This is much softer and more streamlined than the previous model, which was a bit more angular and masculine.

“The most practical shape is a box, so you have to balance the practical aspect with the emotional connection. And we’ve done that; we’ve found a good balance that delivers more than the predecessor in terms of space in a package that looks appealing.”

Three specifications will be offered on the Kuga: Titanium, ST-Line and Vignale. All feature a front skid plate, rear diffuser, body-coloured mirrors, LED daytime running lights and alloy wheels. A gloss-black front grille and diffuser, roof-mounted spoiler, twin-exhaust system and larger 18-inch alloys identify ST-Line models, while top-spec Kuga Vignales feature a satin chrome finish to the front grille, bumpers and roof rails, plus Windsor leather seats inside.

The Kuga will eventually be offered with five powertrains: three hybrids, plus petrol and diesel units. The 1.5-litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol engine, carried over from the Focus, is available in two states of tune: 119bhp or 148bhp. Diesel choices are made up of a 119bhp 1.5-litre EcoBlue and 178bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue, both of which get the option of an eight-speed automatic box.

The first of the hybrids uses a 48-volt mild-hybrid system paired with Ford’s 148bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel engine. It features a belt-driven starter/generator that replaces a standard alternator, so the car can recover and store energy during braking to boost its acceleration. But it does not allow the car to run on electric power only. Ford claims this EcoBlue Hybrid powertrain can return economy of 56.5mpg, with CO2 emissions of 132g/km.

Above that sits the all-wheel-drive Kuga Hybrid, which uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor powered by a small lithium-ion battery. This allows the Kuga to travel in full-electric mode for short bursts, and Ford claims fuel economy of 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 130g/km. However, it won’t be in dealers until 2020.

At the top of the range is the Kuga Plug-in Hybrid. This has a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, driven by a 10.3kWh lithium-ion battery. Ford says it develops 223bhp and should manage 235.4mpg, while emitting just 29g/km of CO2.

Despite the variety of powertrains, they will feature common design cues, Saridakis explained: “It’s powertrain-agnostic, in a way. First and foremost it’s the Kuga and it’s not distinguishable other than that.”

The new cabin architecture has largely been carried over from the Focus hatch, but the third-generation Kuga is Ford’s first SUV to be available with a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. However, analogue dials will feature on entry-level models.

An eight-inch touchscreen on the dash gives access to Ford’s SYNC 3 infotainment system, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

Also new is FordPass Connect, which turns the SUV into a mobile hotspot, with connectivity for up to 10 devices at once.

Active Noise Control has been fitted to Vignale models and the plug-in hybrid as well; the system monitors engine noise in the cabin via three microphones and directs opposing sound waves through the speakers to cancel the noise. Sales of the new car start in December.

Do you like the look of the all-new Ford Kuga? Let us know your thoughts below…