Ford Motor Company is showing its all new European Focus-based Kuga Crossover SUV at the Frankfurt Auto Show in September. To be launched in early 2008, Kuga is a competitor to the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4 (less the optional V6). Kuga adopts Ford’s new, distinctive kinetic styling cues and pulls them off very nicely.
Kuga Won’t Make it to the USA
This is another of Ford’s great looking European entries that we likely will not see in the USA. Kuga could slot in below the successful Ford Edge and Ford Escape Crossover SUVs in the American market. Likely, however, Kuga would prove to be too expensive to competitively position against comparable crossovers like CR-V and RAV4.
There are now so many crossover SUVs on the market that it takes a truly distinctive effort to stand out from the crowd. The Kuga would have a chance. It has a distinctive front end appearance, tough and rugged looking grille and front fascia. It has muscular wheel openings and narrow gaps between the tires and the sheetmetal giving it a purposeful stance. Of course, Kuga has to have the front fender grills that have become de rigeur these days.
Based on the European Focus platform (also Mazda3 and Volvo C30/S40/V50), the Kuga is available with FWD or AWD drive configurations. Powered by Ford’s European Durateq 2.0L 4-cylinder diesel engine, the Kuga promises good performance in European driving conditions. Having driven a Ford S-Max (large Crossover) in England and Wales for a week this summer, the 2.0L Durateq should be even sprightlier in the lighter weight Kuga.
Call Kuga a Crossover SUV
In Europe, Ford refers to the Kuga simply as a “crossover”. To our mind, this puts the vehicle in a netherworld where many customers will not be able to decide what it is… at least in the USA. In VehicleVoice parlance, we would have referred to the Kuga as a “Crossover SUV”. Sure, its a niggling point, but lets help the buying public categorize new ideas without thinking too much. In Europe’s defense, however, they have never had the super-strong SUV market we have had in the USA, so maybe simple “crossover” terminology is OK.
Ford’s Press Release on Kuga is shown below the fold.