YOU need to ask Ford owners if they’re talking about a low-slung sports coupe, or a smart compact SUV.
Both are pronounced ‘cougar’ but the Cougar proper is the sporty one of a few years go and the Kuga is a new crossover.
The one named after an American feline should really have been called Pussycat, but the German-made Kuga is a much better thing.
Based on the Focus platform, it’s as good as anything in its class and its Mondeo-like snoot hides a well-proven five-cylinder engine inherited from Volvo.
Kugas come in Trend and Titanium models, both well equipped and priced from about $38,500. Our Titanium had a $44,990 price tag.
The motor is a 2.5-litre, turbo-charged five-cylinder that generates 147kW and 320Nm.
Power goes through an on-demand all-wheel drive system via a five-speed automatic transmission with sport and manual modes.
It has a decent suspension system, sits well on the road and gives a comfortable, quiet ride.
The steering is fine, too, but the all-wheel drive system means it doesn’t have the world’s smallest turning circle.
The interior bits and pieces are very impressive.
Standard fare includes leather, a vast glass sunroof, Bluetooth, voice control, sports seats, flip-up glass in the tailgate, keyless start and climate control. Oddly, satnav is not featured.
In the back there are foldable rear seat tray tables, privacy glass and a separate blind for that large chunk of sunroof.
There’s good passenger and luggage space, and fold-down back seats allow a lot of flexibility.
In the safety section, it gets six airbags, ABS, stability control and electronic driver aids, and yes, it does score a five-star rating.
The Kuga is a beautifully built car with lots of zip (zero to 100km/h in 8.8 seconds), reasonable economy (10.5 litres/100km) and some unusual features, among them a capless fuel filler.
True Love thought the Kuga was “fabulous”.