The 2016 Ford Kuga’s mid-life pick-me-up shows its face

Published: 07 March 2016

 Ford Kuga is facelifted for 2016
 Fresh look, new tech, engines
 See it at the Geneva motor show 

Ford has revealed its new look for the 2016 Kuga – and it’s a modest refresh of the wardrobe department while a host of small tech advances ensure the Blue Oval’s most popular crossover stays abreast of market trends.

You’ll spot the refreshed Kuga by its trapezoidal grille, different foglights and spangly new headlamps – complete with LED day-running light graphics and adaptive swivelling tech to trace an arc around corners. There’s also a new, cleaner 118bhp 1.5-litre TDCi diesel engine on offer.

Although originally unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (a telling, high-tech launchpad), you’ll also see it at the old-school petrolheads’ nirvana of the 2016 Geneva motor show 10 days later.

The Ford Kuga’s new infotainment system

This is why Ford unveiled the new Kuga at MWC in Spain: it packs a new communications system, dubbed Sync3,  that uses an 8in touchscreen which is designed to work more like a smartphone. For the first time, users can pinch and swipe through menus, rather than merely stab at annoyingly small buttons, Ford says.

It all reputedly syncs seamlessly with Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto connectivity systems, letting you stream music, messages and more from your beloved phone straight into the car’s information systems.

A host of apps are now compatible with the Kuga, too, so you can use applications such as AccuWeather direct from the car’s display. And you can even utter direct, natural voice commands such as ‘I need a coffee’ and the car will – apparently – react accordingly, resetting the sat-nav for the nearest Costa.

New Sync3 system appears on new 2016 Ford Kuga

‘Whether you are craving your morning cappuccino on your daily commute or covering the cost of a journey by transporting a package, Sync3 brings to life innovative new ways of staying connected on the move,’ said Christof Kellerwessel, chief electrical engineer for Ford of Europe.

‘Designed to complement modern smartphones, with an intuitive 8-inch touch screen, Sync3 understands more natural speech, is faster, and offers an easier-to-read graphical interface.’

What else is new on the 2016 Kuga?

This is a detailed but subtle mid-life facelift. So there’s a host of minor adjustments: from an electrically retracting towbar to a new Copper Pulse paint choice. It also receives a efreshingly simplified stash of buttons for the air-con and a new heated steering wheel option – plus self-parking technology that can now perform perpendicular manoeuvres to spare your blushes on the supermarket run. 

And don’t forget that likely best-selling 1.5-litre diesel engine. It’s said to be 5% more efficient, offering a claimed 64.2mpg combined economy figure and CO2 emissions of 115g/km, which is impressively low for a larger SUV.

You can also have a 2.0-litre diesel with 148bhp and three petrols, all from the 1.5-litre EcoBoost family producing 118bhp, 148bhp and 180bhp – the latter with all-wheel drive, 171g/km of CO2 and 38.2mpg.

SUVs: the never-ending success story of the auto industry?

Europe’s appetite for crossovers seemingly knows no limits. Ford, in line with other car makers, is predicting that SUV sales will account for 27% of all vehicle sales on the continent by 2020.

That explains why it’s brought the smaller EcoSport to market and why Ford will launch the bigger, pricier Edge later in 2016.

Read more of CAR’s 2016 Geneva motor show coverage here

Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 Geneva motor show

The new 2016 model year Ford Kuga

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, motoring news magnet