Ford Europe this week pulled the wraps off of a new model joining the ST-Line range of sport-appearance vehicles: the Ford Kuga (née “Escape”) ST-Line crossover.
“With our sporty Kuga ST-Line joining the new Kuga shown for the first time earlier this year at the 2016 Mobile World Congress and our upscale Ford Kuga Vignale, Ford will offer a Kuga model to suit every lifestyle,” says Ford Europe VP of Marketing, Sales & Service Roelant de Waard. “We predict sales of 200,000 Ford Kuga, EcoSport and Edge SUVs in Europe this year – up by 200 percent from 2013.”
Like the Fiesta, Focus, and Mondeo ST-Line models before it, the Ford Kuga ST-Line is more about looks than actual, appreciable performance. Plenty of sleek, black pieces can be found throughout the exterior; the upper and lower grilles, for instance, are both finished in a high-gloss Ebony Black, as is the rear skid plate. The roof rails are also black, and a dark tint adorns the front and rear lights, as well as the passenger windows. High-gloss machine-finish wheels measuring 18 inches across come standard, while there is the option of stepping up to 19-inch wheels shod in Ebony Black.
Inside, the new Ford Kuga ST-Line features unique, partial-leather seating with a new, sporty design and sharp contrast stitching. The same stitching continues on the gear lever boot and steering wheel. A two-layer metallic Deep Space paint adorns the center console.
That said, Ford’s first crossover ST-Line model does offer customers something in the way of bolstered performance. It features thicker anti-roll bars and a 10mm-lower ride height for more poised and controlled cornering, stiffer suspension bushings, and fine-tuned spring and damper rates. The Ford Kuga ST-Line might not set a new lap record at Silverstone, but it ought to deliver handling more than satisfactory for a grocery-getter. All the usual Kuga powertrains will be available.
Says Kuga ST-Line Vehicle Dynamics Engineer Frederick Vrancken: “Ford ST-Line models are designed to deliver a fun to drive experience, and we placed a strong focus on ensuring that Ford’s first performance-orientated SUV in Europe offered the same driving characteristics as the Fiesta ST-Line, Focus ST-Line and Mondeo ST-Line models.”