First impressions count and when I first laid eyes on the all-new Kuga I wasn’t smitten. Its predecessor was chunkier, while the latest model looks bland, less adventurous and unassuming.
In fact, its exterior fails to ignite any positive emotional response, unlike its original incarnation which I test drove four years ago.
Then I was immediately smitten by its pretty facade, but much like the childhood sweetheart you meet at the school reunion, the passage of time makes you wonder what all the fuss was about.
Perhaps this is the more sensible persona Ford wishes to portray, rather than the brash, beefier older sibling I encountered in 2009.
Either way, I feel it’s lost something in its exterior appeal which, in a fiercely-competitive SUV market, may detract from what is a perfectly good car.
Ford faces stiff competition in this segment of the market and user-choosers have been swayed in their thousands by the likes of the Kia Sportage.
It oozes that appeal where looks are concerned, while the Kuga relies on its strong manufacturer credentials and impressive running costs.
It does make up for that exterior shortfall by giving fleets an SUV that feels equally at home cruising along the motorway or negotiating a winding country lane.
The handling is sharp while the ride soaks up all but the biggest of humps and bumps.
However, it’s a car that will struggle to last long in my memory and I hope that a future all-new Kuga may have a make-over that sets the pulse racing again.