FORD has given the Kuga an impressive facelift, although the changes inside aren’t quite so eye-catching.

This mid-sized SUV has benefited from the addition of a similar front grille to the bigger Edge, along with re-styled lights at both the front and rear, and a reshaped tailgate.

These changes have undoubtedly freshened up the Kuga’s design, making it more imposing and up-to-date.

The vehicle is still good to drive, and remains a practical and comfortable offering.

However, there’s no doubt that a number of rivals have caught up in many key areas, such is the competitive nature of the SUV market.

Inside, the cabin is pleasant, functional but a little bit on the average side.

The low-res screen that accompanied the old infotainment system has gone, to be replaced by the much-improved latest SYNC 3 set-up.

It’s a very user-friendly piece of kit with large menu buttons helping the driver to select the correct function without undue distraction.

In general, the cabin has a pleasant feel to it, with a reasonable amount of soft-touch materials to be found on the dashboard and dotted around other parts of the interior, complemented by part-leather seats on Titanium trim-level cars.

However, if you look hard enough, there’s also plenty of unattractive plastic, meaning some of the Kuga’s main rivals have a higher-quality feel when it comes to the interior.

The single five-seat bodystyle is designed with a family’s requirements in mind.

In terms of space, the driver and front seats passengers get plenty of head and legroom.

And there’s also a commanding view of the road ahead as well as a good range of seat adjustment, meaning even the tallest occupants should be able to find a comfortable seating position.

In the back, there’s no shortage of space for rear-seat occupants, and we were able to enjoy a number of comfortable long-distance journeys in this very practical machine.

But it’s when you want to load up a large amount of bags and equipment that the Kuga’s capacity becomes a little strained.

Its 456-litre boot is smaller than most others in this class, even though the vehicle is longer than some of its rivals.

On the plus side, the boot is a neat shape, with a tall, broad opening and low load lip to make it easy to haul big items in.

Behind the wheel, the assured Kuga provides a relaxing driving experience. The vehicle has been set up for comfort, so the ride is smooth and well damped at speed.

The current Kuga doesn’t seem quite as agile as the original version, launched back in 2008, due to its larger dimensions.

And if you’re looking for driving thrills, you might want to note that this 1.5-litre TDCi 120PS version of the Kuga takes 12.7 seconds to get from a standing start to 62mph.

But, perhaps more importantly for anyone looking to buy a stylish yet practical mid-sized SUV, it’s a frugal engine, returning official fuel economy figures of 64.2mpg on the combined cycle.

In conclusion, the Kuga remains an attractive proposition.

It’s refreshed exterior has enhanced its appearance to give it more kerb-appeal, while its economical engine will appeal to those who don’t ant to make too many trips to petrol stations.

Motorists who want a punchy engine may want to think about choosing one of the more powerful engines available within the Kuga range, while those who are in no rush will find this 1.5-litre diesel quite sufficient in most everyday situations.

At just over £26,000, this model is broadly in line with the price of many of its rivals, with Ford dealers likely to offer appealing monthly payment deals.

And the fact it comes with plenty of standard equipment also counts in its favour.