click above image to view a full high-res gallery of the Ford Kuga

In North America, one could argue that Ford has gone bonkers for CUVs. Just try counting on one hand the number of CUVs badged with a Blue Oval that are on sale or will be in the next year. Ford of Europe, however, has just introduced its very first proper CUV (SUV looks, unibody construction) in the Kuga. Again a host for Martin Smith's "Kinetic" design philosophy, the Kuga looks sharp, like how we now expect European Fords to look. Picture a Mondeo and U.S.-spec Escape having babies – they would look like the Kuga. This pre-production model was obviously inspired heavily by the Iosis X Concept CUV that Ford showed in Paris last year, and you'll even be able to order the concept's 19-inch wheel design as an option on the Kuga.

Set to go on sale sometime the first half of 2008, the Kuga will be available with a 2.0L Duratorq TDCi diesel engine connected to a six-speed manual. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive will also be available. Ford tells us more engines and transmissions will be available, but those details are still being sorted out.

The interior features a smart and clean layout comprised of what appears to be high quality materials, and customers will be able to choose the same panoramic roof shown on this vehicle.

Check out Ford's official press release after the jump, and take a gander at our live shots of the Ford Kuga in the gallery below.

Related Gallery2008 Ford Kuga