Ford Kuga SUV
Price £20,245 - £34,080
- Good value and well equipped
- Economical diesel engines
- Spacious interior
- Too many buttons inside
- Inferior automatic gearboxes
- Not as much fun as Mazda CX-5
At a glance
“The Ford Kuga is practical, comfortable and good to drive. It’s a safe bet for buyers after the space and high driving position of an SUV.”
The Ford Kuga is a mid-sized SUV that goes up against popular and accomplished cars like the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and the Hyundai Santa Fe. While the Kuga doesn’t excel in any one particular area, it's competent across the board, with car-like handling, economical engines and comfortable suspension.
The Kuga looks like a tough off-roader and all engines bar the least powerful 1.5-litre petrol are available with four-wheel-drive. Despite this, most Kuga drivers predominantly use their cars on the road, rather than off it. Unless you need the extra grip provided by four-wheel-drive, a front-wheel-drive Kuga will be cheaper to buy and run.
Ford offers the Kuga with either a 1.5-litre petrol or a 2.0-litre diesel engine, and these are available with different power outputs. The pick of the petrols is the 1.5-litre 148bhp. While this isn’t available with four-wheel-drive, its 0-62mph time of 9.7 seconds and fuel economy of 45.6mpg are reasonable for a car of this size, although relatively high CO2 emissions mean this engine leaves you liable for an annual road-tax bill of £145.
If you want a diesel-engined Kuga, the 2.0-litre 178bhp engine only comes with four-wheel-drive, whereas the 148bhp diesel is available with four or front-wheel-drive. The 178bhp model is more expensive to buy, run and tax, and while its 0-62mph time of 9.2 seconds means it's slightly faster than the 148bhp diesel, it's only really worth considering if you want four-wheel drive or are really keen on the extra power.
On the road, the Kuga is easy to drive, with little body lean in corners and soft suspension that soaks up potholes and poor road surfaces with ease. While the steering is a little too light, the Kuga still provides a driving experience comparable to some hatchbacks, despite the extra height and practicality it offers.
Ford only makes the Kuga as a five-seater, so if you need seven seats, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Despite this, the Kuga has a spacious interior and four adults can sit in comfort. The boot is wide and well shaped, while the split-folding rear seats fold flat, further enhancing practicality.
Kuga buyers have a choice of five trim levels, starting at Zetec and rising through Titanium, Titanium Sport, Titanium X and Titanium X Sport. Even the entry-level Zetec is well equipped, with alloy wheels, air-conditioning, DAB digital radio and Ford's excellent ‘Quickclear’ heated windscreen. We recommend Titanium trim, as this features a larger eight-inch touchscreen with DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and voice control – as well as part-leather seats and a rear armrest.
The latest Ford Kuga didn’t do particularly well in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, coming 110th out of 200 cars. Ford's 25th-place finish out of 32 manufacturers is also a little worrying, with reliability and performance the main areas of concern. Still, Ford owners love the way their cars drive, as well as how cheap they are to run.
There are no such concerns when it comes to safety: the latest Kuga earned the full five stars in its Euro NCAP safety tests, including an impressive 94% score for adult occupant protection and a rare 100% result for its safety-assistance technology.
The latest Ford Kuga petrol engine is even more efficient than the old one, but the diesels are still our pick
The Ford Kuga no longer stands head and shoulders above rivals when it comes to driver enjoyment
The Ford Kuga is stylish inside and comes with plenty of equipment
The Ford Kuga has been stretched to offer more passenger space and a bigger boot
The Ford Kuga is a very safe car, although reliability is more of a concern