Ford Kuga SUV
Price £20,995 - £33,530
- 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
"Bigger, cleaner and better value than before, the Ford Kuga is a solid option for SUV buyers."
The Ford Kuga was launched in 2008 and is Ford's answer to mid-sized SUVs such as the Honda CR-V and Volkswagen Tiguan. In 2013, the range was joined by a high-spec Titanium X model, which gets lots of standard kit, although all Kugas offer a decent amount of equipment.
The Kuga comes with either four-wheel drive for extra grip and decent off-road ability, or two-wheel drive for better fuel economy. Buyers can choose from a 1.6-litre petrol or a 2.0-litre diesel engine. Both come with two different power outputs that offer either extra performance or better economy.
The model also features useful equipment such as Ford's SYNC system, which integrates with your smartphone. It allows you to dictate text messages and can also read incoming messages aloud.
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MPG, running costs & CO2
Downsized petrol and efficient diesel engines reduce costs
The Kuga works best when fitted with one of the two diesel engines on offer. In two-wheel-drive form, the basic 2.0-litre 140 diesel can return 53.3mpg and emits 139g/km of CO2, which means road tax will cost £130 annually. Fitting the same model with four-wheel drive sees economy drop to 47.9mpg, while emissions rise, so road tax costs £180 a year. Choose the 2.0-litre 163 diesel, and economy as well as emissions stay the same, while performance is only marginally improved.
The 1.6-litre petrol cars come with either 148bhp or 178bhp. The former can return 42.8mpg economy, while the latter can only manage 36.6mpg. It’s fitted as standard with a power-sapping automatic gearbox, which means it's barely faster than the basic petrol version.
Engines, drive & performance
Rivals are as fun to drive as the Kuga
The Ford Kuga is an SUV, but it offers car-like driving characteristics, although it's not as much fun to drive as the old model, or the Mazda CX-5. The soft suspension does mean the car leans in the corners, but it also makes things more comfortable for passengers. The new model’s dimensions can also make it tricky to park.
The two-wheel-drive petrol gets from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds (the same time it takes the top-spec automatic petrol), but our pick of the range is the basic diesel model that can still manage 0-62mph in 10.6 seconds, but is also quieter and more economical than the petrol cars.
Interior & comfort
Bigger, roomier and fairly comfortable
The original Kuga was replaced in 2012 by a new model, which offers more boot space and also has more space in the back for taller passengers. It also gets useful optional kit, such as an electric boot lid that can be opened simply by sweeping your foot under the rear bumper. This is handy if you’re carrying lots of shopping and don't have a free hand.
The car's suspension is also improved and now does a good job of ironing out lumps and bumps on the road. The interior is pretty quiet, too, although petrol models are noiser, and there's some noticeable wind noise at motorway speeds.
The new car's interior has improved drastically over the old model's, with high-quality plastics that put it in line with the rest of the Ford range.
Practicality & boot space
Longer body gives extra space for luggage
The new Kuga is 81mm longer than the car it replaces, which means boot capacity has gone up by 96 litres to offer 456 litres in total. However, this drops down to 406 litres if you choose to have a spare wheel rather than the standard tyre-repair kit. The boot has a large opening, however, and is both low and flat, which makes it easier to load bulky items. The rear seats can also be folded down to increase boot capacity to 1,928 litres.
All seats offer plenty of head and legroom, while then rear seats also recline to offer more comfort – or added boot space in their most upright position.
Reliability & safety
Platform, engines and technology all proven in other Ford cars
The old Ford Kuga didn’t fair particularly well in our 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey coming 59th out of 150 cars. Ford, meanwhile, came 23rd out of 32 manufacturers, although it did finish ahead of its main UK rival Vauxhall. Nonetheless, the Kuga does share many parts with the rest of the Ford range, which means they should be tried and tested.
The Kuga offers excellent crash protection, however, and got a full five-star rating when it was tested for safety by Euro NCAP. All Kugas get an electronic system to help prevent skids, and can also be fitted with Ford’s city safety system, which brakes the car if it senses an imminent collision at low speed.
Price, value for money & options
Better equipped and cheaper than before
The new Kuga gets more equipment than the old model and is also up to £1,000 cheaper. All models have air-conditioning, cruise control, a heated front windscreen, a USB port, a Bluetooth phone connection and alloy wheels. The top-of-the-range models gets things like a premium stereo with sat nav and a leather interior.