Review

Ford Kuga SUV

Price  £20,995 - £33,530

Ford Kuga SUV

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Good value and well equipped
  • Economical diesel engines
  • Spacious interior
Cons
  • Too many buttons inside
  • Inferior automatic gearboxes
  • Not as much fun as Mazda CX-5

At a glance

The greenest
Titanium 2.0TDCi 150PS FWD 5dr £24,345
The cheapest
Zetec 1.5T EcoBoost 150PS FWD 5dr £20,995
The fastest
Titanium 2.0TDCi 180PS AWD 5dr £26,345
Top of the range
Titanium X Sport 2.0TDCi 180PS AWD Pwrs 5dr £33,530

"Bigger, cleaner and better value than before, the Ford Kuga is a solid option for SUV buyers."

SUVs aren’t known for their sporty handling, but the Ford Kuga is an exception. It's fun to drive and resists body lean in corners better than many hatchbacks. However, the Mazda CX-5 runs it very close and certainly has better, more direct steering.

Dynamic qualities were central to the appeal of the first-generation Kuga. That, and some quite radical styling – at least for a Ford. This latest version is more conservative looking and more biased towards comfort. It smooths out bumpy roads and irregular surfaces very well. Fortunately, it's still fun to drive. Where it's not so good is off-road, but then few cars in the Kuga's class are good anywhere but on tarmac.

The model is offered with a choice of petrol and diesel engines. The most economical of the two petrols is the 148bhp 1.5-litre EcoBoost, available only with two-wheel drive. It can do 45.6mpg, costs £145 a year to tax and goes from 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds. The more powerful 180bhp version is offered only with a wallet-punishing combination of four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox. As a result, it can manage only 38.2mpg while costing £205 a year to tax. However, acceleration from 0-62mph is only slightly worse, at 10.1 seconds.

The two 2.0-litre diesels are easier on the wallet, yet just as fast – if not faster. The most economical 148bhp version with two-wheel drive can do 60.1mpg and costs £110 a year to tax. Meanwhile, the 178bhp model can do 54.3mpg, costs £130 a year to tax and can crack 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds.

The Kuga is quite compact outside, but it's also a roomy car inside, with enough space for four adults to sit comfortably. It looks good and is generally quiet, except on the motorway when wind noise can intrude. There's no seven-seat option, but even if there was, the third-row seats would certainly only be suitable for children.

Ford offers four trim levels to tempt Kuga buyers. The line-up kicks off with familiar Zetec trim, which is generously equipped with alloy wheels, keyless start, air-conditioning, DAB digital radio and a heated windscreen. The next trim level, Titanium, adds smarter alloys, part-leather upholstery, dual-zone climate control, voice control and Roll Stability Control for even tidier handling. Of all the trims, we think it offers the best balance of price and kit.

Most owners give their Kuga the thumbs-up for reliability and it tends to rank highest of all Ford models in this respect. It's a safe car, too, securing the maximum five stars from Euro NCAP for its crash-worthiness. Safety equipment includes electronic stability control, cruise control with a speed limiter, hill-start assistance and tyre-pressure monitoring.

Not sure what you're looking for? Find out what we think is the best SUV by watching our video below.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.8 / 5

The Ford Kuga petrol engine is even more efficient than the old one, but the diesels are still our pick

Engines, drive & performance

3.7 / 5

The Ford Kuga no longer stands head and shoulders above rivals when it comes to driver enjoyment

Interior & comfort

3 / 5

The Ford Kuga is stylish inside and comes with plenty of equipment

Practicality & boot space

3.3 / 5

The Ford Kuga has been stretched to offer more passenger space and a bigger boot

Reliability & safety

3.3 / 5

The Ford Kuga turned in a good performance in our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey

What the others say

3.4 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
"The Ford Kuga is a well built and capable mid-sized SUV that challenges the Mazda CX-5 for class honours."
6 / 10
"While you probably won’t find it a disagreeable car to live with, there are quite a few rivals out there that are easier to drive, more spacious or cheaper to run."
3 / 5
"The Ford Kuga has its strengths, but they’re not enough to make it trouble the best cars in the class. It's likeable but flawed."
7 / 10
"The new Kuga is safer and roomier. We’ll miss the old one, though…"
What owners say 
4.2161290322581
4.2 /5 based on 124 reviews
71%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
19 Aug 2015
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