Ford Kuga SUV
Price £19,995 - £33,830
- 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 is the popular brand's contender in an increasingly crowded mid-size SUV class. It goes up against models such as the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5. Counting in the Kuga's favour are its sporty handling, comfortable suspension and economical engines, although these qualities apply to the Nissan and Mazda, too.
Like other cars of its type, the Kuga looks like an off-roader (in fact, most diesel versions are four-wheel drive), but it's happiest on the road where its crisp driving responses and (if specified) front-wheel-drive set-up can be enjoyed.
The Kuga is powered by a choice of 1.5-litre petrol and 2.0-litre diesel engines. Our favourite petrol is the 148bhp with two-wheel drive. It goes from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds, yet returns 45.6mpg and costs £145 a year to tax.
All but one of the diesels is four-wheel drive. This setup boosts the Kuga's grip in slippery conditions, so depending where you live or the nature of your regular driving route, it could benefit.
The 178bhp diesel is the most powerful engine in the Kuga line-up. Fitted with four-wheel drive, it's slightly quicker from 0-62mph than the two-wheel-drive petrol, returns 54.3mpg and costs £130 a year to tax.
The Kuga resists body lean in corners better than some hatchbacks and is pretty comfortable, with suspension that absorbs bumps very well. However, the steering is a little too light and lacking in feel, so while it's fine in town, it doesn’t inspire confidence on the open road.
It's compact on the outside, but inside the Kuga is spacious, with easily enough room for four adults. It's a five-seater only, however. The boot is large and well shaped, and the rear seats fold flat, too, so you can pack in even more stuff.
There are four trim levels, starting with the familiar Zetec and rising to Titanium X Sport. Zetec is well equipped, with alloy wheels, air-conditioning, DAB digital radio and Ford's excellent ‘Quickclear’ heated windscreen.
However, our pick is Titanium, the next trim level up. Additional features here include a larger eight-inch touchscreen with voice control, roll stability control for crisper handling, part-leather trim and a central rear armrest.
The Kuga ranks among Ford's most reliable cars and Euro NCAP awarded it the maximum five stars for crashworthiness. Standard safety kit includes tyre-pressure monitoring, electronic stability control and cruise control with a speed limiter. On the downside, parking sensors are an option on all but the top-spec version.
The 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 turned in a good performance in our 2014 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey