Used Ford Kuga review: 2012 to 2019 (Mk2) - Reliability and common problems

The Ford Kuga should be pretty reliable, because it doesn’t have any significant known faults and buyers say it’s good to own

Carbuyer Rating

2.8 out of 5

Reliability and common problems Rating

2.5 out of 5

The Ford Kuga is based on the popular Ford Focus, plus both of these models sold in big numbers, so there should be no issue finding parts for repairs and there are hundreds of Ford dealers and specialists all over the country.

The ownership experience may not meet the standards of other family SUVs, as owners have reported that it’s rather average when it comes to running costs, driving experience and interior finish.

How reliable is the Ford Kuga?

The Ford Kuga came with a three-year warranty from new, which is pretty normal but does mean that the vast majority of second-generation Kugas are no longer covered by a factory warranty. That’s not the case with certain Hyundai and Kia models, for example, which came with longer warranties from new. Ford does sell extended warranties, though.

Petrol versions of the Kuga need servicing every year or 12,500 miles, but the diesels need to be serviced at the 10,000-mile mark. There are cambelts that need changing every 10 years, which can be a costly job.

Are there any common problems or things to look out for?

There aren’t too many common issues with the Kuga to be concerned about. A knocking noise from the rear could be a small issue with the tailgate catch, while the gearlever gaiter tends to wear quickly as well. The doors can start to creak, too.

One of the most concerning issues is with petrol models with a manual gearbox, because the clutch pressure plate can fail and cause a burning clutch – the smell is pretty obvious and it can cost a lot to fix. The auto model won’t suffer from this but it needs more maintenance (£200 for new oil every three years).

What about recalls?

The Mk2 Kuga was recalled in 2017 to repair a spot that could potentially catch fire, and then again later that year to sort out defective airbags, so make sure these repairs have been carried out. 

In 2018 the Kuga was recalled again to rectify an engine fault that could cause oil leaks or fires. There were two recalls regarding this, although not all Kugas were affected. Later in 2018 the car was recalled to sort an issue with the clutch pressure plate mentioned above. It’s definitely worth making sure any and all recalls relating to a potential used purchase have been carried out.

What do owners think?

The Kuga is about average, according to owners who were surveyed when the car was new. It finished 34th out of 100 models assessed in our 2019 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, for example, and it came 32nd in 2018 and 14th in 2017.

Ford as a brand didn’t fare so well, coming 23rd out 30 manufacturers in 2019. Owners’ most common complaints were the exterior styling of their Fords, build quality, practicality and space and interior and comfort. These scores are quite lacklustre across a number of areas but it does seem Ford have got it right with the Kuga. When it came to reliability overall, 13.1% of Ford owners reported faults in the first year of ownership.

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