Ford Kuga Review & Prices
The Ford Kuga is a spacious, practical family SUV that’s great to drive. You’ll find alternatives with nicer cabins, though, and better infotainment systems
What's not so good
Find out more about the Ford Kuga
Is the Ford Kuga a good car?
The Ford Kuga is a family SUV with one trait that it holds above most other cars of its type: fun handling. It’s almost as sharp to drive as a Ford Focus, yet with the practicality and looks of an SUV. That’s what we call having your cake and eating it. It’s a rival for SUVs such as the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and Seat Ateca, but none of those can quite offer the sheer fun that the Kuga can.
We reckon the Kuga looks a little like a Focus that’s let itself go (too much of that cake). The latest Kuga is smarter than previous ones, with a large grille, piercing headlights and curves all over the place. Higher-spec models on larger wheels look more imposing but even lower trims wear their smaller alloys well.
The Kuga’s interior is similarly curvy, with a central touchscreen display prominently placed on the dash. The 8.0-inch screen is easy to use and comes with smartphone connectivity, and the air-con controls are physical buttons, which is good.
The new Kuga is bigger than the previous version, which means that it’s competitive for interior space. Adults will have to squeeze in to fit across the rear bench, but there’s enough legroom and headroom back there. The Kuga’s back bench also slides to swap between legroom and boot space, and you can even have the outer seats heated.
Amongst family SUVs, the previous Ford Kuga was a good looking car. Now, though, it’s even more distinctive to look at and its engine choices are bang up to date
The Kuga’s boot could be better, though, as it’s a bit smaller than its main alternatives’, even with the sliding rear seat. Still, it’s big enough for some suitcases and other holiday stuff, or a big weekly shop.
With petrol, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid, there’s plenty of choice in the engine range. There’s a decent formula to choose which is right for you: if you have a short commute, consider the plug-in hybrid to benefit from the electric range. Check out our separate Ford Kuga Plug-in Hybrid review. If you’re not a commuter and
use the car for various trips, hybrid petrol should offer the best balance of economy and smoothness, while the petrol-only model is fine for a mix of driving. Basically, any Kuga you choose won’t cost too much to run.
Whichever Kuga you choose you’ll enjoy the driving experience. The sharp steering, plentiful grip and decent performance mean that it’s enjoyable to drive on country roads. Good visibility and a decent turning circle make it simple work in town, too, while it’ll prove comfy and quiet on the motorway.
The Ford Kuga is a big improvement over previous models and the value-for-money factor is there as long as you stick to the middle of the trim range. It’s comfortable, practical and full of kit – it’s just a shame the boot isn’t as big as we’d like.
How much is the Ford Kuga?
The Ford Kuga has a RRP range of £30,755 to £40,405. However, with carwow you can save on average £2,558. Prices start at £28,623 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £362. The price of a used Ford Kuga on carwow starts at £17,000.
Our 3 most popular versions of the Ford Kuga are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|2.5 PHEV ST-Line X Edition 5dr CVT||£36,140||Compare offers|
|1.5 EcoBoost 150 Zetec 5dr||£28,623||Compare offers|
|2.5 FHEV ST-Line Edition 5dr CVT||£35,362||Compare offers|
As you’d expect of Ford, the Kuga’s prices are pitched keenly against the other big names in this class, such as the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan. Compare the Ford to more premium makes, which it has the measure of in quality and driving terms, and the Kuga is one of the best value cars in this sector. There’s around a £2000 step-up in price between trim levels, though the ST-Line and ST-Line X Edition are closely priced.
Performance and drive comfort
The Ford Kuga is one of the most impressive cars to drive in its class for handling and comfort, but there’s no auto gearbox option for the petrol model
There’s a lot to like about being in the driver’s seat of the Kuga as it’s really comfortable and has the raised position that so many people want from an SUV. It means you have good vision to the front, so you can judge where the bonnet ends when parking, and it’s also easy to see out of the side windows as you approach junctions. However, reversing into spaces is made trickier by the thick rear pillars, though Ford does provide front and rear parking sensors with every Kuga model.
The manual gearbox in the 1.5-litre Ecoboost-powered Kuga has a light action and feels good to use. Take the hybrid model and it has a rotary controller to select gears that’s brilliantly simple. What’s not so impressive is the slightly snatchy feel to the brakes in the Kuga at low speeds, so care is needed not to jolt the car as you come to a halt.
Making up for this is the supple ride of the Kuga, which takes the edge off even the sharpest potholes. Also helping in town is the Kuga’s Quickclear windscreen that demists the glass in double quick time on frosty mornings. You also have Pre-Collision Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking to alert you to possible hazards ahead and deal with them, as well as lane assist and lane departure warnings in every model.
On the motorway
If you think the smaller 1.5-litre engine in the Kuga will feel underwhelming on faster roads, think again. It’s a willing performer that pulls strongly from low revs and the manual gearbox is really good to use. The engine is also hushed when on the motorway, and you have cruise control with speed limiter in every Kuga to make life more relaxing.
The hybrid Kuga with its 2.5-litre engine is quicker off the mark and better at tackling steep motorway inclines. However, you do have to get used to its automatic gearbox, which causes the engine to rev quite hard when you accelerate. Still, wind and road noise are both kept quiet in all Kugas.
On a twisty road
Ford has simplified the Kuga engine range to just two choices, plus the plug-in hybrid version reviewed elsewhere. The range kicks off with the 1.5-litre Ecoboost turbocharged petrol motor, which has 150bhp and has a six-speed manual gearbox. There’s not even the option of adding an automatic transmission to this model, which seems a shame, so you’ll have to choose the 2.5-litre hybrid Kuga for this. It uses a CVT gearbox, which is a type of auto that continuously varies the gearing to get the best mix of performance and economy. That’s the theory, though the reality is it can make the engine seem quite loud and strained under hard acceleration.
Get on a country road, though, and you won’t notice this as the Kuga handles and rides with Ford’s usual panache. Next to most cars in this class, the Kuga feels really agile and nimble, but the steering has a slightly unusual feel as it wants to return to centre more than in some other SUVs. As in town, it soaks up bumps and ripples like a champ.
Space and practicality
The Kuga is one of the best of this size of SUV for passenger space in the front and back, but you might wish the boot was a bit bigger
Settle into the driver’s seat of the Ford Kuga and you’ll find it’s got plenty of adjustment in the position and the steering wheel. Taller drivers might want the seat to drop a bit lower, but most will enjoy the raised view that is, after all, what you want an SUV for. The seat itself offers plenty of support for your back and legs, and the steering wheel can be altered for how close it comes towards you and its angle. All of this combines to make the Kuga a very comfortable car, and the driver sits square-on to the wheel and pedals, unlike in some other SUVs where you can feel a little out of kilter.
Finding places to keep bottles, sunglasses and other odds and ends is no problem in the Ford. Large door pockets will easily hold a large drinks bottle, and there are two cupholders in the console behind the gear lever. A tray in front of the gear stick is ideal for holding your phone, and all Kugas come with wireless charging. There’s another tray behind the gear lever, though it’s a bit small. To the rear of this is a lidded cubby, while the glovebox is merely average for this size of car. You also get a proper sunglasses holder set in the roof lining.
Space in the back seats
The Kuga’s rear doors open wide, which makes it easy to get in and load smaller kids into their seats. There’s also plenty of room for a rear-facing child seat, while the ISOFIX mounts on the two outer rear seats are simple to locate and use, so no messing about trying to jab a clip into place.
Adults sitting in the back seats will find loads of room for their knees, shoulders and heads, even if you tick the box for the optional panoramic sunroof. That roof helps make the rear cabin feel a lot more airy as it can be a little dingy back there otherwise.
Three adults will fit in the back of the Kuga, but whoever draws the short straw to sit in the middle will have the unpleasant experience of the seat belt clip digging into their thigh. Even so, there’s still decent headroom in the centre seat and even the small hump in the middle of the floor doesn’t rob any foot space.
The rear seats of the Kuga slide back and forth, so you can vary passenger and load space. As for storage in the rear compartment, there are small but useful door bins, pockets in the backs of the front seats, and a fold-down armrest with a couple of cupholders. You also get a coat hook on the door pillar, while the window line is just about low enough for younger kids to see out without craning their necks.
It might not be the biggest boot for this class of car, but the Kuga’s is one of the cleverer ones. With the rear seats in their normal position, you have 475 litres of load space, which is less than a Skoda Kodiaq, but still sufficient for most needs. It also has a floor that sits flush with the load sill, so it’s easy to slide heavy items in and out.
Four tie-down points let you secure loads in the boot, while a 12-volt socket means you can run a fridge to keep your holiday snacks and drinks cool. There are also remote handles set into the side walls of the boot to release the rear seats when you want to free up more space. With all of the back seats dropped down, you have up to 1603 litres of cargo capacity. The floor isn’t completely flat, but it’s not a major problem to fit in longer, bulkier loads.
Interior style, infotainment and accessories
Kuga follows the simple, clear style of the Focus in its dash design, but just a pity the quality of some materials isn’t a bit higher grade
If you choose a Zetec trim for your Kuga, you’ll be presented with the basic analogue dials in the main instrument pod. Nothing wrong with their clarity and the information they give, but the 12-3-inch digital dash display in the other Kuga trims adds a touch of techno sophistication to the car’s cabin. The digital dash also means you can pick and choose the information on display.
Steer your eyes to the centre console and one of the first things you’ll notice is there are proper buttons and dials for the air conditioning and ventilation. Thank goodness for this, even if some of the buttons are a bit small, as it makes adjusting temperature and fan speed while driving a doddle.
Above this, you’ll find the 8.0-inch Ford Sync3 touchscreen infotainment system. It’s common across most Ford models and is uncomplicated to use, but it’s also not as up to date as the set-ups found in some others in this sector. Still, it does all that you need and connects to your smartphone via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto so you can access apps on the move. In all but the base Zetec model, you also get a Bang and Olufsen speaker system that delivers excellent sound quality.
The one big disappointment in the Kuga’s cabin is the feel of some of the plastics lower down in the dash, seats, and centre console. Next to an Audi Q5 or Volvo XC60, the Ford just seems like it’s been put together from cheap materials.
MPG, emissions and tax
There are two engines to choose from with the Kuga, plus the plug-in hybrid model, and they are quite distinct. Take the 1.5-litre Ecoboost turbo petrol motor and it comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as the only transmission option. It offers a best odficial combined fuel economy of 42.8mpg, along with carbon dioxide emissions of 149g/km. To put that in context, a Nissan Qashqai or Volkswagen Tiguan with similar engine and gearbox both come with fuel consumption that gives you at least an extra couple of miles for every gallon you put in the tank. They both also have lower CO2 emissions, with the Nissan sitting one company car tax bracket lower than the Ford.
For those picking the Kuga with the 2.5-litre engine and hybrid set-up, you can look forward to average economy of 51.4mpg and 133g/km CO2 emissions. That’s similar to the diesel engine that was previously offered in the Kuga, so it will keep business users happy.
With 190bhp, the hybrid model has a healthy power advantage over the 1.5-litre Ecoboost model that comes with 150bhp. However, the added weight of the hybrid’s battery means performance is pretty close for the two cars. The 2.5-litre hybrid covers 0-62mph in 9.1 seconds, while the 1.5-litre car needs 9.7 seconds, but in reality the two feel much the same on the road.
Safety and security
To keep you safe should the worst happen, the Ford Kuga comes with twin front and side airbags for those in the front, as well as full-length curtain airbags to protect all occupants. The front passenger airbag can be deactivated so a child seat can be fitted, and there are ISOFIX mounts attached to the two outer rear seats.
Parking sensors are fitted to the front and rear of all Kugas, and every trim comes with cruise control with speed limiter. You also get lane departure warning and lane keep assist, and autonomous emergency braking with pre-collision assist to warn of oncoming dangers. However, you need to step up from the entry level Zetec version if you want a rear-view camera as standard, as well as a driver fatigue warning. All of this earned the Kuga a five-star rating in safety tests by Euro NCAP.
The Zetec trim misses out again if you want to add the optional Driver’s Assistance Pack to the Kuga. It comes with a front parking camera, adaptive cruise control with traffic sign recognition, blind spot warning, active parking assistance, and Ford’s clever rubber door guards that pop out to protect the edges of the doors against car park knocks as they open.
Reliability and problems
The current Ford Kuga enjoys a strong reputation for reliability, though the plug-in hybrid model has been subject to a recall. This was due to a possible air venting issue with its battery pack. Across the wider Kuga range, there have also been recalls for a possible problem with the fuel heater system and the telematic system that could affect the car’s SOS call that automatically contacts emergency services in the event of a collision.
All Kugas come with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty included as new. When you buy the car, you also have the option to upgrade this to four years and 80,000 miles or five years and 100,000 miles for an additional cost.
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Popular Ford Kuga colours
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*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.