Ford Kuga Review logo

Ford Kuga Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2020
      Body type
      Crossover
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, PHEV
Andy Brady

Written by

Andy Brady

00/10
heycar rating
“Practical family SUV moves upmarket”

Best bits

  • Bigger and more spacious than the old Kuga
  • Lots of standard equipment
  • Choice of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines

Not so great

  • Not available as a seven-seater
  • Expensive on the used market
  • Most affordable petrol engines are underpowered

Read by

Ford Kuga Exterior

Overall verdict

Ford Kuga Interior

On the inside

Ford Kuga Driving Side

Driving

Ford Kuga Driving

How much does it cost to run

Ford Kuga Exterior Back

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict on the Ford Kuga

"Whichever Ford Kuga you opt for, it’s a strong contender in the increasingly competitive SUV sector. It also represents decent value for money, although it’ll be a while before it represents a bargain on the used car market."

Ford Kuga Exterior

The old model was on sale from 2013 to 2020 and - by the end of its lifespan - it really couldn’t cut it against fresher rivals like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5. So, just like Ford has recently whipped the latest Focus into shape, a new Kuga has arrived with the strongest of its rivals in its sights.


Evidence of the Kuga’s everyman appeal is provided by the wide range of engines on offer. There are the typical petrol and diesels, including mild-hybrid versions of the latter (don’t expect all-electric running from these, although a slight improvement in fuel economy is a welcome advantage).


For the first time, Ford’s offering a plug-in hybrid version of the Kuga, too. Aimed squarely at taking some of the Outlander PHEV’s thunder, this combines a 2.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and a heavy lump of a battery. The result is up to 35 miles of running under electric power alone, meaning it could be a very economical choice for those of us who mainly cover short journeys day-to-day.


Or at least it will be once they’ve managed to complete the recall work. The launch of the Kuga PHEV was plagued by vehicle fires caused by a faulty battery pack. Sales were suspended just a few months after launch and cars are not expected to be ready before March 2021.


While Ford has a reputation for making cars which are great to drive, the previous Kuga was a bit sloppy. Fortunately, the latest model is back on form, with sharp handling ready to take on the Mazda CX-5. Thanks to the weight of its batteries, the PHEV model does lose some of this agility, but it’s an easy car to drive around town - helped by its high seating position and front and rear parking sensors which are standard across the range.


A downside of this is the firm ride quality, especially on models with bigger alloy wheels fitted or the ST-Line trim with its sports suspension. It’s not uncomfortably harsh, but it’s not as compliant as the soft Citroen C5 Aircross.


No matter which Kuga model you buy, it will be pretty comprehensively equipped as standard. The kit list on even the most affordable Zetec trim feels far from meagre, with 17-inch alloy wheels, Ford’s incredibly useful Quickclear heated windscreen and the eight-inch SYNC3 navigation system.


The Titanium adds things like bigger 18-inch wheels, full LED headlights and sport seats finished in part-leather. There’s a sharp B&O sound system, too, as well as ambient interior lighting.


Further up the range, you can take the posh or sporty route. The Vignale trim level is full Victoria Beckham spec, with lots of exterior enhancement (chrome trim) and premium leather in the interior, as well as a techy 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster.


The sporty ST-Line model comes with Mel C exterior styling (including a rear spoiler and red brake calipers…), while the inside gets a flat-bottomed steering wheel and part-leather sports seats. Upgrade to the ST-Line X for 19-inch wheels, an electric tailgate and a panoramic sunroof.


If you're looking for the previous version, you need our  Ford Kuga (2013-2020) review.

Is the Ford Kuga right for you?

While it’ll be a while before depreciation works its magic, the new Kuga ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of people. Whether you’re a high-mileage business person, a family looking to do the school run or a weekend outdoors warrior, the Kuga makes a lot of sense. Our biggest gripe is the lack of a seven-seat version.

What’s the best Ford Kuga model/engine to choose

All Kuga models are well-equipped so it’s not really necessary to stretch your budget for one of the higher-spec trim levels. A standard Zetec or Titanium model will be fine for most buyers. In terms of engines, it depends what you need. The petrols are a little underpowered. Go for a diesel if you cover a lot of miles, or a plug-in hybrid is a great cheap-to-run alternative.

What other cars are similar to the Ford Kuga?

The Ford Kuga rivals other larger crossover SUVs like the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Citroen C5 Aircross, Peugeot 5008 and Skoda Kodiaq. You could also consider slightly smaller alternatives like the Skoda Karoq, SEAT Ateca, Kia Sportage, Peugeot 3008 or Nissan Qashqai.

Learn more

Ford Kuga Interior

On the inside

Ford Kuga Driving Side

Driving

Ford Kuga Driving

How much does it cost to run

Ford Kuga Exterior Back

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Is the Ford Kuga a good car?

We like the Ford Kuga a lot and there's lots to be positive about. It’s got bags of space, an engine for everyone and an interior that feels much classier than ever before.

Keith Moody

Answered by

Keith Moody

Which Ford Kuga engine is best?

We found that the petrols are a little underpowered. Go for a diesel if you cover a lot of miles, or a plug-in hybrid is a great cheap-to-run alternative.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

Where is the Ford Kuga built?

The Ford Kuga is built in Germany at Ford's Saarlouis factory.

Dan Harrison

Answered by

Dan Harrison

How economical is a Ford Kuga?

If you're after economy, look for a Ford Kuga with one of the EcoBlue diesel engines. The 1.5-litre returns up to 55mpg in WLTP fuel economy tests.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady