Ford Kuga Review
The Ford Kuga is a family car that will appeal to many people, as it’s a great all-rounder and there are plenty of versions to choose from
Strengths & weaknesses
The Ford Kuga is one of the best family SUVs around at the moment because it’s practical, good to drive, comfortable and well equipped. It’s affordable too, and since there are lots of different models to choose from, there’s bound to be a model that suits you.
This new version of the Ford Kuga came out in 2019 and is available with normal petrol and diesel engines plus as a self-charging hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. You can read more about the differences between the models below, but it’s safe to say that there’s enough choice in the range to suit almost anyone.
The petrol and diesel versions are alternatives to cars such as the Peugeot 3008, Skoda Karoq and Nissan Qashqai, while the hybrid rivals the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V. The plug-in hybrid model goes up against models such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Vauxhall Grandland Hybrid.
There’s a 1.5-litre petrol, a 1.5-litre diesel plus a 2.0-litre diesel and the hybrid and plug-in hybrid both use a 2.5-litre petrol engine as well as an electric motor. There are manual and automatic gearboxes too, plus a wide range of trim levels with all the equipment you could need.
The Kuga is related to the popular Ford Focus, so it shares many of that car’s positive traits, such as the enjoyable handling around corners and comfortable ride. It’s one of the best family SUVs to drive, yet it doesn’t sacrifice practicality or comfort in pursuit of that.
It’s good value too, as there’s plenty of standard equipment. The Kuga isn’t the roomiest SUV of its type, but it’s practical enough to work as a family car for most people. Read on to find out more about the Ford Kuga and all the different versions, to help you discover if it’s right for you.
Should I get a Ford Kuga?
✔ Great to drive and comfortable
✔ Well equipped and affordable
✔ Excellent hybrids offer low running costs
✘ Could be more spacious inside
✘ Only one non-hybrid petrol option
✘ Relatively high CO2 figures for non-hybrids
The Ford Kuga is an excellent family car and there are lots of versions to choose from, so it will be well worth considering for many people. The petrol and diesel options are great for longer trips, while the hybrid and plug-in hybrid models are superb for commuting daily or taking the kids to school. All versions are comfortable, good to drive, well equipped and well priced, too.
If you’re looking for the most practical SUV around, the Kuga isn’t it, but there’s still plenty of room inside and it has so many other strengths that you might consider one anyway. It’s also not ideal for off-roading, as only the most powerful diesel version is four-wheel-drive, but most drivers will never leave the tarmac anyway. Company car drivers should consider the very low running costs of the plug-in hybrid model, which is very cheap to tax.
- Models explained
- Trim levels
- Best Ford Kuga for...
- Boot space
- Should I buy used?
There are several versions of the Ford Kuga, which is a mid-sized family SUV that’s similar in size and price to a Nissan Qashqai or Peugeot 3008. The normal petrol and diesel models are available with either a manual or automatic gearbox.
There’s a 1.5-litre petrol engine with 150hp, but the rest of the range is diesel-only. The 1.5-litre diesel produces 120hp, and then there are two versions of the 2.0-litre diesel: one with 150hp and another with 190hp.
It’s worth mentioning that the 150hp diesel is advertised by Ford as being a mild hybrid or MHEV. This is a marketing term and refers to it featuring a small electric motor that boosts efficiency by a small amount. You won’t notice the difference when driving - it cannot run on electric power alone - and should not be confused with the true hybrid models detailed below.
Ford Kuga Hybrid (FHEV)
Ford calls its Kuga hybrid 'FHEV' which stands for full hybrid electric vehicle. This means it’s able to drive on electric power alone for a very short distance, but as there’s no plug to charge up the battery with, it’s the 2.5-litre petrol engine that keeps it topped up.
This version is great for those who want to benefit from electric power on short urban trips, for example in traffic or near a school, but don’t have a place at home where they can charge up overnight. The petrol engine runs automatically when needed, so you can just drive normally and let the system choose when to use electric power - or you can press a button to switch to electric driving when you need it - provided there's any charge in the batteries at the time.
Ford Kuga PHEV
The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version also uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, but it has a larger battery pack than the FHEV model and a plug to charge up. You can plug it in overnight and head to work with a full battery in the morning, allowing around 35 miles of driving without the petrol engine at all.
This model is great for short commutes each day without using any fuel at all, as long as you’re able to charge up at home overnight. The petrol engine means you can drive normally when you run out of electric charge, so long trips are no trouble, though you'll burn lots of fuel when driving like this, as you're lugging around the weight of the large battery pack and motor with little electric assistance.
|From £9,558: Zetec is the entry-level trim level, and comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, roof rails, front and rear parking sensors, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and a touchscreen media system with sat-nav and smartphone connectivity.
|From £9,490: Moving up to the Titanium Edition model adds 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, an electric driver’s seat, an electrically-opening boot door, a digital display rather than dials behind the wheel, a reversing camera and an upgraded stereo.
|From £11,799: The sporty-looking ST-Line Edition comes with different 18-inch alloys, red brake calipers, sports seats, a different steering wheel and some other sporty-looking trim pieces.
|ST-Line X Edition
|From £14,299: The ST-Line X Edition model comes with larger 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, heated seats in the front and rear and a heated steering wheel.
|From £14,225: The top-spec Vignale version comes with 19-inch alloy wheels with a different design, a classier-looking body kit, leather seats and a different radiator grille.
The best engine for the Ford Kuga will be different depending on your personal situation. The entry-level petrol is probably the best one if you’re not sure what you need, as it’s a good all-rounder and relatively affordable. Going for petrol power also protects you from any future diesel emission charges.
However, the 1.5-litre diesel is better if you know that you will be doing a lot of motorway trips - it’s much more efficient at higher speeds. The 2.0-litre diesel engines do offer much more punch, though, so if you're happy to sacrifice some fuel economy for greater pulling power, the 150hp 2.0-litre engine could be a wiser choice.
The plug-in hybrid model is very impressive and for some people will be a stand-out choice. If you can plug in at home and make the most of the electric motor, you’ll be able to save a huge amount on running costs.
It’s particularly good for company car drivers, too. Even the normal hybrid is cheap to run and good to drive - both of these electrically-powered hybrid models are super-quiet when the engine isn’t running, so they’re relaxing and easy to drive as well as being enjoyable and comfortable, just like all versions of the Kuga.
There are lots of versions of the Ford Kuga and plenty of trim levels to choose from as well, so there’s bound to be a model that will suit you. First, you should think about which engine will work best for you: a hybrid model is great for town driving and local trips, but a diesel is still best for long motorway trips as diesels are typically more efficient at higher speeds.
Then when you’re looking at trim levels, consider the balance of price and equipment. The higher trim levels have lots of kit but they are often expensive and not worth the extra - look out for versions that have the equipment you need without anything extra you won’t use.
|Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost Titanium Edition: You could go for an entry-level Zetec model, which is really good value, but we reckon the extras you get with the Titanium trim are worth it: a reversing camera, digital dials and LED lights are excellent modern features. The 1.5-litre petrol engine is quiet and smooth.
|Ford Kuga 2.5 Hybrid (FHEV) Titanium Edition: The Ford Kuga Hybrid is an excellent choice for families. You can take the kids to school in quiet comfort thanks to the electric motor, but since you don’t need to plug in, it works for those living in places where it’s impractical to charge up overnight.
|Ford Kuga 2.0 EcoBlue 190PS ST-Line Edition: The fastest Kuga is the 2.0-litre diesel model with 190hp, which can go from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds. The Kuga isn’t a fast car but all versions are sportier to drive than most rival cars.
|Ford Kuga 2.0 EcoBlue 190PS Vignale: Despite being the fastest model we would still avoid this high-powered diesel engine. The 150hp 2.0-litre diesel is a better choice as it’s cheaper to run, while Vignale trim is expensive.
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There are many rivals for the Ford Kuga, as it sits in one of the most popular and contested sections of the market. Mid-sized SUVs are really popular at the moment and the Kuga goes up against models such as the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008, Skoda Karoq and Volkswagen Tiguan.
Hybrid rivals include the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, plus the Kia Sportage is also available as a plug-in. Arguably the Toyota C-HR is another rival, which is also hybrid-powered. The Hyundai Tucson fits the bill as well, plus there’s the Mazda CX-5, Seat Ateca and more - the list is very long indeed.
Luckily the Ford is among the best models of this type - it’s versatile, good to drive, there’s plenty of choice in the range and it’s well equipped.
Ford Kuga practicality: dimensions and boot space
The Ford Kuga is 4.6m long, 1.7m tall and 2.0m wide (with the mirrors folded), which means it’s about average for a mid-sized family SUV. It’s still a fairly large car when offered up to a typical single garage in the UK, though. You can find out more about its dimensions on our dedicated page linked to below.
The Kuga is roomy enough inside for family life. The rear seats are able to accommodate adults fairly easily, and the doors open nice and wide so access is good, too. It’s not the most spacious car of its type, but it has enough room for most people. A Skoda Karoq feels more spacious inside despite being a similar size on the outside, for example.
|Length 4,614mm - 4,629mm
|Weight 1,564kg - 1,844kg
The Ford Kuga has sliding rear seats, which means the boot space is variable. With the bench seat set back for maximum legroom, there’s 412 litres of boot space, but if you slide it all the way forward this rises to a decent 526 litres. This means there’s more room than in a Peugeot 3008 but less than a Skoda Karoq.
With the rear seats folded down flat, there’s a total of 1,534 litres (or 1,478 litres if your car has a spare wheel in the boot).
|Seats up 412-526 litres
|Seats down 1,423-1,534 litres
The Ford Kuga is related to the Ford Focus and shares many parts with it, plus there are hundreds of Ford dealers all around the UK, so it should be no issue to get repair work done. As it’s still a fairly new car it’s hard to get an idea of reliability just yet, though the PHEV model has had at least one recall since launch so far.
Ford did poorly in the 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, though. The brand came in 25th place out of 29 car makers as rated by owners, which shows that owners weren’t too happy with the experience of driving a Ford. The brand did place above Fiat, Dacia and Citroen in the poll, but behind Kia and Mazda, which were near the top of the list.
The Ford Kuga comes with a warranty from the factory that covers it for three years or 60,000 miles. This is an industry-standard and the minimum that we would expect of any new car - it’s nothing special. Kia and Toyota models will have a much longer period of cover as standard, although Ford does offer extended warranties for an added cost.
The hybrid models’ batteries are covered for three years as well, which is well behind the eight years that most car makers provide with their electric and hybrid cars. This is worth remembering if you are buying a used model, as it may run out of the warranty period soon after you buy.
AVERAGE REPAIR COST PAID BY WARRANTYWISE: £421
The Ford Kuga is an excellent option if you are looking for a family SUV. It’s a fantastic all-rounder, so while it’s not the most practical, efficient or comfortable choice, it’s so good in nearly all the right ways that it should hold plenty of appeal.
The hybrid models are fantastic for running costs, plus they’re relaxing to drive, but even the normal petrol and diesel versions are excellent - they blend comfort, enjoyable handling, high-tech equipment and ease of use really well. The diesels are great for low fuel consumption on the motorway, the petrol engine is quiet and smooth, and the hybrids are fantastic in towns and cities.
It’s worth remembering that a Ford Focus, which is related to the Kuga, is better to drive, nearly as practical and cheaper than the Kuga, but if you really have your heart set on an SUV then the Kuga is one of the best options out there.
The Ford Kuga is pretty strong value in any guise, but the 1.5-litre petrol model at the bottom of the range is particularly good - it’s smooth, quiet, has plenty of performance and is affordable to buy. In the good value Titanium Edition spec, it’s a really appealing family car with all the kit you need including sat-nav and LED headlights.
Move up to a diesel version if you are planning on doing more motorway miles - the mild hybrid 2.0-litre diesel engine with 150hp is a great option, as it’s punchy, really efficient and easy to drive. It’s great in Titanium Edition trim as well, offering excellent value for money with low running costs.
A hybrid model will cost more to buy but if you have the right circumstances, could bring incredibly low running costs. The full hybrid model makes the most sense for those who don’t have a dedicated home parking space with a charger, so it will potentially be a better buy for more people - but don’t ignore the plug-in model if you have a driveway, regularly cover short journeys and are happy charging regularly, as you could save a huge amount on fuel.
*Representative PCP finance - 2018 Ford Fiesta 1.0 ST-Line Hatchback:
|PCP representative example
|APR rates available
|Cash price £12,000
|Value of loan
|Fixed monthly payment £218.12
|Annual mileage of 8,000pa
|Total cost of credit £2,755.55
|Term 48 months
|Optional final payment £4,285.79
|Loan value £12,000
|Total amount payable £14,755.55
BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.