- Well-built interior
- Good to drive
- Top safety rating
- Boot could be bigger
- Firmer ride than rivals
- Entry-level models lack advanced tech
What's the Ford Kuga like?
Ford's Kuga, which is one of its most popular models, has the same name as the original British word for a kazoo.
The present Kuga SUV has been around since 2012 and is great to drive, as well as being eminently family friendly and practical.
Most models are not four-wheel drive even though they look the part, so if that’s an important thing for you, make sure the model you’re looking to buy has it.
Safety is very good with a number of different systems as standard, including lane-keeping assistance, and it has a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating.
It's reasonable to run, but the ride is on the firm side, so take it for a decent test drive before you buy.
There have been numerous engine and gearbox options available, but I’ll concentrate on the main ones.
On the petrol side, the Kuga has been available with 1.6-litre and later 1.5-litre turbos. The 1.5-litre used in many other Ford models could be had in 120, 150 and 180bhp guises, with acceleration to 60mph ranging from 12.4 to 10.7 seconds.
Economy under the latest calculation system ranges from 35mpg down to 30mpg.
The diesels make up the majority on the road, and they start with a 1.5-litre which has 120bhp.
It can better 45mpg and covers the 60mph sprint in 12.4 seconds.
Above that is a 2.0-litre TDCI with either 150 or 180bhp. The 150bhp reaches 60mph in 10.0 seconds and is capable of 43mpg, while the 180bhp is the quickest model in the range, covering the sprint in 9.3 seconds and yet still capable of 38mpg.
The set-up is engineered for the best road manners rather than off-road work, but those with four-wheel drive (4WD) are still more than capable on muddy tracks and wet fields.
Road holding is very good even when pressed, with well controlled body movement and not much roll. Grip is very good and the steering informative and direct.
Interior and Equipment
Following an update in 2016, there were style changes to bring it into line with the rest of the range and improvements to the interior to allow for the latest infotainment system.
I like the cabin very much. It’s well-built and stylish, and better looking than that in many competitors.
The seats are well shaped and supportive and there’s room for five over longer journeys, but the boot is on the small size for an SUV.
Equipment is good in most models, but the majority do not have sat nav as standard, and that’s niggardly on Ford’s part as far as I’m concerned.
Many used examples may have it, of course, if it was ordered as an extra by the first owner or driver.
There's a wide range of models, so make sure you get all the kit you want. The mid-range ST-Line comes with alloys and parking sensors, an alarm, cruise control, part-leather sports seats, roof rails, steering wheel audio controls, and traction control.
Where fitted, the 4WD is an intelligent system that drives the front wheels normally, but adds power to the rear when slippery conditions are detected.
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The Ford Kuga is a highly popular SUV that offers a good driving experience and a well-built cabin. With four-wheel drive availability and a range of handy equipment, the Ford Kuga is ready to take on the challenges of everyday family life.