The Kuga is Ford’s mid-size SUV and is one of its strongest selling models, offering a combination of great family appeal, good driving dynamics and handsome styling.
It’s a package that’s perfectly suited to what the car market wants right now, while it also draws inspiration from the company’s ‘One Ford’ missions statement, which aims to bring a global family of Ford cars together to be instantly familiar and universally well liked.
The British public certainly likes the Kuga. It’s a consistent feature in the nation’s top 10 seller charts, and there’s masses of used demand, which also helps it to retain its value.
While pitched as an SUV, some Kugas are only two-wheel-drive and there are even lowered models with sportier suspension, which clearly shows how it’s marketed as a family car first and foremost.
The Kuga is bold and imposing, despite being quite a compact SUV. The frontal styling follows the One Ford design directive, so it has smart led-outlined trapezoid headlamps and a handsome chrome grille, while a deep front splitter helps outline the geometry of the front bumper.
It’s handsome in profile, too, with a tapered glass area and roofline that slopes slightly backwards to give a sleek silhouette.
ST Line models have a sportier appearance, with larger pewter-coloured alloys, styling kits, chrome exhaust tips and mesh grilles, along with a lower ride height.
All models come with roof rails as standard.
Inside, the Kuga offers decent amounts of head and legroom for both front and rear passengers, with room for five six-foot adults to travel in comfort.
The quality is generally very good, with excellent al-round visibility, while the cabin is also well equipped, even on the lower specification models.
Starting with Titanium trim, you get Ford’s new SYNC 3 infotainment system, which comes with DAB radio, integrated sat-nav, Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
Other features on offer include a heated windscreen, leather upholstery and Park Assist. Trim themes are mostly grey or black, so are quite sober to look at, albeit very neat and smartly presented.
There are 406-litres of boot space, with a wide aperture and low loading lip making it easy to get things in and out of the luggage area, while if you drop the rear seats this can be increased to 1,603-litres, meaning it will carry most domestic appliances or pieces of furniture.
Driving and practicality
Powertrain options include a 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine with either 148bhp or 179bhp, a 1.5-litre TDCi diesel with 118bhp, or a 2.0-litre TDCi diesel with 148bhp or 178bhp.
The two most powerful engines are equipped with an all-wheel-drive system, with the other power units feeding the power to the road via the front tyres. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard, while Ford’s PowerShift auto is available as an option.
The 1.5TDCi doesn’t have earth-shattering performance but is very frugal with up to 71mpg, which is impressive for a car of this size. All of the other engine choices give the Kuga a decent turn of speed, and while it’s a 1.5T petrol unit that’s the most powerful, it’s the diesels that feel more eager thanks to their more potent torque curve.
For an SUV, the Kuga is dynamically blessed, with sharp steering and great roadholding. It’s much more agile than many of its rivals, but this clearly shows that it was designed every bit as a road car, and its chunky 4x4 looks are merely for show. Most buyers won’t even pay this any mind, though, as the Kuga is a very fashionable vehicle.
ST Line models are even less off-roader like, as they have lowered and stiffened sports suspension. By contrast, however, they’re terrific to drive and there aren’t any other mainstream SUVs that can hold a candle to them for road manners.
Non-ST models handle well enough, but have more body roll in corners.
Britain’s love affair with SUVs and crossovers continues, and the Kuga manages to tick both boxes. It’s more SUV-like in its appearance than many crossovers, with added practicality, yet dynamically it feels very much like a normal family car.
Given that that’s what most people will use it as, the Kuga has got it pretty much nailed. It’s an SUV that satisfies the needs of every family, with very little in the means of driver compromise.Search Ford Kuga