Ford’s popular mid-size SUV combines quality engines with great driving experience
The Ford Kuga, Ford’s entry into the mid-size SUV market, was introduced in the UK in 2008. Built on Ford’s famous C1 chassis, that's also found on the Focus, and the spacious C-Max, the Kuga uses its underpinnings to provide a driving experience not often found in other SUVs. With a wide range of engines, including some fantastic diesels, and striking good looks, the Kuga is understandably popular with families in the UK.
Recently updated in 2012, the new second-generation Kuga is more spacious than its older brother, featuring improved modern engines, and more generous equipment levels.
One area that lets the Kuga down, solid, but unspectacular
In the Cabin
If there’s one place that you might feel a little disappointed with the Kuga, it is in its cabin. Falling a little behind some of its main rivals in quality, the Kuga is nonetheless solid.
Interior finish in the Kuga is a bit dispiriting. With so much competition in this sector from the Mazda CX-5, and the Nissan Qashqai, it’s disappointing that Ford hasn't upped their game. Basic Zetec models feature slightly drabber plastics than you might expect, that whilst solid, look and feel a little uninspiring. Models higher up the range, especially the Titanium trim, do feature a more attractive piano black fascia that will please most, but overall you’d expect a little more from Ford here.
Compared to some of its rivals, the Kuga lags behind when it comes to storage space. With 456 litres in the boot, it lags behind the Mazda CX-5 (503 litres), and the Kia Sportage (564 litres). However, it easily beats the Nissan Qashqai (430 litres) and the Honda CR-V (442 litres). One place where the Kuga excels over even its bigger rivals is its usability. It features a good rectangular shape, and a low lip, making hauling heavy loads into the back that little bit easier. So whilst being mid-range on paper at least, it’s certainly a lot more usable and practical than some others, something that is going to please a lot of family buyers.
Equipment levels in the Kuga are actually pretty impressive. Even the most basic Zetec models come with everything you’re going to need: aircon, electric windows, and cruise control all come as standard. Moving up the range, the Titanium trim adds climate control, an excellent infotainment system, half-leather seats, and automatic lights and wipers. Whichever model of Kuga you go for, you’re not going to be let down by the level of kit.
Despite not having the best quality interior out there, the Kuga does pack in a lot of usable space, as well as impressive equipment levels. And whilst it does not have the prettiest cabin, especially in base-level models, it’s still got that solidity that we’ve come to expect from a Ford.
On The Road
Fun to drive Kuga offers plenty of grip through the corners
Suspension and Chassis
Compared to a lot of its rivals, the Kuga is a fantastic SUV to drive. Whilst it might not be quite as nimble as a Mazda CX-5, it certainly won’t leave you disappointed. With progressive, confident steering, well-controlled body roll, and plenty of grip, the Kuga is great whichever road you’re driving on. It is a little jarring over potholes at high speed, but it’s smooth as they come over those supermarket speed bumps.
The Kuga manages to offer this driving experience due to being built on Ford’s famous C1 chassis. Most people would agree that the Ford Focus is one of the best driving hatchbacks on sale today. Thankfully, the Kuga shares this same platform with its smaller sibling. Modified slightly in the Kuga to offer greater comfort, and to counter body roll from the higher driving position, the Kuga’s chassis is going to leave buyers with a fun experience, that will excite the driver, without throwing the family around.
Gearbox options on the Kuga range from the 6-speed manual that comes as standard on most models, to an impressive 6-speed, powershift semi-automatic transmission, and a fully automatic on the powerful 1.5T 182PS EcoBoost model. Whichever model of Kuga you go for, the gearboxes are smooth, easy-to-use, and compliment the Kuga’s fantastic driving experience.
Diesel engines are the best option here
In terms of how you want to power your Ford Kuga, you’ve got those two traditional options, petrol or diesel. There’s no electric or hybrid option available on the Kuga at this moment in time, which may be disappointing for eco-friendly buyers. For most buyers, though, this isn’t going to be much of an issue.
If it’s power you want, the 2.0-litre TDCI 180 Titanium is probably the pick of the bunch. Packing 180bhp, it isn’t the most powerful car in the world, but with an impressive 400NM of torque (great if you're going to be towing a trailer or caravan), this model will get you from 0-62mph in just a smidgen over nine seconds. There’s also a 182bhp petrol option that’s also found in the hot Fiesta ST, but it’s a little underpowered on torque for a car as big as the Kuga. Despite being the most powerful on paper, this model is actually the slowest to 62mph in the range.
For the environmentally friendly, the 2.0-litre TDCI 150 is probably the engine to go for. Whilst it might not be the greenest out there, producing 122g/km of C02, it’s easily the best in the range, and won’t cost you too much in road tax. This is also the model to go for those wanting to get the most out of their tank of fuel, providing an impressive 60.1mpg. It’s not unbearably slow either, being less than a second slower to 62mph than the range-topping 2.0-litre TDCI 180.
Whichever engine your used Kuga has, you’re going to get an engine constructed with all the experience of Ford’s age-old wisdom. We’d definitely consider moving to diesel though (if you already haven’t), as these are the fastest, the greenest, and the most economical.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests with innovative safety features as standard
Like nearly every car in its class, the Kuga easily achieved the highest 5-star NCAP safety rating. It also scored highly on adult protection (94%), and child protection (86%), which beats both the Honda CR-V, and the Kia Sportage, hands-down. As standard, the Kuga comes with seven airbags, stability control, and a tyre-pressure monitoring system. There’s also a four-wheel drive option for those worried about icy winter roads, as well as an optional automatic braking system. All in all, the Kuga puts your family’s safety first.
Value for money
Reasonable running costs, as long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation.
The Ford Kuga is reasonably cheap to run for a car of its size. Whilst it may not be able to offer the frankly amazing 75mpg found in some Nissan Qashqais, the Kuga is pretty much on a par with most of its other rivals. Obviously, this varies from model to model, but with decent CO2 and fuel consumption levels throughout the range, you’re never going to be paying too much. Diesel engines are most definitely the pick of the bunch though.
Insurance-wise, this also depends on which model you go for. The cheapest in the range is the 1.5-litre EcoBoost Zetec 120bhp model, which falls into group 15, whilst the most expensive is the top of the range 2.0-litre TDCI 180 Titanium X at group 26. These groups are roughly the same as its competitors, which is to be expected.
First-year depreciation is a large factor with the Ford Kuga, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Ford Kuga is a great option for family buyers looking for a mid-size SUV. With fantastic diesel engines, a fun driving experience, and good equipment levels, the Kuga is going to please most families. And though the interior might not quite stand up to some rivals, the rest of the car more than makes up for it.
Buying a used Ford Kuga online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Ford Kuga for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Ford Kuga. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Kuga online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Ford? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Ford Kuga, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Kuga, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Ford to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.