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Ford Kuga

8 / 10
2 November 2023

The good-value, good-driving Ford Kuga is a strong family SUV that deserves a place on your shortlist

What we like:
  • Best handling of any family SUV
  • Choice of engines and specs
  • Intuitive interior
What we don't like:
  • Smaller boot than rivals
  • Some cheaper materials
  • Automatic gearbox in hybrid models is sluggish

Should I buy a Ford Kuga?

The family SUV class is overflowing with talented options, from the Hyundai Tucson and Peugeot 3008 to the Skoda Karoq and Kia Sportage. There are countless others, which could leave the Ford Kuga at risk of being forgotten. But Ford has made sure its Kuga is still a front-runner in this hotly contested part of the market, thanks to a driving experience that goes above and beyond what an SUV needs to do.

The Kuga wouldn’t become a best-seller just because it’s fun to drive. It has a well-equipped and instantly familiar interior, it’s cheap to run and inexpensive to buy, and it’s practical enough for a week’s holiday or a couple of pushchairs. Ford’s 330-strong dealer network means it’s easy to find a local garage for servicing, too.

Interior and technology

If you’ve outgrown the Ford Focus and step up to the Ford Kuga, you’ll feel at home immediately. The Kuga shares almost its entire dashboard layout with the Focus (and the Fiesta and Puma), with an eight-inch touchscreen perched above a climate control panel. Ease-of-use is the overriding feel, with simple tiles used to organise the infotainment system and solid-feeling switchgear.

The Kuga’s sheer range of trim levels might be confusing – we’ll explain them fully on the next page – but all are well-stocked with kit. There’s the must-have phone connectivity, plus a wireless charger to keep your phone juiced up, and push-button start. Safety is strong, too, with a five-star Euro NCAP rating and a host of tech including lane-keeping assistance and a system that reads speed limit signs and prompts you on the screen. An eye-catching 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster is also available if traditional dials are just a bit last year.


The Kuga has had a growth spurt and now it’s more useful and more versatile than before. You get plenty of space and a high vantage point from the driver’s seat, and those in the back won’t complain about the space on offer either. Trick sliding rear seats allow you to increase the boot space available if you don’t need all the legroom…

…which you may need to do if your passengers don’t mind. Even with the seats slid forwards, the Kuga offers about as much boot space as a Vauxhall Grandland X or a Peugeot 3008, so it’s competitive but the Hyundai Tucson and Volkswagen Tiguan offer noticeably more space. With the seats slid fully back, the Kuga’s boot isn’t vastly bigger than the boot in the Ford Focus.

Engines and performance

Short of a fully electric option, the Kuga’s wide choice of engines mean that there’s something for nearly everyone. There’s a 1.5-litre petrol engine for drivers with a low-to-medium annual mileage, a couple of diesel engines for high-mileage drivers, a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid if you spend a lot of time in town or want some electric driving with the petrol engine as a backup.

Besides the smallest diesel, a 1.5-litre engine with 120hp, all engines get from 0-62mph in somewhere between nine and 10 seconds – performance that’s strong and suitable rather than breathtaking. The 120hp diesel is a bit slower, but it is very efficient, promising up to 60mpg. The other diesels manage 50-57mpg, the petrol returns up to 42mpg and the hybrid offers 52mpg. You can achieve up to 35 miles of fully electric driving from the plug-in hybrid, so the UK’s average daily commute can be done without using a drop of fuel.

Driving and comfort

Just because you’re buying a family car, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun behind the wheel. The Kuga is one of few SUVs to handle well enough to engage keen drivers, and it’s the best-driving car in its class. Often, it feels like a larger, taller Focus. Refinement and comfort are strong, too, and the Kuga is definitely up for long motorway journeys – which you’ll no doubt appreciate if your country lane enthusiasm makes your children feel a bit queasy.

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