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Ford Kuga vs Hyundai Tucson – which is best?

SUVs like the Ford Kuga and Hyundai Tucson have become the default choice for many families.

They have enough space to make life with pushchairs and bulky child seats easy, and give you a lofty, confidence-inspiring driving position. But which of these two SUVs is best?

We've driven both to help you pick between these popular family haulers. This comparison looks at their practicality, performance and value for money. Whichever you pick, you can save thousands on the brand-new price by buying or financing either as used cars from Motorpoint.

Ford Kuga vs Hyundai Tucson compared

Ford KugaHyundai Tucson


  • Top-tier ride and handling
  • Cheaper to buy


  • More practical
  • Snazzier inside and out


  • Boot isn't the largest in class
  • Cabin design is a bit dull


  • Mediocre driving experience
  • Not as affordable

Styling and design

Ford Kuga vs Hyundai Tucson front
Ford Kuga (left) vs Hyundai Tucson (right)

We're sure Ford's designers are very proud of the Kuga's neat and tidy styling but it looks like a bit of a wallflower next to the dramatic-looking Tucson. Nevertheless, the Kuga isn't an unattractive shape and, if you squint, there's something a little Aston-Martin-ey about its front grille, especially on Titanium-spec versions. The Ford Kuga's 2024 facelift has given the car a slightly more square-jawed face but its silhouette is essentially unchanged. Keep an eye out for sporty-looking ST-Line models, which get bigger wheels and a body kit, or newer facelift cars in Active trim with their taller suspension and chunky body cladding.

Whether you like the Tucson's style or not, you have to admit it has a lot more going on. The busy front end sees the insect-like segmented headlights blend seamlessly into the broad grille, giving the car a distinctive front end among a sea of cookie-cutter SUVs. There are deep folds and creases down the car's flanks, complemented by the intricate snowflake-like alloy wheels fitted to higher-end models. Like the Kuga, Hyundai announced a 2024 facelift for the Tucson but the changes are fairly subtle so don't do much to add or detract from the overall impression the car makes.

Interior and practicality

Ford Kuga vs Hyundai Tucson interior
Ford Kuga (left) vs Hyundai Tucson (right)

The Kuga's cabin is simply laid out and easy to get your head around. All the important controls use proper knobs and buttons, with the touchscreen infotainment system reserved for nav, entertainment and other less-frequently used features. What's lacking, however, is a sense of style. The materials used are dark and uninviting, and the design just looks a bit dull, with little visual flair to tempt the eye. ST-Line models at least add some leather and suede upholstery, which helps lift the ambiance slightly.

Again, the Tucson looks like noticeably the more stylish of the two here. The centre of the dashboard cascades down from the sculpted upper dash section, which also incorporates the iPad-style driver's dials. All the graphics featured across the Hyundai's two screens look sharper and more modern than the Ford's, although there's little to split the two for ease-of-use. Like the Ford, we wish there was a little more colour on display to brighten the cabin's atmosphere but Hyundai has added a few choice metal-effect details to help it feel upmarket.

As far as five-seat SUVs go, these are two of the most practical considering their mid-sized footprint. That means any differences between the two are pretty minimal and you'll generally find that passengers and cargo that fits in the Kuga will also fit in the Tucson. Both cars major on rear-passenger space, with lots of room for tall adults or bulky child seats. Avoid the hybrid models and boot space is essentially the same – 612 litres in the Kuga vs 620 in the Tucson – although the Hyundai has the edge if you're shopping battery-assisted versions as its pack takes up less space under the boot floor.

Engines and performance

Ford Kuga vs Hyundai Tucson driver's dials
Ford Kuga (left) vs Hyundai Tucson (right)

There are surprising similarities between these two cars' engine ranges. They both kick off their lineups with entry-level turbo petrol engines with 150hp and, in both cases, these are probably enough for most buyers. Despite their on-paper similarity, the Ford's engine is sweeter and more entertaining to use, with a lot of in-gear muscle despite only having three cylinders under its bonnet. Its 9.7-second 0-62mph time is 0.6 seconds faster than the equivalent Hyundai.

Unlike the petrol-only Tucson, Ford has offered diesel engines in the current Kuga range for long-distance drivers, but most after high mpg figures will gravitate towards the more common full-hybrid and plug-in hybrid options. The former is a great option if you do lots of urban driving but don't have access to an EV charger, while the latter can cover around 30 miles on electric power alone if you fully charge the battery. Both full and plug-in-hybrid models offer decent performance thanks to their responsive electric motors.

Higher-end Tucson models also come with either a full-hybrid or a plug-in hybrid engine. Again, the standard hybrid is the better choice if you don't have easy access to a charging point, while the plug-in can return a similar 30-mile range to the Kuga on a full charge. Hyundai's electrified engines are more powerful than the Ford's, however, shaving roughly a second from the 0-62mph time, although their automatic gearboxes can be a little dimwitted occasionally when caught between balancing electric and petrol power.


Ford Kuga vs Hyundai Tucson front three quarter 2
Ford Kuga (left) vs Hyundai Tucson (right)

The driving experience of both cars is, to an extent, defined by the engine you choose. Pick either car's regular petrol engine option and the driving experience is generally pretty polished. This is especially true for the Kuga with its 1.5-litre petrol engine – a setup that means both deft, responsive handling and a composed ride that won't leave your passengers reaching for sick bags. The Tucson, in comparison, isn't quite as entertaining on a twisty road, with more of a roly-poly old-fashioned SUV feel, but it's still easy and predictable.

Where the driving experience falls down a little for both cars, is when you introduce the hybrid engines. These bring with them heavy battery packs mounted under the boot floor, adding more than a few slices of cake to the cars' kerb weights. Acceleration isn't too badly affected thanks to their healthy combined horsepower figures, but handling and ride quality suffers in both cars. There's more of a sense of weight shifting from side to side as you change direction, and a hard edge to the suspension over bumps as the setup copes with the extra mass.

Value and reliability

Ford Kuga vs Hyundai Tucson rear seats
Ford Kuga (left) vs Hyundai Tucson (right)

If you're looking at nearly new models only, there's little to split the prices of these two cars. There's usually only around £1,000 difference in it – just a few dozen pounds per month – with the Ford usually coming out as the slightly more affordable option once you've accounted for engine, spec, age and mileage.

However, the current-shape Kuga has been on sale for a little longer than the Tucson, which means the entry point into the range is lower, with plenty of options ducking below the £20,000 range. This is a price point the current Tucson hasn't quite reached, so you'll need to spend more to shop the most up-to-date versions.

Neither car has raised any concerns about reliability and both should return years of reliable service if you keep up with scheduled maintenance. Be aware, however, that the Hyundai enjoys a five-year factory warranty against the Ford's standard three-year coverage period. Regardless of which car you choose, you can add an extended warranty when you buy either as a used car, which protects you from the cost of unexpected mechanical or electrical failures.

Which is best?

Ford Kuga vs Hyundai Tucson rear three quarters
Ford Kuga (left) vs Hyundai Tucson (right)

These two cars are so close that there isn't really a 'loser' here. If you prefer either car, you'll almost certainly be happy with it once its parked outside your house. That said, we think buyers that lean towards the Ford will probably be swayed by its driving experience, which is both more entertaining than the Tucson's as well as being a little more comfortable, too. Those on a slightly tighter budget might also pick the blue-oval car because there are more options available at a lower price point.

Those that prefer the Tucson, however, will probably be won over by its more obvious sense of style both inside and out. Its infotainment setup looks and feels more high-tech, and the cabin ambiance is generally a little more plush and upmarket than the Ford. Buyers after one of the fuel-sipping hybrid options might prefer the extra grunt offered by the Hyundai's electrified engines.

Shop used Ford Kuga or used Hyundai Tucson cars at Motorpoint – buy with confidence thanks to our Price Promise and range of flexible finance options. Read our full Ford Kuga review and Hyundai Tucson review to find out what these cars are like to live with or, for more options, check out the best family SUVs on sale.