Ford Kuga version picks:
- Most sensible: Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Titanium
- Most fun: Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi 180 ST-Line AWD
- Don’t bother: Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi 180 Powershift Vignale
- Must-have tech: Rear parking sensors on Zetec, foot-operated tailgate
Everyone’s climbing aboard the SUV bandwagon – even Ford, says the Telegraph. Still, it accepts the car maker has history here since this is the second-generation Kuga. It joins the smaller EcoSport and the larger Edge in the company’s SUV range. Perhaps the newspaper thinks people can’t see beyond its top-selling hatchbacks.
They should, says Carbuyer. ‘The recent facelift has given the Kuga a much meaner and more modern appearance,’ it says. Maybe, but according to Auto Express it’s ‘much the same as before’ – which means its decent to drive but not the most engaging in the class, and has plenty of kit and some capable diesel engines.
On that last point Carbuyer rates the mid-power 148bhp 2.0-litre, with its 60.1mpg economy. Its pick of the petrols is the same-power 148bhp 2.0-litre. It returns 44.8mpg but can go from 0-62mph in ‘a brisk 9.7 seconds’.
What Car? says Ford builds ‘some of the best-handling cars on the planet’ but the Kuga isn’t one of them. It feels fidgety and its steering is too keen to self-centre. Forget the sports suspension and stick with the regular set-up, it advises. Ride comfort is decent, though.
‘There’s acres of space inside,’ says the Telegraph. The back seat is very wide and the car is easy to get in and out of. However, the price of all that room is a small boot: ‘The Honda CR-V offers considerably more space, whether the seats are up or down.’
Auto Express says the much newer Seat Ateca and Peugeot 3008 have more interesting interiors that make the Kuga’s look ‘ugly and dated.’ It likes the SYNC3 voice-control infotainment system, though. Of the six trims, upmarket Titanium gets the thumbs-up from Carbuyer while Auto Express advises ‘avoiding’ top-spec Vignale and expensive four-wheel-drive versions.
So, a 148bhp 2.0 TDCi in Titanium trim sounds the way to go. Discounts of 11% are easy to secure but do try rivals first.
Ford Kuga Rivals:
The CR-V is easy to drive, practical and well built, and available with a frugal 1.6-litre diesel engine. However, it’s on the pricey side and some entry-level models aren’t very well equipped. What’s more, it’s not especially fun to drive.
The car that kickstarted today’s SUV love affair is still about the best in the class. It has a thoughtfully designed cabin, good ride and handling, and efficient engines. Top-spec versions are expensive, though, and the auto is a noisy CVT.
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A seven-year warranty, some keen prices, a spacious cabin, and well equipped; there’s not much wrong with the Sportage. Look closer, though, and it’s not much fun to drive, running costs are average and the diesel engine is unrefined.
With its keen handling, good grip and minimal body roll in corners, the CX-5 is good to drive. It’s stylish and well-equipped, too, but it’s not as roomy or practical as newer rivals such as the Renault Kadjar.
Best review: Carbuyer – Score: 3.2/5
Ford Kuga (2008-13)
Some critics reckon this first-gen version of Ford’s mid-size SUV is better to drive. The 2.0 TDCi is punchy and economical, and there’s a useful split tailgate. Interior versatility is not as good as rivals but keen secondhand prices should be sufficient compensation.