Ford Kuga (2013 – 2020) Review

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Ford Kuga (2013 – 2020) At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
Even though the facelift helped, the Kuga is looking a little tired, especially in the context of newer models. It remains the choice for keen drivers, but if you’re after more comfort and the latest technology, you should probably look elsewhere.

+Class-leading handling, practical and spacious interior, plenty of examples to choose from.

-Firmer ride than most rival, only the Vignale feels upmarket, pre-facelift version looks dated.

Insurance Groups are between 15–27
On average it achieves 77% of the official MPG figure

The Ford Kuga is one of the UK’s most popular family SUVs. It’s not hard to see why, because it’s as good to drive as a hatchback, as spacious as an estate car, and there’s a Ford dealer in most towns and cities. Launched in 2012, and facelifted in 2016, the Kuga takes on cars such as the Vauxhall Grandland X and Peugeot 3008, but few competitors can touch the Ford in terms of driver appeal. The ST-Line edition does a great impression of a hot hatchback, while the Vignale edges the Kuga into premium territory.

Looking for a Ford Kuga (2013 - 2020)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Launched in 2012, the Kuga enjoyed a long innings as Ford’s most popular family SUV, eventually bowing out when the all-new model arrived in 2020. Thanks to a facelift in 2016, the Kuga remained relevant in a fiercely competitive segment, rivalling the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and Vauxhall Grandland X.

If we were looking for a unique selling point, we’d say it’s the way the Ford Kuga drives. It feels as sharp and precise as the Focus hatchback, making this the ideal SUV for drivers who enjoy a spirited run along a British B-road. The penalty for the sharp handling is a rather firm ride, with the Kuga lacking the cushion-soft suspension of some of its rivals.

Front- and four-wheel-drive variants are available, along with a choice of gearboxes. We’d favour the six-speed manual gearbox, primarily because it’s sweet-shifting, but also because the automatic transmission robs the engines of power and puts a dent in the fuel economy.

Speaking of engines, the Ecoboost petrol units should be avoided, as they’re not as efficient as the modern breed of small turbocharged engines.

Even the 2.0-litre TDCi diesel is a little lacking in the economy stakes, which makes the 1.5-litre TDCi the best option when buying a Kuga. It was added to the range as part of the 2016 facelift, which also saw a significant styling overhaul and a much-improved infotainment system.

Inside, the cabin is hard-wearing and robust, but you won’t find much in the way of soft-touch plastics and plush materials. We’d also argue that the dashboard is a little cluttered, although the Kuga makes up for it in terms of equipment.

Avoid the Zetec model, but other trim levels boast the kind of kit you’d expect from a family SUV. The Titanium models are the most popular, but the ST-Line trim offers cosmetic upgrades to match its lowered suspension.

There’s also a plush Vignale trim, which edges the Ford Kuga into premium territory. Smarter exterior styling combines with a more upmarket interior to give the Kuga a genuine luxury feel. Although it was too expensive when new, heavy depreciation means that it makes more sense on the used market.

Although prices start from £6,000, we’d up the budget to £11,000 to secure a facelifted model. Not only does the styling look more contemporary, you also have the option of the 1.5-litre diesel engine, not to mention the improved infotainment system. Pre-facelift versions have to make do with a system that seems woefully dated in 2020.

Boot space is excellent, making this one of the most practical cars in its class. There’s seating for five in the cabin, with the Kuga offering class-leading levels of headroom. No wonder it proved to be so successful for Ford.

Ask Honest John

How far do I need to drive my car to charge its battery?
"My husband has a 2017 Ford Kuga automatic with i-stop but won't be able to drive it for 6 months. How far do I need to drive it to charge its battery? Which battery charger/conditioner would you recommend?"
It varies depending on how much charge is in your battery before you start driving and your driving style. On the motorway, it'll take 25-30 minutes to charge the battery. In a town or city, you'll need to double that timeframe. It would make more sense, if you can, to connect a battery conditioner - but this will require mains charging so you'd need a garage with power, or to connect it in the house through a window (with an extension cable) every now and then. The Kuga you mention has start-stop (i-stop), so I'd recommend this charger: https://amzn.to/3pDDuhB If you don't have an Amazon account, I believe it's also available at Halfords.
Answered by Georgia Petrie
We do 10,000 miles per year. Can you recommend a suitable 4WD SUV?
"My wife and I have a 2015 Ford Kuga, which we are looking to replace it in the not too distant future. We enjoy the ride height and the practicalities of four wheel drive and we do not want an electric car or a plug-in hybrid. At the moment, we've been used to a manual gearbox but are aware that auto boxes are more prevalent. We don't cover as many miles as we used to, probably about 10,000 miles a year, if that. Does this negate the use of a diesel?"
A modern diesel needs at least 15-miles (per journey) to keep the DPF healthy. If your driving does not accommodate for this, I would recommend a petrol. Perhaps something like the Mazda CX-30: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/mazda/cx-30-2020
Answered by Dan Powell
Where do I find the switch to deactivate the passenger airbag?
"I've recently purchased a 2013 Ford Kuga. There's no passenger air bag switch in either the glovebox or the end of the console (there is an indent where one would be fitted though). Am I missing something? Does it even have one fitted? Thanks in advance."
The car has a passenger airbag but some early models of the Ford Kuga were never fitted with a switch to deactivate it (it was an optional extra). If there is no switch in the glovebox or on the dashboard then you will not be able to deactivate it. This means you will have to use the rear sears to carry a baby seat.
Answered by Dan Powell
What reasonably-priced battery charger do you recommend?
"What's a reasonably-priced battery charger for a Ford Kuga? I'm looking for one as a back-up during the current Covid-19 lockdown where the use of cars is restricted."
I'd have a look at Amazon and other online retailers to see what the best value options are with the highest ratings from customers. We recommend NOCO Genius and C-TEK chargers as they're very reputable, good quality and we've tested them, but they can cost a premium. Amazon often hosts deals, so the best value options change day to day. Just make sure you read your owner's manual before you undertake any charging. If you've not got a handbook, give customer services a ring. Manufacturers, for the most part, say they won't cover damage incurred by incorrectly charging batteries. Some carmakers flat out tell customers not to undertake battery charging outside of a workshop. Read our battery charging advice and full outline of what carmakers are advising here: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-will-trickle-charging-or-jump-starting-your-cars-battery-invalidate-the-warranty/
Answered by Georgia Petrie

What does a Ford Kuga (2013 – 2020) cost?

Buy new from £22,277 (list price from £26,400)