Ford Kuga Review 2024

Ford Kuga At A Glance

3/5
Honest John Overall Rating
Well-equipped, competitively priced, a good amount of space and with a decent plug-in hybrid option, the Ford Kuga is now one of the most rounded family SUVs you can buy.

+Good looking family SUV comes with a decent amount of standard kit and is keenly priced. The plug-in hybrid comes with a 35-mile electric-only range.

-We reckon the interior finish could be a bit nicer, while the boot isn't as big as some rivals. Ford's dropped the diesel from the range and the infotainment interface looks dated.

New prices start from £35,045
Insurance Groups are between 3–22
On average it achieves 0% of the official MPG figure

With the third-generation model, Ford looks like it's finally got the recipe right with the Kuga. It's certainly one of the best family SUVs going and we'll explain all in our Ford Kuga review. 

The previous generation Kuga was not really a match for established rivals, but the new Ford Kuga has been given a serious overhaul to take on rivals like the Volkswagen Tiguan, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4

Initially launching with diesel, petrol, hybrid and plug-in hybrid engine options, Ford's since dropped the diesel engine from the range. The focus is certainly on the hybrid options and the third-generation Kuga is the first to offer a plug-in hybrid option with an electric-only range of up to 35 miles. While you can't ignore the extra weight of the big battery you need to lug around on longer journeys that'll impact fuel economy, for those who do regular short trips it could prove very economical. 

The styling is quite a departure from the older car, with the design taking an influence from other cars in the Ford range, including the Puma and Focus. It certainly looks a lot sharper for it and if you were to glance it out of the corner of your eye, we reckon you might even think it was an Aston Martin DBX in the right light. 

While the Puma very much fits in the small SUV space, the larger dimensions of the Kuga (it measures 4614mm long, 1883mm wide and 1666m high) mean it's an SUV intended for the rigours of family life and the baggage that comes with it. 

That means there's a good amount of space in the cabin of the Kuga whether you're up front or in the back. The sliding bench seats in the back mean you can easily fit a couple of adults in the back if needed, while there's ample space for a couple of kids and the necessary car seats. Boot space isn't as impressive as some rivals (with the sliding rear bench seat slid forward you get 645 litres of boot space, though that drops to 581 litres with the Kuga PHEV). Reality is though that it'll easily swallow most things for a family holiday. Or a couple of kids bikes or an adult road bike with the wheels off. 

If you can look past the fairly dated looking SYNC 3 infotainment system (made easier by the fact that both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trim levels) then the Kuga is very easy to get to grips with. While it might not look as slick as the buttonless central consoles that some rivals sport (and the materials could definitely be better in the Kuga), we really like the amount of physical controls on the dash. It just makes life so much easier when you're on the move. 

In typical Ford fashion, the Kuga will be available in a range of trim levels to suit every buyer - including Vignale, ST-Line and Titanium variants. That's not forgetting the entry-level Zetec trim that kicks off the range at £28,755. Our preference would be the Kuga in ST-Line trim - there's an excellent bundle of standard equipment while the sportier bodykit gives the car a bit more edge. 

We lived with a Kuga PHEV for six months - find out how we got on with it in our Ford Kuga long term test. Why not get a second opinion with heycar's Ford Kuga review.  

Ask Honest John

Is there a hybrid that doesn't have a noisy CVT gearbox?

"I want to buy a comfortable SUV style if possible car, I have owned a Yaris Cross 4WD and A RAV 4 AWD both new in last three years, although I liked both machines I find the CVT noisy in both and also the Yaris a little bit hard on suspension. What could you suggest for a comfortable SUV style car hybrid that is not as noisy as the CVT on a Toyota?"
Unfortunately there are very few full hybrids that are not fitted with a CVT transmission. There are several mild hybrids such as the Ford Puma, Kia Stonic and Sportage and Hyundai Tucson that are available with a manual gearbox, but they do not offer the pure electric driving mode of a full hybrid. The Ford Kuga Hybrid and Toyota RAV4 are fitted with a power split transmission that reduces the high-revving effect when accelerating, which may suit your requirements.
Answered by David Ross

My Kuga PHEV has a CVT gearbox, are there problems with them?

"I bought a 12 month old Ford Kuga PHEV recently and am very impressed with the automatic transmission which I believe is a CVT box? It's very smooth and quiet. But these CVT boxes seem to have a bit of a controversial reputation. Should I be worried?"
The Ford Kuga features a power split automatic transmission which eliminates the droning sound often experienced in conventional CVT gearboxes, which is the most common issues that owners complain about. This is still a relatively new model and so far we have not seen any reports of problems with this gearbox, so hopefully you can continue to enjoy it for years to come.
Answered by David Ross

Is having only one fog light an MoT failure?

"I own a Ford Kuga Titanium PHEV and during its second service the Ford garage found that one of the lamps was not working and asked if I wanted to have the problem investigated at a cost of £105 (they stated that the rear bumper would have to be removed in order to do the investigation). They also stated that it would be an MoT failure. Can you confirm the laws/rules regarding rear fog lamps and if it is an MoT failure? I have noticed that certain cars have only one rear fog lamp together with one reversing lamp."
The MoT guidelines state any car made after 1st April 1980 must have one rear fog lamp, either mounted centrally or to the offside. If your offside fog lamp is functioning then this should pass, but if it is not then this would be an MoT failure. You can view the MoT guidelines on the government website here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mot-inspection-manual-for-private-passenger-and-light-commercial-vehicles/4-lamps-reflectors-and-electrical-equipment#section-4-5-1
Answered by David Ross

Should the Ford Kuga come with an engine cover?

"I have just purchased a 2021 Ford Kuga and noted that the engine cover that fits on top of the engine is missing. I have informed the dealership and the salesperson I dealt with states he has been informed by his manager that some models came without a cover. Looking at the top of the engine there are nylon studs and a couple of threaded connections. The white studs have all the marks of something having been pulled off, and the threads are shiny clean. This makes me think that the cover was there and was removed recently. The engine top also looks untidy and exposed. I have emailed the salesperson with a couple of images of the engine, together with my concerns. I am concerned that I completed the purchase and took delivery on the 4th April and wonder if I need to do anything else by a certain time period."
Unfortunately the manager at the dealer is correct, as Kugas from 2021 onwards were produced without engine covers, most likely as a cost-saving measure. Removing the studs and threads that the engine cover sits on would wipe out any cost saving, which is why your car still has them even though a cover isn't fitted. Also most modern engines are quite unsightly because they are designed to be hidden by an engine cover, so this is nothing to be concerned about. It also won't affect the operation of your Kuga, other than potentially being fractionally noisier without one. The upside is that as your Kuga has never had an engine cover fitted you won't notice it being any noisier, and if you wanted to you could purchase an engine cover relatively cheaply, especially if you go for a used one. You may feel a little short-changed by this, but the reality is that all car manufacturers make small unannounced changes to vehicles in order to shave a few pence off the cost of production, it's just that usually they are hard to spot.
Answered by David Ross
More Questions

What does a Ford Kuga cost?