Ford Kuga (2013 – 2020) Review
Ford Kuga (2013 – 2020) At A Glance
If you're looking for the newer version, you need our Ford Kuga review.
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.
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. It's now a great used SUV buy.
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.