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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Good looks; strong diesel engine; well equipped

Against Cramped inside; small boot; lots of wind- and road noise

Verdict Stylish, but fails to deliver on practicality

Go for… 2.0-litre 2WD TDCi Zetec

Avoid… 2.5-litre 4WD Petrol

Ford Kuga Crossover
  • 1. The Kuga was launched in 2008, as Ford’s answer to cars such as the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan
  • 2. Most come with Ford’s smooth and punchy 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which is happy to trundle along in city traffic, but provides a good turn of speed when required
  • 3. The 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine is fast, but thirsty, and is rare on the used market
  • 4. There's little difference in the fuel economy figures between the two- and four-wheel-drive versions.
  • 5. There are few consistent issues, such as the particle filter clogging up.
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Ford Kuga Crossover full review with expert trade views

The Kuga was launched in 2008, as Ford’s answer to cars such as the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan. However, it was also pitched against conventional 4x4s such as the Honda CR-V.

The Kuga's swooping roofline impinges on headroom in the back, while rear legroom is also cramped. Disappointingly, the 360-litre boot is smaller than the Focus’s, but a useful split-tailgate is included in the generous list of standard equipment.

The Kuga has a comfortable yet controlled ride, and while the steering is light and short on feel, it does make urban driving a lot more hassle-free. However, there’s too much road- and wind noise for the Kuga to be considered a good motorway cruiser. Safety is excellent, though, with a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating, as well as side- and curtain airbags.

Trade view

The Kuga is not designed as a proper 4x4 – so stick with the more agile two-wheel-drive diesel version.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Most used Kugas come with Ford’s smooth and punchy 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is happy to trundle along in city traffic, but provides a good turn of speed when required. There’s also a 163bhp version that's available with four-wheel-drive only. The 2.5-litre V6 petrol engine is fast, but thirsty, and is rare on the used market.

The petrol engine comes with a switchable four-wheel-drive system, while the diesel comes as either a two- or four-wheel-drive version. However, the car’s low ground clearance means it’s not intended to be a fully-fledged off-roader. We recommend the more agile front-wheel-drive version, which went on sale towards the end of 2008.

Zetec models come with alloys, air-con, keyless start and MP3 connectivity as standard, while Titanium trim adds automatic lights and wipers, cruise and climate controls, plus a part-leather interior. If you want your Kuga with a full leather interior, look for the rare Titanium X pack. This version also adds a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats and an electrically adjustable driver’s seat. Don't pay extra for cars with the optional sat-nav system, because the touchscreen unit is fiddly and awkward to read.

Trade view

It may look sporty, but that sloping roofline limits rear passenger space and the boot is on the small side.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

There's little difference in the fuel economy figures between the two- and four-wheel-drive versions. However, while fuel prices continue to climb and used buyers become more concerned with economy, the two-wheel-drive cars will hold their value better.

The two-wheel-drive diesel averages 46.3mpg and emits 159g/km of CO2 (47.9mpg and 156g/km after mid-2010), while the four-wheel-drive version isn’t far behind at 44.1mpg, and 169g/km (47.1mpg and 159g/km after mid-2010). This means the Kuga compares favorably with similarly powered rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan. The 2.5-litre petrol is disappointing in comparison, managing just 28.5mpg and 234g/km.

Insurance costs are about average for this class, with the Kuga sitting a few insurance groups higher than the equivalent Tiguan, but lower than the Honda CR-V. Servicing costs are among the lowest in the segment.

Trade view

The Kuga is not designed as a proper 4x4 – so stick with the more agile two-wheel-drive diesel version.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor

Because the Kuga is based on the Ford Focus we expect it to be similarly reliable – which is generally good.

There are few consistent issues, such as the particle filter clogging up. Replacing the filter out of warranty is an expensive job, so if your journey consists of many short, low-speed journeys, an occasional motorway run at high revs could help clear the problem.

The one recall to date affects 2.0-litre diesel models built before March 2009. The brake pedal can stiffen due to a faulty valve within the brake system. This could result in longer stopping distances if the brakes were applied too often at the beginning of a journey.

Trade view

It may look sporty, but that sloping roofline limits rear passenger space and the boot is on the small side.

Matt Sanger
What Car?'s Used Car Editor
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