It is based on the same platform as the Ford Focus, and offers decent front- and rear passenger space, good handling and gutsy, economical diesel engines.
However, the Kuga's swooping roofline restricts headroom in the back, while rear legroom is also cramped. The 360-litre boot is smaller than the Focuss, but a useful split tailgate is included in the generous list of standard equipment.
Most used Kugas will come with the smooth and punchy 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, which is more than at home in city traffic, and offers a good turn of speed when required.
There's also a 197bhp 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol that's available with four-wheel-drive only. This provides hot hatch-like performance, but is very thirsty with average economy of just 28.5mpg and is extremely rare on the used market.
The diesel engine makes a much better proposition, with either a two- or four-wheel-drive versions available. The four-wheel-drive car offers average economy of 44.1mpg and CO2 emissions of 169g/km CO2 improving to 47.1mpg and 159g/km after mid-2010 while the front-wheel-drive version does 46.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 159g/km (47.9mpg and 156g/km CO2 after mid-2010). These figures compare favourably with those of similarly powered rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai.
However, its low ground clearance means the Kuga was never intended to be a fully fledged off-roader, so we recommend the more agile front-wheel-drive version, which went on sale towards the end of 2008.
Overall, the cabin feels like a pretty reasonable place to be, even if some of the materials look a little cheap compared with those of rivals. Nevertheless, the interior has proved it can endure the rigours of family life.
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 an all-leather interior, look for the rare Titanium X pack. This version also adds a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats and an electrically adjustable drivers seat.
Don't pay a premium for used cars with the optional sat-nav system fitted, because the touch-screen unit is fiddly and awkward to read.
The most common problem with the Kuga is a clogged particulate filter. This could lead to expensive replacement work for cars with an expired warranty.
There has been just one recall to date and this 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.
We found these on the forecourt
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Zetec 4WD
'08/58, 54,000 miles, 9950
JB Specialist Cars
Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Zetec 2WD
'09/59, 35,100 miles, 11,495