At the lower end of the range, the Kuga seems reasonably priced; it isn't that much more expensive than smaller options, such as the Seat Ateca and Nissan Qashqai. However, if you want a gutsy engine and a healthy amount of standard kit, all of a sudden you're looking at an asking price broadly in line with the excellent Mazda CX-5 and Skoda Kodiaq.
Admittedly, the Kuga is available with some pretty tasty discounts if you're prepared to haggle, but the flipside of that is that it won't hold onto its value as well as its aforementioned rivals. As a company car, however, the Kuga does make more sense – particularly as a 1.5-litre diesel, but even as a 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel. The latter engine (with front-wheel drive) achieved a respectable 43.9mpg in our real-world True MPG test, although the equivalent Mazda CX-5 managed 47.4mpg.
Ford’s finance deals tend to be competitive, with low-interest contracts and dealer deposit contributions routinely available, and fixed-price servicing that can be split into monthly payments is available. Vignale models are available with preferential finance deals, making them almost as affordable as fully loaded Titanium models on a monthly basis.
Entry-level Zetec models offer the best value in the Kuga range because you get all of the essentials; air-con, electric windows and cruise control are all standard, although we would be tempted to pay extra for the optional 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system. Moving up to Titanium does bring a few niceties, though – such as the upgraded infotainment system, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, part-leather seats, and automatic lights and wipers.
ST-Line models are the sporty option so get a bodykit, sports suspension, 18in wheels, black detailing for the outside, floor mats with red piping and a self-parking system; this not only brings front and rear parking sensors, but also means the Kuga can steer itself into a parking spot.
The range-topping Vignale version gets perpendicular parking assist, a powered tailgate and adaptive xenon headlights as standard, as well as a liberal upholstering of Windsor leather on the seats, interior doors and dashboard. But for the price of a Vignale, much classier, quicker, more refined cars, such Land Rover Discovery Sport, BMW X1 and VW Tiguan are available.
Ford Kuga reliability
There’s little data to reveal how reliable the latest Kuga might be, but its predecessor – which shared some engines but few other components – was one of the most reliable cars in the class. Ford posted an average score in our most recent used car reliaiblity survey, though, behind Skoda, Kia, Vauxhall and Peugeot.
The combination of a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty and a year’s roadside assistance in the UK and Europe is merely average for this class, when alternatives such as the Kia Sportage offer a seven-year warranty as standard. You can extend the Kuga’s warranty to four years and 80,000 miles, or five years and 100,000 miles for a reasonable extra cost.
Buy a Kuga Vignale and you’ll get a car that goes through myriad extra quality checks after assembly than other Kugas, and which qualifies for better dealer aftercare; Ford will even collect and return your car before and after servicing it.
Ford Kuga safety & security
Some Kugas offer the reassurance of four-wheel drive, but all have are seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag. It is, however, very disappointing that you have to pay extra for automatic emergency braking on even the range-topping models, and it's pretty unforgivable you can't add this crucial safety aid on entry-level Zetec trim.
The Kuga scored the maximum five stars when it was put through the Euro NCAP crash test in 2012, with particularly strong scores for adult protection (94%) and child protection (86%). However, the Euro NCAP test is considerably tougher nowadays than it was back then, so it's impossible to say how well the Kuga will protect you compared with newer rivas.
An alarm and immobiliser are standard, and security expert Thatcham awarded the Kuga five stars (out of five) for its resistance to being stolen, and four out of five for guarding against being broken into.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
The entry-level trim gets all the essentials, including 17-inch alloys, air-con, hill-start assist, electric windows all round and cruise control. It’s our pick of the range, although we'd recommend forking out for the optional 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system
Stepping up to Titanium trim brings you dual-zone climate control, an upgraded infotainment system, rear parking sensors, part-leather seats and automatic lights and wipers. However, Zetec trim keeps the Kuga's price more tempting
The Kuga begins to feel posher when it gets to Titanium X, thanks to full leather trim and electrically adjustable, heated front seats. You also get a panoramic sunroof, a powered tailgate, powerful xenon headlights and 18in alloy wheels
ST-Line models are the sporty option so get a bodykit, sports suspension, 18in wheels, black detailing for the outside, floor mats with red piping and a self-parking system; this not only brings front and rear parking sensors, but also means the Kuga can steer itself into a parking spot. Too pricey to recommend, though
Like regular ST-Line trim, but with an adding panoramic roof, electrically adjustable and heated seats, bigger alloys, a powered tailgate and keyless entry. Far too pricey to recommend, though
The range-topping Vignale version gets powered seats, a hands-free powered tailgate and adaptive xenon headlamps as standard, as well as a liberal upholstering of Windsor leather on the seats. It's much smarter inside than other Kugas, but far too expensive to recommend