Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Ford Kuga is the one for company car drivers to go for because of its low emissions. It pairs a 2.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and battery pack for an official electric-only range of up to 39 miles (31 miles in our real-world testing). The motor is powerful enough to get you up to motorway speeds, or it can work with the engine to deliver 0-60mph in a respectable 8.6sec. That's only marginally slower than the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sorento in PHEV form.
The 2.5 FHEV (full hybrid) is a better choice if you're buying privately. It can pootle around for short distances without using the engine and can tow 1600kg – virtually the same as a four-wheel drive Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.
ST-Line trim comes with stiffer sports suspension, causing the Kuga to follow the contours of the road more closely. That leads to a busier ride at low speeds, but it’s far from intolerable, and at motorway speeds it settles down far better than the Tucson. It might not suit everyone, though, and it’s worth avoiding versions with larger 20-inch wheels, which will make it worse.
The steering is very quick, which makes the Kuga feel eager to turn into corners, but it has a consistent desire to self-centre. It's a gentle sensation but an unnatural one, and doesn't help to put you at ease while guiding the car through quicker turns that require a deft touch.