What's the used Ford Kuga 4x4 like?
The first-generation Ford Kuga was a stylish car that was generally well-received. Some, though, thought that it prioritised design a little too highly above function for a hotly contested class that included the likes of the iconic Nissan Qashqai.
This second-generation car was designed to be sold in North America too, and is, therefore, bigger, more upmarket and competes against a whole new class of larger SUVs and 4x4s than the old model. It ran from 2013 until it was replaced by an all-new model in 2020.
Early examples of the Kuga can be found with a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine, this being replaced in 2016 by a smaller 1.5-litre. The entry-level 1.5 TDCi diesel engine may be small in size, but should have enough grunt for most people. If you regularly have a full car though, the 2.0-litre 150 is especially good. There's the choice of a six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic gearboxes on most versions, as well as front or four-wheel drive. All combinations are solid and eager performers.
There are plenty of trim levels to choose from, too. Entry-level Zetec models offer all of the essentials; air-con, electric windows and cruise control are all standard, although we would be tempted to look for a car fitted with the optional 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system. Moving up to Titanium brings a few niceties, 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 and feature a bodykit, sports suspension, 18in wheels, black detailing for the outside, floor mats with red piping and a self-parking system. The latter not only brings front and rear parking sensors, but also means the Kuga can steer itself into a parallel parking spot.
The range-topping Vignale version arrived in 2016 and adds 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.
Where the Kuga really surprises is in its ride and handling, both of which are accomplished to the level where it feels more like a hatchback than an SUV of old, with good body control and agility and neat absorption of bigger bumps and road irregularities. Patched up town roads can cause it to shimmer slightly, but on the whole, occupants will be comfortable.
Looking the sizeable exterior dimensions of the Kuga, you'd be forgiven for expecting a spacious interior. However, it is soundly beaten by the Tardis-like Seat Ateca according to our measurements for both front and rear seat room. What's more, the use of some scratchy plastics means it doesn't feel as well made as the Ateca or Mazda CX-5 inside. The boot is a good size, but one or two in this class have a larger capacity.
What used Ford Kuga 4x4 will I get for my budget?
Prices for an early 2013 Kuga start at around £5000, at the time of writing, but we think it’d be wise to up the ante to around £8000 for a 2015 example. Upwards of £10,000 will secure a good 2017 car, and from £13,000 upwards you’ll be able to find a 2019 model. Spend around £16,000 to £18,000 for a run-out 2020 car.
Check the value of a used Ford Kuga with What Car? Valuations
How much does it cost to run a Ford Kuga 4x4?
The front-wheel-drive 1.5 TDCi diesel-engined Kuga is the most economical in the range, with a combined figure of 54.3mpg, under the NEDC fuel test procedure that was relevant at the time. The 2.0 TDCi diesel is not far behind at 47.9mpg. The best-performing petrol-engined Kuga is the 1.5 Ecoboost 120 in Zetec trim, with a combined result of 45.6mpg, although getting the more powerful 182bhp one with four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox lowers this to 37.7mpg. Mind you, that's still better than an equivalently equipped Kuga using the older 1.6-litre engine that uses fuel at a rate of 36.7mpg.
Avoid both the older 1.6-litre or four-wheel-drive equipped 1.5-litre petrols; these two have high emissions of 179g/km and 171g/km, respectively. The front-wheel drive 1.5 is much more reasonable at 143g/km. Early examples of the 2.0-litre diesel emitted 139g/km, but revisions in 2014 saw that drop to 122g/km. However, the Kuga with the lowest CO2 figure is the entry-level 1.5-litre diesel, with a figure of 115g/km.
Cars registered before April 2017 will be charged annual car tax based on their CO2 emissions, which obviously vary throughout the range. Owners of cars registered after that date will be liable for a flat rate fee. This is currently £155 a year. To find out more about the current road tax costs, click here.
Ford servicing costs are usually pretty reasonable and you can keep the costs down even further by opting for an Essential's service for £169 once the car is outside of its manufacturer's warranty period.
A significant number of Kuga owners have enjoyed a trouble-free experience, praising its reliability. Conversely, a portion of our readers have encountered persistent engine and electrical issues, necessitating frequent dealer visits. This inconsistency extends to dealer service experiences, with feedback split between dissatisfaction over repair delays and costs, and positive remarks on the professionalism and helpfulness of dealership staff.
Discover more about used Ford Kuga reliability and common problems on our dedicated reliability page.
Which used Ford Kuga 4x4 should I buy?
The entry-level 1.5 TDCi diesel engine may be small in size, but it should have enough grunt for most people.
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 look for a car with the optional 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system.
Our favourite Ford Kuga: 1.5 TDCi Zetec
What alternatives should I consider to a used Ford Kuga 4x4?
The Mazda CX-5 is one of our very favourite SUVs. It’s good to drive, with tidy handling and a range of flexible engines. It’s also very well equipped, and an excellent value used buy.
The Skoda Kodiaq is larger than the Ford Kuga and can seat seven people. It’s decent to drive and is cheaper to run than most rivals. It’s not the fastest, or the best equipped, but it’s a capacious family SUV that represents good value.