2013 Ford Kuga range

* Our verdict on the new Ford Kuga range * Two petrols and two diesels available * Priced from 20,900, on sale now...

2013 Ford Kuga range review

The 2013 Ford Kuga is an all-new version of Ford's SUV, and the latest model in the company's line-up to go global; it's sold in Europe, Asia and North America in pretty much the same form.

It has been re-engineered from the ground up, and is both longer and roomier inside than the model it replaces.

The latest Kuga also gets a bold new look, 96 litres more boot space and a selection of new features, including a kick-operated tailgate.

What's the 2013 Ford Kuga like to drive?
There are four engine options available in the UK (two petrols and two diesels) and we've driven them all; Ford expects the higher-powered diesel to be the biggest seller.

This 161bhp 2.0-litre unit is carried over from the previous Kuga and is generally smooth. There's some noise from it when you put your foot down, but it never becomes overly intrusive.

The model isn't especially quick, with 0-62mph taking 9.9 seconds, but it pulls strongly and smoothly, so isn't fazed by hills or heavy loads.

You can also get a 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which is nearly a second slower from 0-62mph, but in most situations it doesn't feel appreciably slower because it has exactly the same amount of torque.

There are two 1.6 turbo petrol engines available, which produce either 148bhp or 178bhp. The lower-powered version is strong enough to cope with motorway driving and is fairly quiet.

However, while the 161bhp diesel can be specified with a dual-clutch gearbox, the 178bhp petrol is available only with a conventional and sluggish six-speed automatic transmission.

This 'box allows the engine revs to rise too quickly and is continually hunting around for the best gear to be in, which spoils the experience of the otherwise quiet and punchy engine.


Overall refinement across the range is good, although some wind noise is noticeable around the sides of the car and the door mirrors.

The Kuga has pleasingly sharp steering, but its agility is undermined by the large amount of body roll it suffers when cornering at speed. This new version doesn't feel as nimble or sporty as its predecessor.

Instead, the new Kuga has a more mature, family-friendly feel than the outgoing car, and that extends to the ride, which is reasonably composed on the more powerful versions.

The entry-level petrol engine is the lightest car in the range, and this version can be slightly fidgety over broken surfaces and drain covers in town.

You do hear some suspension thud over sharper bumps in all models, but comfort rarely suffers.


What's the 2013 Ford Kuga like inside?
One of the biggest problems with the previous Kuga was its small boot, but capacity has increased from 360 litres to 456 litres for the new model. The space is well shaped, too, and there's no entry-lip to load items over.

Just bear in mind that you only get all this extra space if you go for a tyre repair kit; stick with the standard spare wheel and there's 406 litres, which is still a long way behind the space offered by most rivals.

The rear seats drop in one easy movement, although they don't fold completely flat - there's a pronounced step between the cabin and boot and it's a shame there's no Mazda CX-5-style handle that lets you lower them from the boot.

The rear passengers get a decent amount of legroom, although there's not enough to let a six-foot adult slouch. A low central tunnel provides decent space for a middle passenger's feet, and headroom is good in both the front and rear, as long as you avoid the optional sunroof.


Up front, the dashboard is remarkably similar to a Focus's, and shares most of the same switchgear. It's smart enough, but the centre console is too fussy, and many of the buttons are small and poorly labelled. The infotainment system is fiddly, too, and the sat-nav screen is small compared with that of the previous model.

The large, square door mirrors provide a good view of the road behind, although over-the-shoulder visibility is less impressive because the Kuga's thick rear pillars block much of your view.

Standard kit includes everything you're likely to need, including a Bluetooth, cruise control, alloys, electric windows and air-conditioning.


Should I buy one?
If your heart is set on the Ford Kuga range, the entry-level petrol makes most sense for private buyers; it looks like good value thanks to its low price tag and decent amount of kit.

Company car users will prefer the 138bhp diesel. Unless you really need a 4x4, stick with two-wheel-drive transmission and a manual gearbox in this version which will reward you with the lowest CO2 emissions in the range.

However, while the new Ford Kuga has addressed some of the problems suffered by the previous version, it doesn't go far enough and, unlike its predecessor, it's not especially enjoyable to drive.

The similarly priced Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are both more practical, and better all-rounders.

What Car? says...

Honda CR-V
Mazda CX-5

Read the current Ford Kuga review >>



Engine size 1.6-litre turbo petrol
Price from 20,900
Power 148bhp
Torque 177lb ft
0-62mph 9.7 seconds
Top speed 121mph
Fuel economy 42.8mpg
CO2 154g/km

Engine size 2.0-litre turbodiesel
Price from 21,900
Power 138bhp
Torque 251lb ft
0-62mph 10.6 seconds
Top speed 118mph
Fuel economy 53.3mpg
CO2 139g/km

Engine size 1.6-litre turbo petrol
Price from 24,655
Power 178bhp
Torque 177lb ft
0-62mph 9.7 seconds
Top speed 124mph
Fuel economy 36.7mpg
CO2 179g/km

Engine size 2.0-litre turbodiesel
Price from 25,550
Power 161bhp
Torque 251lb ft
0-62mph 9.9 seconds
Top speed 123mph
Fuel economy 47.9mpg
CO2 154g/km

By Tom Webster and Ed Callow