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Expert Review

Ford Kuga SUV (2019 - ) review

With a plug-in hybrid option as well as the regular petrol and diesel options, the Ford Kuga adds affordable running costs to an already appealing proposition

The Auto Trader expert verdict:

3.5

Available new from £26,795

A mid-sized SUV offering a plug-in hybrid version alongside mild-hybrid and petrol and diesel engines. Good practicality and comfort, and the best driving experience in this sector.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickGood plug-in hybrid version
  • tickSatisfying to drive
  • tickLots of space

At a glance:

Running costs for a Ford Kuga

The new Kuga offers excellent value for money no matter which version you choose, which is unusual. The petrol versions are attractively priced compared with many competitors, while the plug-in hybrid undercuts many of its plug-in rivals. The monthly finance prices are attractive for a mid-sized SUV, no matter which version you go for. And don’t forget that if you go for the plug-in hybrid and you’re a business user, you’ll benefit hugely from the Benefit In Kind (or BIK) rules for electrified cars, which tax based on CO2 emissions and electric-only range. As the Kuga is efficient on both counts, BIK payments will be ultra-low. On top of all that, if you only usually do short runs around town, and are religious about plugging in your Kuga every night to charge, you’ll see running costs of about 3p-4p a mile versus 8p-12p per mile for the petrol or diesel offerings. Really, if running costs are your priority, it’s the plug-in hybrid for you.
Expert rating: 5/5

Reliability of a Ford Kuga

Ford as a brand normally comes mid-table in most of the reliability surveys. This Kuga is new, and the plug-in hybrid system doesn’t have many miles under its belt, so we’ll hold fire, taking the average Ford rankings as our marker. A three-year/60,000-mile warranty comes as standard and is the industry average, while the plug-in hybrid’s battery is covered for eight years/100,000 miles.
Expert rating: 3/5

Safety for a Ford Kuga

Ford offers average standard safety packages on its cars. Lane-keeping and automatic emergency braking both come as standard but you have to pay extra, via the Driver’s Assistance Pack, to get blind-spot recognition, which is normally included as standard in similar cars. The pack also gives you adaptive cruise control and traffic-sign recognition. On top of that, the Kuga is a high-riding beast, with good forward visibility, which is especially useful in built-up urban streets.
Expert rating: 3/5

How comfortable is the Ford Kuga

There is lots of space for passengers’ heads and legs in the Kuga but not so much in the boot. If you go for Vignale or ST Line X trim, you’ll get an electric tailgate where you can wave your foot under the bumper to make it open. There are generous and deep cubby holes scattered round the cabin for large or bulky items, which is welcome. As with all Fords, it feels well assembled when you’re driving, with little road noise and a smooth ride. However, as with all Fords, there is a little too much hard, dark plastic for our liking. Again, competitors such as Peugeot have really moved the game on with pale grey fabrics, cool colours and light trim.
Expert rating: 4/5

Features of the Ford Kuga

We’ve never liked the Ford Sync infotainment system. It works well enough but the graphics are very dull and functional rather than desirable. Competitors including Peugeot, VW and Mazda have all pulled ahead in the design and usability of their systems, with slick, beautiful, delicate designs. If you pay more for a higher trim level, you’ll get the larger (12.3in) digital display. Otherwise it’s an 8in touchscreen that sits perched awkwardly above the dash, and some big buttons, which we prefer to everything on a touchscreen. Android Auto and CarPlay are included as standard and there’s a wireless phone-charging pad, which is a great addition.
Expert rating: 3/5

Power for a Ford Kuga

The plug-in hybrid is our pick of the bunch. It has a 2.5-litre petrol engine and electric motor, giving a combined kick of just over 200 horsepower; plenty for a family SUV (although the Volvo Recharge family has ultra-pokey performance). In electric mode, the Kuga will travel up to 35 miles and we got 30 miles before we bottled it and charged it, which is very good for a large, heavy car. Otherwise, there are two petrol (Ecoboost) engines (called 120 and 150) and three diesel (Ecoblue) engines to choose from, and a very pleasing rotary automatic gearbox selector. But that plug-in hybrid has got us hooked.
Expert rating: 3/5

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