This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Ford Kuga (12-20) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Most buyers opt for the excellent 2.0-litre diesel that comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. The 136bhp unit is refined and comes with either two or four-wheel drive – although there’s virtually no difference in performance, both taking around ten and a half seconds to get from 0-62mph. The two-wheel drive is more efficient though – it averages 46mpg (2mpg better than the 4WD) and emits less CO2 making it cheaper to tax. The 161bhp turbodiesel offers 0-62mph in 9.6 seconds, 47.1mpg and 159g/km, but feels little quicker on the road.

Petrol engines

The petrol option – available several months after the diesel was launched – is a 2.5-litre turbocharged engine with 197bhp which will give strong Ford Kuga performance. It’s a version of the same engine that powered the previous Focus ST hot hatch, with similarly pleasing performance (0-62mph takes just 8.2 seconds), but isn’t very frugal with a fuel economy figure of 29mpg. The standard gearbox is a six-speed manual with a satisfyingly slick shift action, though many buyers of this model prefer the five-speed auto ’box.

Parkers recommends

The 2.0-litre turbodiesel with 138bhp and front-wheel drive offers the best economy, emissions and driving experience in the Ford Kuga.

The majority of modern compact 4x4s prioritise on-road comfort and agility – and the Kuga is probably the best of the lot. It’s based on the excellent Focus and handles just as well with plenty of grip, precise and responsive steering plus minimal body roll, even in tight corners. Cars with four-wheel drive use an intelligent all-wheel drive system which only sends power to the rear wheels when it senses the front wheel slip, so traction on uneven surfaces and steep gradients is very good.

The ride is very comfortable with supple suspension and although it’s unlikely owners will face off-road challenges too often, the Kuga can tackle mildly tricky terrain when asked.