4.4 out of 5 4.4
Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4

Focus-based SUV is good, but lacks the Puma’s sparkle

Ford Kuga SUV Review Video
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At a glance

New price £24,200 - £37,785
Lease from new From £250 p/m View lease deals
Used price £18,720 - £31,845
Used monthly cost £467 - £795
Fuel Economy 40.9 - 201.8 mpg
Road tax cost £140 - £150
Insurance group 10 - 21 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Packed to the rafters with kit
  • Flexible, practical interior
  • Fine handling still a hallmark

CONS

  • Doesn’t feel much different from a Focus
  • Styling could prove divisive; lacks visual toughness
  • Ride firm on sportier trim levels

Ford Kuga SUV rivals

Written by Keith WR Jones on

It’s hard to believe that with the introduction of this latest model we’re now up to the third generation of Ford Kuga, the Blue Oval’s medium-sized SUV range.

This time around, though, there are a number of interesting departures, not least visually, as the Mk3 Kuga looks much more closely aligned to the Ford Focus it shares its underpinnings with than either of the previous generations. Whether buyers flock to the softer, less rugged styling, will be proven in time.

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>> Browse used Ford Kugas for sale

Additionally, there’s the welcome advent of electrification to the range, supplementing the regular petrol- and diesel-engined choices.

While a fully electric Kuga has not been confirmed as being in the pipeline, the launch range includes a mild-hybrid diesel – EcoBlue mHEV in Fordspeak – and a Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) range-topper featuring a 2.5-litre petrol engine as well as a beefy electric motor.

Lucid Red 2020 Ford Kuga ST-Line First Edition side elevation driving

Headline figures for the PHEV version include a combined 225hp output and a 35-mile electric range, but it’s not the quickest Kuga in the line-up; that honour goes to the less powerful 190hp 2.0-litre EcoBlue diesel – it completes the 0-62mph acceleration benchmark in 8.7 seconds, and is the only model available with four-wheel drive.

Familiar range structure

You don’t need to have a masters degree from the Ford University to recognise the familiar trim level structure of the Mk3 Kuga range. Zetec and Titanium fulfil the mainstream briefs, with ST-Line and ST-Line X being the sportier options. For those hankering after a plusher experience, the flagship Kuga Vignale is the one to go for.

To our eyes, those latter three have better-resolved front-end styling thanks to a taller grille design that just slots between the headlamps rather than completely beneath them, but with fully colour-coded exteriors, they look less rugged than many rival SUVs.

Lucid Red 2020 Ford Kuga ST-Line First Edition dashboard

Also, for the earliest customers is a limited run of First Edition versions of the Titanium, ST-Line and ST-Line X grades, all featuring additional equipment worth between £900 and £1,750 depending on the model.

Inside, the Kuga’s very like a Focus, essentially sharing the same dashboard. That means a very simple-to-use design with a standalone tablet-like touchscreen for the multimedia system, but in a flair-free setting.

Naturally, for a family-focused SUV that achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating, all Kugas come with autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-departure warning, parking sensors front and rear, an electrically heated windscreen and seven airbags, plus there’s a raft of optional safety gear, too.

Still an enjoyable-to-drive SUV?

Previous generations of Kuga have proven to be impressive to drive, sating the desires of those of a more enthusiastic bent, without sacrificing the fundamental flexibility that family cars need to possess.

As with the Focus range the Mk3 version shares much of its componentry with, the latest model remains good to drive, but not head-and-shoulders above the competition segment leader it once was.

In this corner of the market the competition is strong, with the Kuga facing an onslaught of alternatives including – but not limited to – Kia’s Sportage, the soon-to-be-replaced Nissan Qashqai, the Peugeot 3008, SEAT’s Ateca and closely-related Skoda Karoq, plus the Vauxhall Grandland X.

Even more intriguingly is the Kuga’s smaller sibling, the Ford Puma, which is already enjoying rave reviews – that shows the company knows how to produce a fun-to-drive SUV.

Is the third-generation Ford Kuga the SUV to have? Read on with our full review.

Lucid Red 2020 Ford Kuga ST-Line First Edition tailgate badge

Ford Kuga SUV rivals

Other Ford Kuga models: