Car group tests

Ford Kuga vs VW Tiguan

Ford has finally entered the compact SUV sector with its all-new Focus-based Kuga. Is it the best in class? We line it up against VW’s Tiguan to find out.

VWvFord front

The crossover SUV is about to hit the big time – and these two models are set to be at the forefront of the class’s sales explosion.

We’ve already been impressed by the new Volkswagen Tiguan in its first UK test. And now it’s taking on the year’s most eagerly awaited arrival in this sector: the new Ford Kuga.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Ford Kuga

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The blue oval model aims to bring the Focus’s great handling to the compact 4x4 market. It blends this with the strong design language seen on the latest Mondeo and a simple line-up – there’s only one engine and two trims. So it promises to help Ford define a sector, just as the firm did with the S-MAX MPV.

But before it can do this, the Kuga needs to beat the equally road-biased Tiguan. Can it deliver? We reveal all...

Verdict

FORD is a late arrival in the compact SUV market – so has the Kuga been worth the wait?

Definitely. While this test is very closely fought, the blue oval newcomer takes the win. It is the sharper-looking car, and has a top-quality cabin and a practical boot.

What’s more, the 2.0-litre TDCi diesel in the Kuga is much better than the Tiguan’s new TDI unit. It’s not only cleaner and more efficient – a crucial factor – but also delivers similar performance, yet less noise and vibration.

Ford could have made the rear cabin more flexible, and we’d have liked to see more storage up front. On both counts, the Tiguan is the better option, while its luggage space is larger overall, too.

What lets the VW down is that it can’t match the Kuga’s blend of comfort, fuel economy and refinement. The Tiguan doesn’t ride as well, either, even though the Ford has larger 18-inch alloys.

The big question is whether the Kuga can outperform the CR-V. The Honda is more spacious, just as distinctive and has an even more refined engine, so is a superb all-rounder. When these two go head-to-head, sparks will fly.

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