Ford Kuga review - Engines, performance and drive

The Ford Kuga offers an efficient range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, performance and drive Rating

4.0 out of 5

  • Handling
  • Infotainment tech
  • Plug-in hybrid version
  • Not as spacious as rivals
  • Vibration on rough roads
  • Seats could be more comfortable

Ford has revitalised the Kuga with a strong range of engines and made it a family SUV that’s also great to drive. There’s MacPherson strut front suspension and a multi-link rear set-up that help with both comfort on longer journeys and agility when pressing on through the corners.

A significant move forward for the Kuga is the adoption of mild-, full- and plug-in hybrid power, which help improve fuel consumption and reduce CO2 emissions. The mild-hybrid tech recoups power during braking and stores it in a small battery, where it’s then used to maximise efficiency when on the move. The full-hybrid operates in the same way, but includes a larger battery that can store more power to help improve fuel economy.

However, the Kuga plug-in hybrid model is where you’ll find major savings in fuel consumption and less CO2 emitted from the tailpipe. It’s at its most effective when engaged in pure-EV mode as the 2.5-litre petrol engine can be a little loud when it chips in. This isn’t helped by the CVT gearbox which is typically noisy when accelerating hard - in fact, we’d prefer a regular automatic transmission to smooth things along.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine provides entry into the Kuga range. Producing 148bhp, it manages the 0-62mph sprint in 9.7s, while the 222bhp 2.5-litre PHEV is even quicker at 9.2s. The full-hybrid version is a tenth of a second faster with a time of 9.1s.

The 118bhp and 148bhp diesel SUVs are capable of reaching 0-62mph in 11.7s and 9.6s, respectively, while the fastest Kuga in the range is the 187bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue unit. It’s all-wheel-drive set-up helps deliver a time of 8.7s and a 129mph maximum.

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