Ford Kuga 2.5T

Does self-shifter boost 4x4 driving experience?

Overall Auto Express Rating

2.0 out of 5

The case for the blue oval’s manual-equipped 2.5-litre Kuga 4x4 was already thin – but justification for this even less efficient and more expensive automatic variant is pretty much non-existent. Unless you simply must have a self-shifting Ford Kuga, we would advise you to test drive the six-speed manual 2.0-litre TDCi version, which offers great performance, low emissions, 46mpg and a price tag that starts at some £6,500 less.

The Mondeo ECOnetic might be the most efficient version of the saloon you can buy today, but its Kuga 2.5T brother comes way down the ranking.

We drove the flagship 4x4 variant and were impressed by the performance of its throaty five-cylinder petrol turbo – although not by its economy. Now that Ford has fitted the car with an auto, is the result any better?

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

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Rather than offer the latest Powershift twin-clutch box, the top Kuga gets a conventional auto. It costs £1,200 on top of a regular Kuga 2.5T, which takes the price to nearly £27,000.

Unfortunately, the transmission isn’t a strong point. Refinement is poor, shifts are jerky in manual mode and performance is unresponsive, with 0-60mph taking nearly nine seconds, half-a-second down on the manual.

Combined economy dips to 27.4mpg compared to its stablemate’s 28.5mpg, too – although we’d be surprised if owners got much more than 22mpg. The real nails in the coffin are the emissions – 244g/km of CO2 means a £405 road tax bill – and heavy depreciation. As for the rest of the experience, the Kuga is a class leader – but with this engine and box, it gets the wooden spoon.

Rival: Tiguan 2.0 TSI DSG At 28.5mpg, this DSG-equipped VW is not exactly efficient, either, but at least its transmission is smooth and works well in both auto and manual modes.

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