Ford Kuga 4x4 review
The Ford Kuga looks sharp, has a top-quality cabin and drives really well.
Driving The Kuga is derived from the fantastic Focus, so it is no surprise to find it strikes a good balance between handling and comfort. It is accurate and grippy through corners, and the steering offers you a choice of assistance weights. There seems to be little difference though – all three are precise and communicative. Just a single engine is offered for now, the 2.0-litre TDCi Duratorq diesel. This is a unit we have always rated highly, and it’s as impressive as ever here, with a responsive and smooth nature. A 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo petrol, as seen in the Focus ST, is also scheduled for the Kuga, too. The position of the engine stop-start button is odd, though – it sits between the two main air vents.
Marketplace The Kuga is Ford’s first genuine entry into the compact SUV class. It competes with the likes of the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, as well as the Volkswagen Tiguan. Like those cars, it has been designed mainly for driving on tarmac, so it’s no surprise Ford has eschewed a chunky look in favour of a more athletic approach to the styling. With its trademark grille and swept-back lights, we think it is one of the best-looking 4x4s around. It comes across as a premium product. It is also very well equipped, in both Zetec and Titanium trim.
Owning The Kuga’s premium look is reflected once you’re behind the wheel. Ford has really upped its game in terms of interior quality, and this shows in the Kuga. The layout is simple but stylish, yet in spite of the abundance of black trim, it isn’t gloomy. The driving position is spot-on and all-round visibility is good, too, even if the thick C-pillars make parking tricky. In the back it feels very similar to a Focus, although the Ford isn’t quite as spacious as the class-best. Folding down the rear seat demands the seat bases to be flopped up, and the sliding bench has a somewhat restricted range. But the boot itself, accessed through a handy split tailgate, is a decent 410 litres, and there’s extra storage under the load floor. Fuel economy isn’t bad either, and the CO2 figure of 169g/km is, for an SUV, fantastic. What’s more, 12,500-mile service intervals will be well serviced by a huge dealer network, which charges competitive rates.