Ford Kuga review - Engines, performance and drive
The Ford Kuga offers strong fuel economy from its full hybrid and plug-in hybrid engines
Ford has fitted the third-generation 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. When you need to rein it in, the brakes are strong.
The suspension stays comfortable and composed in most situations, although we did find the ride slightly too firm and bouncy on the ST-Line X version with its sporty suspension and larger alloy wheels. Smaller wheels go towards making the Kuga more refined.
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.
0-62mph acceleration and top speed
The 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol engine provides entry into the Kuga range. Producing 148bhp and 240Nm of torque, 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.
Although no longer offered on the price list, the 118bhp and 148bhp diesel SUVs are capable of reaching 0-62mph in 11.7s and 9.6s, respectively, while the 187bhp 2.0-litre EcoBlue unit, with its all-wheel-drive set-up, delivers a time of 8.7s and a 129mph maximum.
Ford has fitted selectable driving modes as standard, so you can cycle between settings biased for eco, sporty and off-road driving.
In this review
- 1Ford Kuga reviewPractical and efficient, yet still great to drive, the Ford Kuga is an appealing family SUV
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe Ford Kuga offers strong fuel economy from its full hybrid and plug-in hybrid engines
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsWith fuel-saving hybrid technology, low insurance costs and decent residual values, the Ford Kuga is an appealing SUV to run
- 4Interior, design and technologySleeker, smarter, with lots of handy on-board tech, the third-generation Kuga is well-equipped for family life
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Ford Kuga offers great family practicality, although it’s not the most spacious in its class
- 6Reliability and safetyThe Ford Kuga’s extensive list of safety kit helps it secure a top rating from Euro NCAP