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In-depth reviews

Ford Kuga review - Interior, design and technology

The Kuga is better-looking than before, but lags behind on the inside

A facelift for the 2017 model year saw the ageing Kuga get a much more distinctive and handsome look, with the larger grille seen on the Ford Edge now sitting on the front of the car, and a new set of head and tail-lights giving it a more interesting appearance overall.

It's a different story on the inside, as the facelift hasn't changed enough to allow it to keep up with newer rivals. The SEAT Ateca and Peugeot 3008 both have much more classy and interesting cabin designs, with the Kuga starting to look rather dated.

The SYNC 3 infotainment system is much better than before, but it still looks a little old-fashioned in terms of graphics and is fiddly to use while on the move thanks to its in-set dash position. Still, there's loads of kit in the Kuga. Even on the entry-level Ford Kuga Zetec models, 17-inch alloy wheels, sports seats, daytime running lights, cruise control and keyless go are standard.

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Go for the Ford Kuga Titanium and you get a gloss-black grille surround, part-leather seats, automatic headlights, dual-zone climate control, the Ford SYNC phone voice-control system and a DAB radio. The range-topping Ford Kuga Titanium X trim adds 18-inch alloys, LED tail-lights, bi-Xenon adaptive headlamps, a panoramic roof and leather upholstery. 

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The facelift has also added adaptive cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, a touchscreen sat-nav, powered tailgate, electric heated seats, a heated steering wheel and some neat alloy wheels to the kit list, while a new ST-Line model adds some sporty body trim to the exterior look.

The Ford Kuga Vignale offers buyers a top-spec car that's supposed to rival premium rivals such as BMW or Mercedes, but in reality, it's an overpriced Kuga with some extra leather seats and some extra kit - we'd advise avoiding this one.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment 

The Kuga benefits from Ford's latest SYNC 3 infotainment system. This unit has abandoned the SYNC 2’s four-way home screen in favour of a fresh-looking eight-inch layout. The main screen features the standard sat-nav overlaid by large shortcut keys for the phone and stereo. Other functions can easily be accessed via a menu bar that runs along the bottom of the screen.

SYNC 3 addresses many of the criticisms of the older unit; it’s now far less laggy and responds faster and more intuitively to your inputs. It also features larger ‘virtual’ buttons that are easier to hit on the move and gets smartphone-style pinch and swipe functionality. 

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay work well on the screen, and they take over the whole display. Unfortunately, the touch interface is slightly laggy that gets frustrating and distracting from behind the wheel.

Six speakers are fitted as standard in ST-Line cars, but if you upgrade to the Premium SYNC3 system for an additional £500 you’ll get a Sony set-up complete with nine speakers. That upgrade also adds 3D mapping and a rear parking camera to the specification.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 EcoBoost 120 Zetec 5dr 2WD
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £22,765

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 EcoBoost 120 Zetec 5dr 2WD
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £22,765

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 EcoBlue 190 Zetec 5dr Auto AWD
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £31,205
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