The Ford Kuga is an SUV that is surprisingly fun to drive for a large car. Trouble is, it doesn’t have the acres of passenger space and huge boot that you might expect
The Ford Kuga is a family SUV that sits above the Ford Ecosport, but just below the Ford Edge in terms of size. It’s good to drive, but if you’re expecting it to have an excess of passenger space or a massive boot then you’re going to be a little disappointed.
Sadly, the Ford Kuga’s 2017 facelift didn’t do anything to make the Ford feel more spacious – although it did introduce some slight exterior changes, a more economical diesel engine, the luxurious Kuga Vignale model (tested separately) and an uprated automatic emergency braking system.
If you value practicality, then you’ll be better off with a Skoda Kodiaq, which has more passenger space in the front and back, even for tall adults. The Ford Kuga’s front seats have much more room than the backs but fitting the optional panoramic sunroof (standard on Titanium X and ST Line X models) reduces headroom significantly for all passengers.
The boot is also below average in terms of size for this type of car and again is noticeably smaller than the Skoda Kodiaq’s. However the Kuga’s boot does have a practical square shape and the car’s height means you don’t have to bend your back when loading and there isn’t a load lip to lift luggage over.
The Ford Kuga has a classic case of body dysmorphia – it drives like a sporty small car that’s trapped in the body of a large SUV
It’s only once you’ve loaded up and set off that a Ford Kuga reveals its true strength – it’s actually decent fun to drive. Its steering doesn’t have the remoteness you get in most SUVs, so you can actually feel through your fingers how much grip the car has, and even if you corner hard there’s no excessive body lean. ST Line models have lowered suspension and roll even less in bends but the payoff is suspension that isn’t as comfortable.
Which doesn’t make a lot of sense, because the Ford’s cabin is otherwise quiet and relaxing at a cruise with only a little bit of wind noise disturbing you on the motorway.
Even at those sorts of speeds a five-star safety rating awarded by Euro NCAP in 2012 means the Ford Kuga should be safe and automatic emergency braking is available on all but entry-level models for a sensible amount extra.
There are three different turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engines on offer, with 120, 150 and 176hp. Stick to the one of the lesser two power outputs and you’ll enjoy decent performance coupled with sensible running costs – the 176hp engine is quickest, but thirstiest with it.
On the diesel side you have the option of a 1.5-litre with 120hp, or a 2.0-litre with 120, 150 or 180hp. We’d suggest going for a diesel if you’re frequently driving on the motorway and the pick of the bunch is the 1.5, which has a enough get up and go to transport a family and its luggage, yet is also pleasingly frugal.