Ford Kuga Hybrid review
Ford Kuga PHEV is a plug-in hybrid SUV that’s great to drive and could be cheap to run. But it doesn’t feel particularly premium and you will have to charge it up regularly to get anywhere near promised MPG figures.
What's not so good
Ford Kuga Hybrid: what would you like to read next?
The Ford Kuga is a family SUV that you’ll genuinely enjoy every journey in, because it’s a hoot. It’s like a Ford Focus with a loftier viewpoint and greater practicality. And this plug-in hybrid version – called the Kuga PHEV – brings super-low running costs into the equation, too. Never mind having your cake and eating it, that’s the equivalent of buying the bakery as well.
We reckon the Kuga looks a little like a Focus that’s let itself go (a few pies as well as cake). The latest Kuga is smarter than previous ones, with a large grille, piercing headlights and curves all over the place. Higher-spec models on larger wheels look more imposing but even lower trims wear their smaller alloys well.
The Kuga PHEV’s interior is similarly curvy, with a central touchscreen display prominently placed on the dash. The 8-inch screen is easy to use and comes with smartphone connectivity, which means it’s useful – and the air-con controls are physical buttons, which is good.
As for space, adults will have to squeeze in to fit across the rear bench, but there’s enough legroom and headroom back there. The Kuga’s back bench also slides forwards and backwards to swap between legroom and boot space, and you can even have the outer seats heated.
Kuga is decent to live with and drive, but you'll need to plug it in every time you stop or it'll be very inefficient and expensive to run.
The Kuga’s boot could be better, though, because it’s smaller than those in non-PHEV Kugas, which are also smaller than those of many rivals in the first place. Still, it’s big enough for some suitcases and other holiday stuff, or a big weekly shop.
As with most PHEVs, whether or not you buy one depends on your daily motoring needs. So, if you have a short urban commute, consider it so you can benefit from short drives of electric-only driving. Bear in mind, however, that models such this Kuga PHEV are at their most efficient if they’re plugged in whenever you can, so basically every time it’s standing still.
Ford Kuga Plug-in Hybrid range and charging
The Kuga PHEV has an electric-only range of 35 miles. Using a 3kw three-pin plug at home, a it will take around five hours to charge from empty to full, and a 7kW fast charger will cut this time to two hours. A charge to 80% takes just 1.6 hours.
You should enjoy driving the Kuga plug-in hybrid. The combination of 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and electric motor produces 225hp (there’s also a 190hp version available), and the Kuga can cover the 0-62mph sprint in 9.2 seconds before going on to a top speed of 125mph. So, not exactly thrilling.
However, the sharp steering, plentiful grip and decent performance mean that it’s enjoyable to drive on country roads. Good visibility and a decent turning circle make it simple work in town, too, while it’ll prove comfy and quiet on the motorway.
It’s efficient, too, with an official CO2 output of 32g/km and an average economy figure of 201.8mpg. Again, you’ll need to plug it in whenever possible if you’re to get anywhere near these figures, but it should be pretty thrifty.
The Ford Kuga is a big improvement over previous models and the value-for-money factor is there as long as you stick to the middle of the trim range. It’s comfortable, practical and full of kit – it’s just a shame the boot isn’t as big as we’d like.
If you don’t mind those minor negatives, configure your Kuga Hybrid by tapping on the button below.
The Ford Kuga Plug-in Hybrid is certainly roomy enough for people, but this version has a slightly smaller boot than other Kugas.
The driving position in the Ford Kuga is very good for an SUV, with supportive seats and plenty of adjustment. Tall adults won’t have any issue with headroom or legroom up front.
In the back, the Ford Kuga is really impressive as there’s loads of leg and headroom in the outset seats. The middle seats isn’t too bad, but it’s meant for short trips – but at least there’s a good amount of space for your feet.
The sliding rear bench means that if you’ve got kids in the back you can maximise boot space by pushing it forward, or if you have adults then you can move it back to improve legroom.
It’s relatively easy to fit a child seat in the Kuga as the back doors open wide enough and the standard Isofix anchor points use easy-to-remove plastic covers. The top of the door isn’t too low either, so most won’t need to stoop too low to do it.
There are a handful of cubbies around the Kuga’s cabin including a useful one at the base of the dashboard that will keep your phone safe while you’re using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay while plugged in via USB.
A central cubby will store anything you want out of sight, and the door bins are big enough for a medium-sized water bottle, if not quite one of the larger ones. The centre console has two good-sized cupholders with a small gap for some keys in the middle.
The Ford Kuga’s boot is quite variable in size. With the sliding seat all the way back there’s 412 litres at the smallest, rising to 1,481 litres with the rear seats folded down flat.
That’s smaller than many alternative cars of the same size, which is a shame. Still, there’s enough room for a big weekly shop or a few big suitcases. The rear seat backs split in a 60:40 configuration, so you can still have a rear passenger with something long in the boot.
The Ford Kuga PHEV is good fun out of town, and light and easy in it, but not very quick at all.
The plug-in hybrid model uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, delivering 225hp. This version will really suit some drivers but not others – if you can plug in all the time and use the electric motor only, it could be ultra-cheap to run.
The Kuga can cover the 0-62mph sprint in 9.2 seconds before going on to a top speed of 125mph.
It’s efficient, too, with an official CO2 output of 32g/km and an average economy figure of 201.8mpg. Again, you’ll need to plug it in whenever possible if you’re to get anywhere near these figures, If you don’t, it could be one of the least efficient models there is. It’s really up to the driver to make sure they’re plugging in.
Using a 3kw three-pin plug at home, a Kuga PHEV will take around five hours to charge from empty to full, and a 7kW fast charger will cut this time to two hours. A charge to 80% takes just 1.6 hours.
The Ford Kuga is easy to drive, and the plug-in hybrid’s near-silent running at low speed in EV mode is relaxing and makes it good for commuting in traffic.
The fun of driving the Kuga is one of its strongest points. There’s a bit of body lean, but it’s not wayward at all, and the car has plenty of grip.
The steering is sharp and weighted nicely, just like in the Kuga’s lower brother, the Focus. It’s also very comfortable, thanks to that good driving position as well as nicely-judged suspension that absorbs bumps well.
Kuga Hybrid is well equipped but the interior design could be more exciting and there are some cheaper plastics on show.