High-spec Kugas come with lots of plush leather and glossy plastic trims but entry-level models feel very spartan inside – you don’t even get a touchscreen infotainment system
The Ford Kuga’s dashboard looks a little dated – the huge number of buttons can overwhelm you at first – and the scratchy plastics used for lots of the dashboard don’t feel very high quality. Add to that controls that don’t work with a damped smoothness and the Ford can’t match the quality feel you get in a Skoda Kodiaq or Volkswagen Tiguan.
Entry-level Zetec models lack a proper infotainment screen – all other models get an 8.0-inch display – which means you have to get your head round yet more conventional buttons. The Charcoal Black seat upholstery will resist stains well, though, and touch points such as the steering wheel and gearknob are trimmed in leather.
Titanium models bring the interior ambience up a couple of notches although cheap plastics are still used for large parts of the dashboard. Nevertheless, ambient lighting and half leather seats do make it feel more special, and you get front and rear floor mats thrown in for good measure.
By the time you get to Titanium X models, the Kuga is starting to look more luxurious. They get a leather interior and a panoramic glass sunroof that lets in lots of light (but also robs all four passengers of headroom).
ST Line models are the sportiest in the range. White contrast stitching is used to bind the leather on the steering wheel and the gear knob, and it also runs around the edges of the floor mats. The ST Line’s Dinamica (man-made) and Salerno leather seats feel the nicest of the lot and should also be easy to keep clean.
The Kuga’s interior looks like someone at Ford has swallowed a load of buttons, then spat them all over the dashboard
Zetec models have a 4.2-inch colour display that’s too small to be easy to use on the move. It has handy features – you can dictate text messages and have replies read aloud – but there’s no satellite navigation and you can’t use the navigation system on your smartphone because Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren’t available.
The SYNC 3 infotainment system that’s fitted to the rest of the range is a much better option. Its 8.0-inch colour touchscreen is navigated via tiles that are relatively easy to use on the move and Ford’s voice controls can understand all but the thickest regional accents.
You can configure the display with a variety of colours but, whatever you do, it never looks as detailed as the one in a Volkswagen Tiguan. However, it does come with Applink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can mirror your smartphone display and use its apps on the car’s big display.
That’s about it for tech, though – you can’t have the Ford with a big multifunction display in place of a conventional instrument binnacle (like you can in the Volkswagen Tiguan) which puts it at a disadvantage.
You can upgrade the stereo, though. The basic system has six-speakers that sound fine if you never stray from Radio 4, but if you like to relive your youth with thumping hip hop then Ford dealers can retrofit a 150W subwoofer.