2021 Ford Kuga Review

5/5

Overview

With the Kuga, Ford was keen to try and put a tad more ‘Sport’ into the SUV name. They did this with daring styling and Focus-like driving dynamics. It stood out from the crowd and held its own against the competition. This generation has had a mid-life nip and tuck as well as a technology and connectivity reboot. Rivals are the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and Seat Ateca, but we bet that none of those can really offer the fun that the Kuga can.  The latest Kuga is smarter than previous ones, with a larger grille, smart 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.

Pros
  • Typical Ford reliability and pedigree
  • Ergonomic interior design
  • Comprehensive list of safety equipment
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
Cons
  • Styling not as daring as some rivals

Exterior

Being a bit bigger, there’s more space in the boot and leg and headroom for rear passengers. But getting a bit of extra length (all 81mm of it) it’s also manoeuvred itself out of its normal competitor range, rubbing shoulders with the Nissan Qashqai, Mazda CX-5 and Skoda Kodiaq, and into the sights of the Kia Sorento and Hyundai’s Santa Fe. Eye-catching good looks and technology based on the Focus’s C2 platform make this a car to be reckoned with.

Interior

What the Ford Kuga loses in dynamic sparkle, in gains in space and value. The boot is up to 200 litres roomier than before, depending on how you position the rear seats, which now recline to give your passengers a more relaxed posture. Up front, the dash is smarter too with egonomic, easy-to-use functions and controls. Now there’s an optional, kick-operated tailgate – just swing a leg under the rear bumper and it springs open. Useful when you have armfuls of toddler.

Performance

An AWD, 180bhp 2.0-litre diesel in Titanium trim as it offers the best compromise of performance and efficiency as well as being adequately equipped. We would plump for the manual box as the shift is sublime and feels good to use. There is minimal body lean and plenty of grip. The steering is sharp, well weighted and not unlike the Focus.  The mild-hybrid system isn’t noticeable in most cases, so it’s not intrusive either. The plug-in hybrid’s near-silent running at low speed in EV mode is relaxing and makes it good for commuting in traffic.

Reliability

Ford’s recent reliability record is very good and all new Ford models come with a two year / unlimited mileage warranty.

Running Costs

It is a Ford so you can expect costs to be typically reasonable. The spec range kicks off with ‘Zetec’ which offers the best value in terms of family car necessities. ‘Titanium’ poshes things up a bit while the ‘ST-Line’ gives you firmer suspension, 18-inch wheels, black detailing and a generally more aggressive look. 

Handling

Whichever spec-level you go for, you will enjoy the Kuga driving experience. The taut steering and grippy performance mean that it is enjoyable to drive on country roads. Great visibility and a good turning circle make it a doddle to drive in town too while motorway journeys are quiet and comfortable. 

Safety

The 2021 Ford Kuga comes with a wide range of standard safety equipment and was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. 

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
90%
Performance
80%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
90%
Safety
100%

With the Kuga, Ford was keen to try and put a tad more ‘Sport’ into the SUV name. They did this with daring styling and Focus-like driving dynamics. It stood out from the crowd and held its own against the competition. This generation has had a mid-life nip and tuck as well as a technology and connectivity reboot. Rivals are the likes of the Nissan Qashqai, Peugeot 3008 and Seat Ateca, but we bet that none of those can really offer the fun that the Kuga can.  The latest Kuga is smarter than previous ones, with a larger grille, smart 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.