The Look 

The Drive

On Board Computer

Camera & Parking

Seats & Rear Bench 

Cup Holders & Cubby Holes

Boot

Safety (Euro NCAP) 

A reliable, practical family car

Starting price: £30,780

The Pros

Front storage

Powered tailgate (boot button)

Safety features

Cons

Needs charging most evenings

Boot size

Intro

There are a few changes to the Ford Kuga, since we last reviewed the car in 2020. It still remains a great all-rounder and ticks many family friendly boxes at an affordable price. It looks good, it’s easy to drive and as it’s a compact crossover SUV, you’ll find the driving position is nice and high on the road.

There are 5 trims on offer; Zetec, Titanium Edition, ST-Line Edition, ST-Line X Edition and Vignale. We drove the ST-Line X Edition and the salesman informed us that this is the most common choice for families. We drove the plug-in hybrid, but the Kuga also has a hybrid or petrol version. It’s lovely and quiet when in electric mode, meaning young, sleeping passengers will be undisturbed. There’s keyless entry, a start/stop button and a simple dial to operate the gears. There’s also cruise control for those longer journeys and an SOS button for emergencies.

Ford will tell you the Kuga electric range varies from 28 – 41 miles. We would argue it’s closer to 28. If you’re considering a plug-in, you really need to bear in mind the colder weather, use of air con and heated seats. We had the car for a week and found we were having to charge the car every night for day-to-day family use. This isn’t so bad if you can park on your drive (although getting the leads in and out of the car is a faff every night) but if you’ve no off-street parking, you won’t find it fun trying to find a charge point every evening whilst carrying a baby, shopping and school bags!

Like most cars nowadays, Ford have their own app called “FordPass Connect.” It allows you to check the car range, locate your nearest charge point and start the climate control before leaving the house (our favourite feature of the app). Clearing the windscreen and heating the car before you even leave the house gets a big tick from us!

Interior

We weren’t blown away by the interior of the Kuga, it’s similar to the Ford Focus. You don’t get the wow factor as you sit in the driver’s seat but having said that, the retractable panoramic sunroof on the ST trim makes the interior feel very light and airy. The dashboard is sleek and tidy looking with an 8-inch central touchscreen. The screen is smaller than a lot of its rivals, which means focusing a little more on the screen as opposed to the road. The infotainment system is easy to use and smartphone integration comes as standard. We much prefer using our map app on the touchscreen instead of the on-board sat nav which looks dated.

A heads-up display is an optional extra, but it only displays your current speed. Rival cars with heads-up displays also tell you the speed limit of road, which is helpful.

Reassuringly, Ford have continued to incorporate dials to operate the dual climate control. So many car companies are now incorporating the air con buttons on the touchscreen, but we feel this is more fiddly and your eyes are taken off the road. Dials are much easier when driving. There are air vents in the rear, but sadly no separate temperature control.

Parking the Ford Kuga is easy thanks to the front and rear parking sensors and large retractable wing mirrors. The rear camera is also nice and clear on the touchscreen too. Sadly, there’s no 360°camera.

Seats & Passenger Space

Seats in the Kuga, depend on the trim level you choose. In the car we test drove, they were a combination of leather and synthetic, wipeable fabric. Meaning any spills or crumbs can be wiped away with ease.

Plenty of height and leg space can be found in the front for the driver and passenger, and the front driver seat can be operated electronically. These seats can also be heated in the cold winter months, as can the steering wheel – which we love – your hands won’t freeze! These heated functions are operated by the touch of a button instead of through the screen which is much safer when driving.

As long as the front seats are not pushed too far back, adult passengers will find adequate space in the rear.  There are 2 ISOFIX points on the rear bench and we were able to fit 2 high back booster seats and our smallest booster in the middle. As an alternative, we were able to place a rear facing baby seat and high back booster are there. Sadly, the space in between these seats was not adequate for our smaller booster, so a third central passenger would have to be without a child seat.

The rear seats can be tilted back, which is perfect at providing a little more comfort for any sleeping toddlers. These seats can also be heated, which is great for any older children or adult passengers. There’s privacy glass is on the rear windows too to help block out the sun’s glare. Much better than using flimsy car shades that never seen to cover that one area where the sun finds its way in!

Cups & Cubby

The cupholders in the Ford Kuga are perfectly positioned in between the driver and passenger seat just below the dashboard. Here you’ll also find 1 USB port, 1 USB C port and a wireless phone charger. There are a few little areas for extra storage such as keys and you’ll find a handy overhead sunglasses holder next to the SOS button. The glove box is a good size too.

Underneath the central armrest, there’s a small amount of storage neatly hidden. The front door bins are a fairly good size and you’ll be able to fit a water bottle in there whilst leaving room for other bits and bobs.

In the rear, there are 2 central cupholders in the armrest, but sadly the door bins aren’t a great size. You certainly won’t fit a water bottle in there and quite frankly not an awful lot! There are 2 storage pouches on the back of the front passenger seats for the odd book, iPad etc. and 1 rear USB port and 1 USB C port next to the air con vents.

Boot Space

The boot is a good size – 475 litres. That’s bigger than the Nissan Juke but smaller than the Kia Sportage.

We were able to place our large pram in the boot, leaving space in the front for school bags, shopping etc. Opt to pop a stroller in the back and you’ll have to place it at a diagonal and place other items around it. The floor level is also flush, meaning you won’t have to lift items up and over, making life much easier. Underneath is the spare wheel, so unfortunately there’s nowhere to store the charging cables, these will have to remain in the boot somewhere.

There’s a powered tailgate, which is great when your hands are literally laden down with everything except the kitchen sink! Press the button on the keys to open and use the boot button to close.

It’s worth noting, that for the odd tip run, the rear seats drop down by releasing a very simple lever.

Summary

One safety feature worth a mention is the anti-lane technology. If you’re switching lanes, but don’t indicate when doing so, you’ll feel a huge amount of tension in the steering wheel alerting you that the car is drifting. It won’t allow you to steer unless you really force the wheel. Good to know in case there is the smallest distraction in the car. We also like the “hold” function. More and more cars seem to have this option now. It basically means the car will allow you to release your foot from the brake pedal when stationary and automatically “hold” the car, stopping it from moving. Very handy when you’re stuck in traffic. This is released as soon as you accelerate.

So overall, what do we think of the Kuga? Whilst there are several cars out there with slightly larger boots, you can certainly rely on Ford to offer a great, affordable car that ticks a lot of boxes. We would certainly recommend test driving if you’re looking for a medium sized family car.

Car seats used in this review: 2 x Graco Tri Logic (width 40.8cm) 1 x Halfords Essentials Booster (width 39.5cm) 1 x Maxi Cosi Pebble (width 43cm)

Car Dimensions - Kate and Claire

Dimensions

4614 (L) x 1883 (W) x 1666 (H)

Boot Capacity - Kate and Claire

Boot Capacity

475 litres

Backseat Size Kate and Claire Reviews

Backseat Dimensions

112 cm

(125 cm at widest point)

Miles per Gallon - Kate and Claire

Miles per gallon

43-280 (combined)

Range - Kate and Claire

Range

28 – 41 miles

Speedometer - Kate and Claire

Speed

0-60 mph in 8.7 secs