A niche product, but the petrol Kuga is every bit as good as its diesel counterpart

Our Verdict

Ford Kuga 2008-2013
The Kuga is more about perception and image than harsh reality

The Ford Kuga provides everything you’d expect of a soft-roader, but some crossovers are cheaper

What is it?

This is the Ford Kuga 2.5 Titanium, the first petrol-engined Ford Kuga. It’s powered by a 2.5-litre turbocharged five-cylinder engine that’s basically a detuned version of the motor that propels the Focus ST and RS.

Unlike diesel Kugas, however, this one is four-wheel drive only; there is no option of a front-drive model. You also get the chance to add a five-speed auto ’box to it, but a six-speed manual is the standard transmission.

What’s it like?

Whether or not the new Ford Kuga 2.5 Titanium is any good may only be of academic interest to most UK buyers into the idea of a mid-sized SUV.

Indeed, even the most optimistic Blue Oval executives reckon that, with the 2.0-litre diesel as the mainstay of the Ford Kuga range, this new petrol model is only going to attract a tiny portion of the business of what is now the best-selling car in its class.

Then again, Ford reckons that there are enough must-have petrol buyers out there to justify putting the Kuga 2.5 Titanium on the price lists, and possibly one or two of us downsizing from bigger four-wheel drives who don’t want to lose out on poke or who want the option of an auto.

It's just as well Ford is offering the Kuga 2.5 too, as it’s a great effort. We’ve been left impressed by the diesels, and the 2.5 litre is more of the same. You’re getting a great-looking and spacious SUV as well as the best riding and handling car in its sector, but it's now allied to a delightfully flexible and pretty punchy engine.

In the manual Kuga that we were driving the five-pot provided plenty of overtaking urge, and plenty of character, even if it’s a mite more muffled than in the hot Focuses.

The downside is that fuel economy and emissions are hardly inspiring; there’s no doubt that a four-cylinder turbo would be better and dish out equal performance.

Should I buy one?

The price tag may be hard to swallow, but even that looks good next to the Land Rover Freelander. And image aside, the Kuga is easily the equal, if not the better of the Landie.

So if you must have petrol power, then the Kuga 2.5 is easily one of the best mid-sized SUVs on the market. But we reckon most of you will find the plus points of the diesel too hard to resist.

Chas Hallett

Join the debate

Comments
26

27 February 2009

[quote Autocar]You’re getting a great-looking and spacious SUV[/quote] Great-looking? Styled to look like it's been involved in a rear shunt, more likely.

27 February 2009

Its a shame, Ford do it everytime - the basic metal shell is actually very attractive... and then they subcontract the trim from Amstrad and it looks cheaper that a round in a monastry.

Also in a final effort to shoot the other foot as well, they made the boot crap, do they not have any clue who buys cars like this?

27 February 2009

oh yeah one other issue.

It shows the 4 wheel drive can handle at least 200bhp and the Kuga is based on a Focus pan - so why oh why didn't the Focus RS get this 4 wheel drive? I know everyone says its awesome with 2 wheel drive - then what would it have been like with 4?????

27 February 2009

[quote The Apprentice]so why oh why didn't the Focus RS get this 4 wheel drive? I know everyone says its awesome with 2 wheel drive - then what would it have been like with 4?????[/quote] If you want a 4wd RS you better wait for the rumoured Volvo C30 version as mentioned here: http://www.leftlanenews.com/volvo-c30r.html

27 February 2009

[quote The Apprentice]so why oh why didn't the Focus RS get this 4 wheel drive? [/quote]

Weight!

27 February 2009

[quote The Apprentice]

Its a shame, Ford do it everytime - the basic metal shell is actually very attractive... and then they subcontract the trim from Amstrad and it looks cheaper that a round in a monastry.

[/quote]

Which competitor motor company that has brain washed you do you work for then?

28 February 2009

[quote simon_ingram]

[quote The Apprentice]

Its a shame, Ford do it everytime - the basic metal shell is actually very attractive... and then they subcontract the trim from Amstrad and it looks cheaper that a round in a monastry.

[/quote]

 Which competitor motor company that has brain washed you do you work for then?

[/quote]

Probably Amstrad.

But he's right. Current Ford interiors are...poor.

28 February 2009

[quote simon_ingram] Which competitor motor company that has brain washed you do you work for then?[/quote]

Waaaaaaaaay off the mark. Actually I really wanted one when it was first announced I knew based on a Focus it would be a good drive, it was a miracle how they made the C-max drive! I thought it would be just what I wanted. 1st disappointment - seeing one on the road dripping in grey spray cheap plastic. 2nd disappointment - walking in a dealer and seeing a fairly big imposing vehicle, open the tailgate and oh dear. Its rushed, poor packaging meant the boot is rubbish. Thats the end of that then.

All is not lost though, thanks to the credit crunch I can now put a Honda CRV on the drive, or a Nissan X-Trail or a Mitsubishi Outlander all of which are not afflicted.

Sorry Ford you got 80% there.

28 February 2009

[quote simon_ingram]

[quote The Apprentice]so why oh why didn't the Focus RS get this 4 wheel drive? [/quote]

Weight!

[/quote]

Weight l0l if ford were bothered about weight why the hell would they fit the car with so much kit which just adds to the weight even more, the RS is just to big and heavy its the same problem they have with the Mondeo to big to heavy and all there other cars i think it must be the american deisgn getting to them. If they did not waste so much time with that fancy 2wd thing and fitted a 4wd system they could have spent the money on lowering weight!!!!

1 March 2009

Why is it that when Ford (or GM or Nissan or some other "mainstream" operation) invents a "new concept" you need to make it sound like the best thing since sliced bread? I don't know how it drives or performs so I am not giving an opinion - except that to my eyes it looks terrible and I suspect the driver's vision is as abysmal as it is in many of today's designs. But your correspondents do have a point about opinions. It may be a little useful to know your opinion on how it looks etc. but can we also have the facts? Reading reviews of other products do a much better job. For example, a camera review gives us the detailed operational capabilities and describes, comparatively, WHY we get a better or worse result. You just say it should be a front runner; without any qualification! I've changed my mind - I'm going to give you an opinion! Looking at the facts (BHP, torque, RPM, weight etc) it is likely the Kuga diesel will be slower than a Subaru Outback. It will not handle, corner nor grip as well. It uses more fuel. In two years time its VED tax will be almost twice the Outback's. The Outback is bigger, (it does have a boot!) safer, more comfortable, lighter and its trim list is superior. It costs no more money. No, I do noy work for Subaru - I do own an eight year old Forester which continues to surprise many people in all areas. Come on - make a proper judgement. Maybe even a Kia Sportage is a better bet with its 7 year warranty.

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