Review Ford Kuga (2020), family SUV

22 Jul 2021, 15:52  •  Review  •  Door koen

The Kuga is almost indispensable in Ford’s delivery program. Alongside the Fiesta and Focus, the Kuga is one of Ford’s best-grossing models to date. The new generation Ford Kuga should give that success a strong boost and pull out all the stops to convince buyers.

Ford SUV’s

Ford has extremely high expectations of SUVs. In particular the medium-sized models such as the Ecosport and brand new Puma. The new Ford Kuga will also play an important role. Because make no mistake: even though the outgoing Kuga model was already a bit old, Ford sold a total of 161,400 copies of the Ford Kuga in Europe in 2019. An increase of five percent compared to the previous year. Ford’s overall SUV sales grew more than six percent in 2019. Ford is trying to keep that momentum going with this new Kuga.

Ford Kuga SUV size

And you can see it right away: the new Ford Kuga has changed a lot from the previous Kuga. Put old and new side by side and you will immediately see major differences. The new Kuga now looks a bit sportier and slimmer, but not so much bigger. Yet he has grown considerably. It’s 45mm wider, about 90mm longer and 27mm lower. Those are big differences. The length is now 4,629 mm, the width is 1,883 mm and the height remains at 1,675 mm. The wheelbase grew by 20mm to 2,710mm. Thanks to the increased wheelbase, the interior space also increased considerably, especially in the rear seat. It is now much better to sit there, even if you are 1.90 meters or taller.

Luggage compartment Fort Kuga 2020

The luggage space of the new Ford Kuga has improved considerably: 456 liters for the previous type versus 645 liters for the new Kuga in the most favorable arrangement. That is a big difference of 189 liters. Sure, but the rear seat in the Kuga can be moved lengthwise by a maximum of 15 centimeters. Ford communicates 645 liters, but that is in the most favorable arrangement. If you place the rear seat all the way back, you will have 475 liters left. The PHEV version also has 411 to 581 liters of luggage space. That is still more than enough.

Fort Kuga threshold

The luggage compartment has a low sill and is angular in shape. This makes it easy to load and unload groceries. The backrest of the rear seat can easily be folded down into two parts via two pull handles in the luggage compartment (can also be folded down with levers on the rear seat itself). This creates an almost flat loading floor. Ford engineers also devised a clever solution for storing the roll-up cover. It fits exactly in the double trunk floor of the Kuga.

Ford Kuga (2020) all you need to know – AutoRAI TV –

Ford Kuga Dutch market

The European range of engine variants consists of the Kuga Plug-In Hybrid, Kuga EcoBlue Hybrid (mild hybrid) and Kuga Hybrid (full hybrid), as well as the 2.0 and 1.5 EcoBlue diesel engines and 1.5 EcoBoost petrol engines. That’s a lot of choice! Absolutely, but due to the difficult national tax climate, Ford in the Netherlands only offers the 225 hp Kuga Plug-In Hybrid and Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost with 120 or 150 hp. Let’s take a look at the performance figures per motorization…

Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost 120 hp
Type: three-in-line petrol engine with turbo
Engine capacity: 1,497 cc
Power: 120 hp at 5,500 rpm
Torque: 240 Nm between 1,600 and 3,000 rpm
Transmission: six-speed manual
Top speed: 184 km/h
0-100 km/h: 11.6 seconds

Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost 150 hp
Type: three-in-line petrol engine with turbo
Engine capacity: 1,497 cc
Power: 150 hp at 6,000 rpm
Torque: 240 Nm between 1,600 and 4,000 rpm
Transmission: six-speed manual
Top speed: 195 km/h
0-100 km/h: 9.7 seconds

Ford Kuga Plug-in Hybrid 225 hp
Type: four-in-line petrol engine, without turbo
Engine capacity: 2,488 cc
Petrol engine power: 152 hp
Electric motor power: 130 hp
System power: 225 hp
Battery: 14.4 kWh lithium-ion
Transmission: eCVT with 8 fictitious gears
Top speed: 200 km/h
0-100 km/h: 9.2 seconds

Cylinder Shutdown Ford

Both EcoBoost turbo petrol engines have cylinder deactivation. A first, because they are the world’s first three-cylinder engines with cylinder deactivation. The technology automatically shuts off a cylinder if the engine’s full power is not being used. The cylinder is switched on or off within 14 milliseconds. So you don’t notice anything there

Ford Plug-in hybrid

The Ford Kuga PHEV powertrain consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson petrol engine with 152 hp, an electric motor/generator with up to 130 hp and a 14.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The interplay between the electric motor and petrol engine is very smooth. The petrol engine switches on or off without any knocks or shocks. The battery pack can be charged via the connection in the front screen and gives the Kuga PHEV an electric range of 56 kilometers. The fuel tank cover is located at the rear left. Due to the low CO2 emissions of only 26 grams per kilometer, you pay very little BPM for the PHEV. This means that the plug-in hybrid is cheaper than the EcoBoost petrol engine with 150 hp. We will discuss the prices in more detail later.

Driving with a plug-in hybrid

Driving with a plug-in hybrid can be interesting for both the business driver and private individual, as long as you connect the car to the charger to be able to drive electrically. With 56 kilometers of WLTP range – in practice about 40 to even 65 kilometers – you should be able to cover daily journeys electrically as much as possible. That petrol engine does not have to do much, if used properly. The electric range strongly depends on the outside temperature, the type of road surface, the landscape and other factors. We note a range of 65 kilometers on departure and after 30 kilometers of electric driving we still have 30 kilometers of range left. Ford is therefore somewhat modest.

Four riding modes PHEV Ford Kuga

Four powertrain modes – EV Auto, EV Now, EV Later and EV Charge – allow the driver to make the most of the Kuga Plug-In Hybrid’s electric powertrain. When the charge status of the battery pack has reached its minimum, the propulsion system automatically switches to EV Auto. The electric motor then supports the fuel engine with the energy recovered during the journey to save fuel. On the road, the battery pack is also automatically recharged as the system recovers the energy normally lost during braking and stores it as electricity in the batteries. You can independently switch between the modes via the EV button in the center tunnel. You can also monitor the energy flow of the powertrain via the display in the interior.

Ford Kuga Charging battery pack

Charging can be done via a regular socket at home or via a wallbox or public charging station. With a charging output of 230 volts, it takes less than 6 hours to charge the battery pack and with 3.7 kW of charging power that is less than 4 hours.

Ford Kuga weight

Basically, the Ford Kuga has grown. Does that also result in more kilos? No. That’s because of the new and much lighter C2 platform on which Ford is building this mid-sized SUV. Compared to its predecessor, the new Kuga has lost 80 kilograms. The 120 hp 1.5 EcoBoost version now weighs 1,564 kilograms and can tow 1,600 kilograms braked. The 150 hp version weighs the same, but can pull 1,800 kilograms braked. The PHEV version is the heaviest with 1,844 kilograms – partly due to the 14.4 kWh battery pack – but may pull the least with 1,200 kilograms. Caravan enthusiasts should therefore opt for the conventional petrol versions with a six-speed manual transmission.

Ford improvements

The new Ford Kuga is also stiffer than before. In addition, it has improved independent rear suspension and a dramatically improved steering column for more steering feel. Ford has also applied more sound insulation around the wheel arches. This results in more silence on board.

Active Noise Control Ford Kuga

Speaking of silence: Active Noise Control is a system that includes three microphones strategically placed in the interior that monitor the engine noise. The technology then sends ‘opposing’ sound waves to the cabin through the audio system to neutralize unwanted engine and transmission noises. Active Noise Control is standard in the Kuga Plug-In Hybrid Vignale. One thing is certain: it is nice and quiet on board, especially if you drive electrically.

Ford Kuga options

The Vignale is the absolute top model within the Kuga family. You can choose from the Trend (basic version), Titanium, Titanium X, ST-Line, ST-Line X or the Vignale. The Titanium looks a bit business-like and the Vignale emphasizes luxury through a roof rails, bumper inserts and door sills in satin aluminum. Other Vignale features include a chrome grille, dual exhaust, Windsor leather seats with distinctive stitching and deep-pile floor mats. It almost sounds like we are describing a Rolls-Royce.

Ford Kuga ST-Line

The example we tested is the ST-Line. It has a wheel suspension lowered by 10 mm and a slightly sportier suspension tuning, apart from sportier bumpers of course. Furthermore, the ST-Line has a black grille, bumper protection at the front, rear diffuser and roof rails, a rear spoiler, double sports exhaust, 18-inch alloy (19-inch optional), dark headliner, ST-Line seats with red stitching, aluminum pedals, a flattened steering wheel and ST-Line floor mats and door sills.

Driving comfort Ford

Although Ford has lowered the suspension by 10 mm, this is not at the expense of comfort. The Kuga is also sufficiently comfortable as an ST-Line, but it does have a sportier edge. It is the choice of the helmsman or woman. Anyway, the steering is good with the Kuga. It steers like a Ford: direct, sporty and with a lot of feeling. They do well at Ford. The steering takes some getting used to around the middle position. It sometimes gives a somewhat ‘sticky’ impression.

Interior new Ford Kuga

You will quickly feel at home on board the new Ford Kuga thanks to the comfortable seating and steering position and the ergonomic layout of the buttons on the dashboard. The seats of the front and rear seats are a bit short, they could have been a little longer. Of course, the Kuga has a large color touchscreen, but Ford has not forgotten that a physical button is much faster to find on the road than when you as a driver have to dive into menus of the infotainment system. The control of the temperature is therefore nice and old school. Nothing wrong with that. With the PHEV variant, no gear lever as with the petrol version with manual gearbox, but a rotary selector for switching on D, N, R or P. Also saves space.

Car trends

The Ford Kuga also keeps up with the trends in the car world: the infotainment system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, there is an inductive charger for wireless charging of smartphones, Ford optionally supplies a razor-sharp head-up display and as a driver you can optionally look out for a digital instrumentation (12.3-inch HD display). If desired, the Kuga also has an electrically operated tailgate that can be opened via a foot movement under the rear bumper. Works great.

Ford mobile hotspot

On board the Kuga, people can use the internet in a pleasant way – nice and ‘social’ by the way – via a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. This can be done with as many as ten devices at the same time. Ford is clearly playing it safe on this number, even though the Kuga only has five seats. Voice commands make it easy to control audio, navigation and climate control. Oh yeah, and you have driving modes, namely Normal, Sport, Eco, Slippery and Deep Snow/Sand mode.

Ford Kuga safety

Every version of the Ford Kuga comes standard with lane assistant, a collision avoidance system with pedestrian and cyclist recognition and a speed limiter. Also on the list is a Cross-Traffic Alert System, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go, Speed Sign Recognition, Automatic Park Assist System, Evasive Steering Assist, Wrong Way Alert and Adaptive Front Lighting System. In that aspect, too, the Kuga participates in the trends in the car world.

Prices Ford Kuga

The Ford Kuga has enough competitors. Just think of the Opel Grandland X, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, Skoda Karoq and Hyundai Tucson. Ford praises its new Kuga pretty centrally in this competitive field. You can check below what the new Kuga should cost. Our advice: leave EcoBoost with 120 hp. At least go for the EcoBoost with 150 hp. Ford supplies it as standard as Titanium and is the finer engine. The 120 hp Titanium costs 35,075 euros, while you have the 150 hp petrol version for 1,250 euros more. The PHEV is available from 36,195 euros, but is supplied as standard as a Trend. The Titanium PHEV is available from 37,945 euros. Well, all prices are below.

Prices Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost 120 hp
Trend: 33,325 euros
Titanium: 35,075 euros

Prices Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost 150 hp
Titanium: 36,325 euros
Titanium X: 38,125 euros
ST-Line: 37,825 euros
ST-Line X: 39,625 euros

Prices Ford Kuga 2.5 Plug-in Hybrid 225 hp
Trend: 36,195 euros
Titanium: 37,945 euros
Titanium X: 39.745
ST-Line: 39,695 euros
ST-Line X: 41,495 euros
Vignale: 43,740 euros

Conclusion Ford Kuga review

Ford has a good taste with the new Puma. Just like the Puma, this Ford Kuga is also well put together. Ford has thought carefully about what matters to customers. So no difficult menus, but just physical buttons where necessary. The increased exterior dimensions make the Ford Kuga a particularly spacious SUV. In addition, this car is quiet and comfortable and it steers surprisingly well.

Cheap PHEV

Now that Ford even has a PHEV variant in its range that is cheaper than the most expensive petrol version, you could also opt for a plug-in hybrid as a private individual. In this case, you do not have to spend more euros first and then recoup the extra investment in the longer term. You can immediately start saving on your gas bill. As long as you realize that you have to charge a Kuga PHEV to take full advantage of the powertrain. In terms of price, this Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid is very interesting, because with 225 hp it is just as strong as the Opel Grandland X Hybrid, but it is a bit more expensive at 42,899 euros. A gift from the state is that with a PHEV you will receive a fifty percent discount on the regular road tax in 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024. And if you don’t like the PHEV, then you can work with such an EcoBoost power source.

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