Ford Kuga 2013 Review

The latest incarnation of the Ford Kuga sees a whole host of changes to pretty much every aspect of the car. A bold new look and a whole host of gadgetry have been included to make this appeal to a more global market. The Kuga will be sold in North America, Europe and Asia in virtually the same guise across all three markets.

What Types of Kuga are out there?

Ford will be releasing the 2013 Kuga in February with four engine options – two petrols and two diesels. A 1.6T EcoBoost engine with 150 and 180PS in petrol, and the 2.0TDCi in 140 and 163PS for the diesel. Transmissions will depend on the model, but 6 speed manual, auto and PowerShift boxes are available. There will be three specification models, the Zetec, Titanium and range topping Titanium X.


Ford Kuga 2013 Interior and Tech

It’s 2013, trust me, it is, so as you would expect from a forward thinking manufacturer such as Ford, the new Kuga is very well equipped. You will find many decent features inside split across the 3 different models. Unsurprisingly some of the very best gadgets are optional extras which can soon add up. Things like the touchscreen navigation (yes, we eventually have touch), rear view parking camera, heated front seats etc are all features that need to be bolted on or available in the top of the range Titanium X model.

Ford also include their SYNC software which is powered by Microsoft. Think of it as Siri for your car but with a slightly better repertoire of commands. Hook your smartphone up via Bluetooth and you can make calls, have text messages read to you, play music and for all the bad drivers out there, there is even an emergency call feature. Simply put, the Kuga will recognise when you have crashed the car and instead of trying to find your phone whilst laying on the roof, SYNC will call the emergency services for you. Please note, crashing your car to find out if this actually works is not a good idea – we will just take Fords word that it does exactly what it says in the tin.

One of the best ‘outside-of-the-box-thinking’ features is the automatic tailgate that is activated by waving your foot underneath the rear bumper. A really useful feature that will certainly appeal to Fords target market, who in Europe is a guy called James who has a family and likes snowboarding – my name isn’t James but I do like Snowboarding and live in Europe (spooky?). It will also be a god send when you have your arms full of shopping and don’t want to put anything down in the rain!


Ford Kuga Exterior

The Kuga is a good looking car and will appeal across the globe in its key markets. The new model brings a bold new look which we like, but with more expensive players in the market (like the Range Rover Evoque) it was a tough task to come in as the best looking SUV. After spending a day with the Kuga we felt it was good looking enough without quite being inspiring. When we were taking some shots on the seafront we did have several people stop and take a good look around the car so it certainly grabbed a few of the locals in Valencia attention.

What is the Kuga like to Drive?

Ford have made the 2013 version 81mm longer and when you first get into the car it certainly feels big. A high drive position thanks to the large wheel clearance puts you above other cars on the road. It’s fair to say that the Kuga was never created to be a pure drivers car. It rolled around the corners a bit too much when driving at speed and wasn’t the nippiest around the city streets. It seems to have lost its sporty-edge from the previous model. However, if you were looking for power and performance you would be looking in different areas of the SUV market.

The spacious interior and driver aids make it a very family-friendly car. Your passengers will travel in comfort and if this is what you’re looking for you are looking at the right car. Compared to the Ford Focus ST we drove last year we could easily go for the estate version which delivers the same level of practicality but brings a great driving experience and of course that element of speed and fun.


Ford Kuga 2013 Review Verdict

The new Kuga is a marked improvement on the previous version, delivering an array of gadgets and tech to satisfy the ‘modern man’ (whoever he is). It’s spacious throughout and provides enough space for virtually everything you could throw at it – children, snowboards, mountain bikes and shopping will all fit into the spacious boot and rear passenger area with ease. The Microsoft powered SYNC system works well (but by no means perfect) and the tailgate kick assist is a nice feature. It certainly isn’t the best driving car in this market but was it ever built to be? Think of it as a quality SUV designed for a modern lifestyle without blowing your socks off.

Ford Kuga 2013 available from £21,900 OTR with prices rising to £26,400 for the Titanium X model.

Review Model Stats:
Ford Kuga Titanium 1.6T EcoBoost, Price £22,545; 0-62mph 9.7sec; Top speed 121mph; Economy 42.8mpg; CO2 155g/km; Kerb weight 2250kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1597cc, turbo, petrol; Power 150PS; Torque 240Nm; Gearbox 6-spd manual.