The Ford Kuga was introduced in the UK in the summer of 2008. There was only one engine made available at the time, a 2 litre TDCi diesel with 134bhp and just two trim levels were offered: The Ford Kuga Zetec and Titanium. The used Ford Kuga features the "Intelligent AWD system" which controls the distribution of power between the front and rear wheels to maximise traction.
6 months after the original launch the range was extended, a lower priced front wheel drive version of the 2.0 litre diesel model was released, as was a petrol 2.5 litre turbocharged version with optional automatic gear box.
Summer 2010 saw a more powerful 2.0 litre diesel engine (138bhp) replace the original and an even more powerful 161bhp slot in above that. Only the 138bhp could be ordered with front wheel drive but all versions were offered with Ford's PowerShift twin-clutch gearbox for an extra £1,500.
Bang for your buck
Kugas look good, Ford having managed to strike the right balance between 4x4 ruggedness and urban style. It is sleeker than most of its rival compact 4x4s and feels much more at home in the urban environment.
Inside, the approved Ford Kuga is surprisingly small without the clever storage options found in many of its competitors. There's room in the back for the kids but adults will find it a struggle over any significant distances and will need to watch their heads when getting in and out.
In terms of space, the used Ford Kuga has a capacity of 410 litres with the seats up, however, folding down the second row of seats increases this to a generous 1355 litres.
What you'll pay
The most commonly available used Ford Kuga cars for sale are 2.0 litre TDCi models with four wheel drive. Prices start at around £14500 for a 2008 TDCi Zetec and an extra £1700 gets you the plusher Titanium trim. 2009 models are still reaching up to £17000 of their original £22000 asking price. Kugas seem to have held their value well so far.
What to check
Due to a fault with the air-intake pipe some early Ford Kugas were recalled. This should mean that the fault has been eradicated but it is worth checking that it has been done before purchasing. You should also check that any second hand Ford Kuga has not been used off-road too much by checking the underneath of the car for scrapes and dents. It isn't designed as to be used off-road and if you find one that looks like it has been - avoid it. There will be plenty of others around that have only been used on the road.
Replacement parts are abundant and fairly inexpensive as you would expect from a Ford. For example, you will pay around £40 for a front brake disc and around £35 for a rear one for the 2008 HDCi model. A fuel filter is around £15 and a full clutch assembly will set you back £200.
How it drives
The Ford Kuga is great on the road. It handles well and the ride is smooth if fairly unexciting. There's not much noticeable difference in the performances of the early 134bhp and later 138bhp engines. Nor is there between the later 138bhp and 161bhp options. This means that you may as well stick with the less powerful options and save on fuel economy, a choice many buyers opted for at the time new Kugas were available.
The 138bhp engine gives a reasonable 47mpg in its four wheel drive version and 48mpg as a two wheel drive. Four wheel drive Kugas feature a full-time intelligent AWD system. This sends 95% of the generated torque to the front wheels up to the point where slippage is detected and more drive is redirected to the rear. Those less interested in maximising the available traction could opt for the two wheel drive models which are slightly lighter but only by 40kg or so.
The turbocharged 2.5 litre petrol engine yields 198bhp and gives a much sportier drive but what you gain in fun you lose in fuel economy as this version gives only 28 miles per gallon.
Overall the used Ford Kuga is a good-looking and reliable compact 4x4. It isn't as spacious as many of its rivals but it drives well and its 2.0 litre HDCi engine is reliable and reasonably efficient.