Used Ford Kuga buyer’s guide: reviews, trim levels, reliability and how much you should pay

Used Ford Kuga buyer’s guide: reviews, trim levels, reliability and how much you should pay
Used Ford Kuga buyer’s guide: reviews, trim levels, reliability and how much you should pay

When the crossover and soft-roader market exploded in the late noughties, major player Ford couldn’t afford to be left behind and the Kuga small SUV was born.

The model has proved popular across Europe and Ford has announced an all-new, third generation Kuga this year, the first of its now extensive European SUV line-up to be redesigned on the manufacturer’s global C2 architecture.

With a more sculpted look, along the same lines as the new Fiesta and Focus hatchbacks, and a full range of mild, full and plug-in hybrid powertrains, it’s a much-needed update to a car that visually has changed very little between the first and second generation.

2019 Ford Kuga plugged into a charging station
2019 Ford Kuga plug-in hybrid

Despite the new model  in the wings, there’s a lot to be said for the Kuga on the second-hand market, with hardy, well-equipped, bargain-basement first generation models at the low end, early second generation models in the middle price bracket and face-lifted nearly-new, 19-plate second generations powered by excellent, modern Ford engines at the top.

Being a Ford, replacement parts are generally cheap and there are lots of examples to choose from on second hand forecourts.

Here’s our guide to the top-selling SUV in Ford’s European line-up.

First generation (2008-2012)

2008 Ford Kuga

Chunky, sporty-looking and still recognisably a relation of the current generation car 11 years on, higher-specced models still hold-up alongside competitors half their age.

Inside, it’s a cross between its contemporary Focus and Mondeo stablemates and equipment levels in Titanium and Titanium X trims mean you’ll only want for the more modern infotainment and driver assistance add-ons present on later models.

This early iteration comes with the most powerful available engine option in a Kuga; the 2.5-litre petrol unit retired in future models. 

On the down side, the 2008 – 2012 Kuga recently came second in a list of the 10 least reliable used cars on sale in the UK.

Trim levels

  • Zetec (entry level)
  • Titanium
  • Titanium X

Engines

  • 2.0-litre TDCi 138bhp
  • 2.0-litre TDCi 160bhp
  • 2.5-litre petrol, 197bhp

Any recalls?

A car with full service history and serviced regularly should have had any remedial action for vehicle recalls carried out. Here are the ones to be aware of for this model: 

What you’ll pay

This will vary depending on mileage, condition, standard car spec and options – but expect to see cars in the region of £2,500 and £9,000 on second hand forecourts.

Second generation, pre-face lift (2012-2016)

2012 ford kuga
2012 Ford Kuga SUV

Ford ditched the powerful 2.5-litre petrol engine and replaced it with a more modern, more efficient 1.6-litre EcoBoost unit for the second-generation car. The 177bhp version of that engine can only be had with all-wheel drive and the – at the time new – powershift automatic gearbox. The diesel line-up was unchanged while the exterior received an overhaul and a more premium appearance. Handling and ride were comfort-focused rather than sporty and, as with the first generation, equipment levels on Titanium and upward were strong.

Ford introduced Titanium Sport and Titanium Sport X model later in the cycle, with a sportier focus.

Reviews

Ford Kuga Titanium X Sport review

Trim levels

  • Zetec (Entry level)
  • Titanium
  • Titanium Sport
  • Titanium X
  • Titanium X Sport

Engines

  • 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol, 148bhp
  • 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol, 177bhp
  • 2.0-litre TDCi 138bhp
  • 2.0-litre TDCi 160bhp

Any recalls?

A car with full service history and serviced regularly should have had any remedial action for vehicle recalls carried out. Here are the ones to be aware of for this model: 

  • Insulation material around Front seatbelt pretensioner in cars manufactured between 2012 and 2014, risk of fire if not remedied.
  • Overheating around engine cylinder could cause crack. Risk of fire if not remedied on cars manufactured between 2010 and 2014
  • Overheating in diesel models could cause a breach in the oil sump. Models manufactured between 2014 and 2015
  • Airbag inflator may be defective in models manufactured between 2015 and 2016 causing side bags to not inflate in an accident.
  • Clutch pressure plate may break and propulsion may be lost if this happens while the car is in motion. Models manufactured between 2014 and 2018

What you’ll pay

This will vary depending on mileage, condition, standard car spec and options –  but expect to see cars in the region of £5,000 – £13,000 on the second-hand market.

Second Generation, post-face lift (2016-2019)

2016 Ford Kuga
2016 Ford Kuga SUV

The second generation Kuga received a major mid-life overhaul in 2016. Cosmetically, the front grille was drastically remodelled to bring the car into line with the larger Edge SUV the new flagship of the line-up.

The engine line-up was completely overhauled too. The petrol Ecoboost engine lost a cylinder and there’s a less powerful 120bhp option plus a more powerful 182bhp version available.

A more efficient, 1.5-litre diesel option was added and the two-litre TDCi options received an update and a resulting extra 10bhp each, compared with the previous units.

Inside the update brought the excellent Sync 3 infotainment system and a host of modern convenience systems and electronic driver aids.

Finally, the trim levels were completely reorganised with a dual hierarchy (one sporty, one comfort-led) starting with Titanium edition or ST-Line (depending on whether or not you want a comfort-orientated or sporty car.

The cherry on the top of the cake is the Vignale edition – the ultra-luxurious, premium option.

Reviews

Ford Kuga ST-Line X review

Ford Kuga Titanium X review

Ford Kuga ST-Line AWD Review

Ford Kuga Vignale Review

Ford Kuga ST-Line Edition review

Trim levels

  • Zetec (entry level)
  • Titanium Edition ( non-sporty)
  • Titanium X
  • Titanium X Edition
  • ST-line (sporty)
  • ST-Line Edition
  • ST-Line X
  • Vignale

Engines

  • 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol, 120bhp
  • 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol, 148bhp
  • 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol, 176bhp
  • 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol, 182bhp
  • 1.5-litre TDCi 120bhp
  • 2.0-litre TDCi 148bhp
  • 2.0-litre TDCi 178bhp

Any recalls?

A car with full service history and serviced regularly should have had any remedial action for vehicle recalls carried out. Here are the ones to be aware of for this model: 

What you’ll pay

This will vary depending on mileage, condition, standard car spec and options – but expect to see cars in the region of £9,000 – £24,000 second hand and between £23,375 – £33,710 brand-new.

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