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Ford Kuga 1.5 EcoBoost ST-Line X 5dr

  • Manual
  • Petrol
  • 42.2 mpg
  • 5 door suv
  • 154 g/km CO2
  • 154 g/km CO2 emissions
  • 42.2 mpg Fuel efficiency
  • 9.5 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 150 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

Ford's third generation Kuga gets a far-reaching update, with smarter looks and key engineering changes for the Hybrid models. There's a much smarter, better-connected cabin. And this mid-sized SUVs towing and off road capability's been improved. All useful changes. If you're shopping in this sector, this is still a car you very much need to consider.


It took Ford a long time to come up with a truly class-competitive range of SUVs. But with the company's model line-up now almost completely made up of combustion or EV cars of this type, it surely needs that now. Here, we're looking at the updated version of the third generation mid-sized Kuga; which sits just above the little Puma and was originally introduced in 2020. This model line dates back to the first generation C394-series Kuga of 2008, which was then updated with a MK2 C520-series design in 2014. This MK3 version introduced Hybrid and PH EV power to Kuga customers and continues on that theme here. It's 'C2' Focus-derived platform doesn't allow for a full-EV version - and doesn't need to because Ford now has its electric Explorer model to fill that niche in this part of the market. So instead, the Kuga gets a smarter look, a redesigned cabin and a bit more sophistication.

Driving Experience

Some boxes have been ticked here - others not. The availability four-wheel drive drifted out of the pre-facelift version of this MK3 Kuga: here it's back as an option for the 180PS Hybrid (FHEV) powertrain (which boosts power fractionally to 183PS). Unfortunately, you still can't have 4WD on the still front-driven-only PHEV variant, but that model does now get a more powerful electric motor (taking total power to 243PS) and a 14.4kWh battery that now allows for a much longer EV driving range (almost 43 miles). What the line-up really needed though, was a more efficient replacement for the entry-level 150PS 1.5-litre EcoBoost petrol unit - a unit which continues unchanged. Diesel drifted out of the pre-facelift line-up just after launch and hasn't returned. Thrashing around for a unique Kuga selling point, Ford has seized upon towing capability, engineering Hybrid and PHEV versions of this car to tow up to 2,100kg, a best-in-class figure. For reference, a Volkswagen Tiguan can tow up to 2,000kg, Kia's Sportage just 1,500kg. Special sat nav functionality allows owners to enter the dimensions of their car and trailer, then the software will plan a route avoiding low bridges tight corners: neat. The other reason you might choose a Kuga is much as before: it remains one of the more engaging mid-sized SUVs to drive. Which means you can make the most of the quite eager performance: engage the sportiest drive mode and the 4WD Hybrid makes 62mph in 8.3 seconds, nearly half a second quicker than the front-driven Hybrid version. It's manual transmission only for the base 1.5. All other Kugas get a CVT automatic. Off-road ability has been enhanced too - well it has if you opt for the new 'Active' variant, which has a ride height raised by 10mm at the front and 5mm at the rear. This version also gains an extra 'Trail' driving mode, which optimises traction control and throttle response for progress on different surfaces.

Design and Build

The visual changes go a little further than the usual facelift wash and brush-up. The most obvious differences are at the front, which features redesigned headlamps and a reprofiled grille. As before, the front end look varies quite a bit with trim choice; chrome for 'Titanium' spec and body-coloured accents for the 'ST Line' variants. The top 'ST Line X' further adds red brake calipers. Smarter tail lamps, different alloy wheel designs and a fresh palette of colours complete the exterior changes. Arguably of greater significance are the updates inside. As part of the media upgrade to its latest SYNC4 infotainment set-up, Ford has added a much larger 13.2-inch central touchscreen. It has fewer physical buttons flanking the monitor and includes cloud-based navigation, over-the-air updates, a 5G data connection and wireless 'Apple CarPlay and 'Android Auto', along with Amazon Alexa. The 12.3-inch digital instrument display you view through the wheel is also new, featuring graphics that change with the selected drive mode. Not so good is the fact that all physical climate controls (bar the windscreen demister) been moved to the central touchscreen. That demister's function button now sits alongside the switchgear that was previously on the centre console (for the rear view camera and drive modes). Which has freed up space for an extra centre console cubby. As before, for rear seat passengers, the entire second row of seats can be moved backwards for best-in-class 1,035mm rear legroom, or forwards to increase boot space by 67-litres. A remote release function enables the second row to be folded flat with ease. Out back, there's a 475-litre boot (it's 411-litres with the PHEV model), which can be extended to 1,534-litres (1,481-litres PHEV).

Market and Model

Pricing theoretically start from around £32,000, but that's for the entry-level 'Titanium' version hardly anyone will want because it comes only with the base 1.5-litre EcoBoost engine and base trim. More typical Kuga models are priced in the £38,000-£41,000 bracket and are available to 'ST-Line', 'ST-Line X' and 'Active' forms. The base 1.5-litre unit is the only one available with manual transmission. As for equipment, base 'Titanium' spec gets you the basics: 17-inch alloy wheels, full-LED headlamps, LED tail lamps, silver roof rails, power-folding mirrors, rear privacy glass, keyless entry, a 'Quickclear' heated windscreen, cruise control, all-round parking sensors and a rear view camera. Inside, you get the full media upgrade - a 13-inch SYNC4 centre touchscreen and a 12.3-inch instrument cluster. Plus Electronic Automatic Temperature Control and second row sliding seats. All other Kuga models get black roof rails, a hands-free powered tailgate, a 360-degree camera, extra camera safety features and power-adjustable front seats. The most popular version will be the 'ST-Line' grade, which gets 18-inch alloy wheels with red brake calipers, sports suspension, a body styling kit and power-adjustable Sensico-upholstered sports seats with black neosuede inserts and red stitching. 'ST-Line X'-spec adds larger 19-inch wheels, a power-opening panorama roof and heat for the front and rear seats and steering wheel. The 'Active' version gets active lifted suspension.

Cost of Ownership

Obviously, the ultimate option in terms of efficiency is the Plug-in Hybrid 2.5 Duratec PHEV version, which records an official WLTP fuel figure of up to 313.9mpg and a WLTP-rated CO2 reading of up to 21g/km. That's provided you keep the battery fully charged, which takes three and a half hours from a 7.4kW wallbox or six hours from a domestic socket. As you might expect, the 2.5 Hybrid is next up in terms of effeciency, managing up to 46.6mpg and up to 123g/km of CO2 in front-driven form. The Hybrid 4WD version manages up to 47.1mpg and 133g/km. The conventional 1.5 EcoBlue 150PS front-driven version manages up to 42.2mpg and a best of 145g/km of CO2. As for other stuff you'll need to know, well these days, the three year/60,000 mile Ford warranty looks pretty unremarkable, but in the first year, you do get unlimited mileage UK and European roadside cover and unlimited paint cover. There's also a 12 year unlimited mileage perforation warranty. There's also the 'Ford Service App' that you can download to your phone for free. It lets you locate your nearest dealer to make maintenance bookings, plus as a bonus, the app can help you find petrol stations and even has a 'Park Me' feature that remembers where you left the car, to save hunting for it in busy multi-storeys.


The MK3 Kuga needed an injection of quality, technology and personality and this mid-term update provides at least some of what was previously missing in all these three areas. You might not feel the reprofiled looks are much of a step forward but you can't argue with the merits of the more sophisticated SYNC4 infotainment system, which headlines the changes made to the now much more appealing cabin. As for engineering, well as before the returns of the base 1.5-litre variant and the Hybrid version are bettered by obvious rivals, but the PHEV model's now far more class-competitive. And Ford's emphasis on improved towing capability will strike a chord with quite a few likely customers. As will the now more SUV-orientated 'Active' version. In summary then, it's clear that the Blue Oval brand now means business when it comes to this class of SUV. And if you doubt that, then you need to try this one.

  • Ford easy fuel
  • Hands free power tailgate
  • B&O premium audio system with 10 speakers, subwoofer and 2 USB ports
  • Black roof rails
  • Body colour bumpers
  • Large rear spoiler
  • Pop out door edge protectors
  • Power opening panoramic roof
  • Rear side wing doors
  • ST-Line body styling kit
  • Partial premium touch sensico upholstery
  • Driver assistance pack with intelligent adaptive cruise control - Kuga
  • Winter pack - Kuga
  • 3x3 point rear seatbelts
  • Airbags - front driver/passenger, front and rear curtain
  • Drivers knee airbag
  • Evasive steering assist
  • Ford MyKey Gen 2 safety system
  • Manual child proof rear door locks
  • Rear seat Occupancy alert
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Engine immobiliser
  • Keyless entry and Ford power start button
  • Locking wheel nuts
  • Remote powered central double locking doors
  • Thatcham category 1 alarm
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 154
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEH: 154
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEL: 145
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - TEH: 157
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High - TEL: 146
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - TEH: 130
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High - TEL: 123
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - TEH: 214
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low - TEL: 210
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - TEH: 144
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium - TEL: 136
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1498
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Cylinders: 3
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 84
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 90
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Gears: 6 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 12
  • Transmission: MANUAL
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 6.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEH: 6.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEL: 6.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 6.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 5.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 9.4
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 6.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 42.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEH: 42.2
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEL: 44.1
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 40.9
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 49.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 30.1
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 44.8
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.5
  • Badge Power: 150
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: EcoBoost
  • Coin Series: ST-Line X
  • Generation Mark: 3
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 18E
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 24
  • Service Interval Mileage: 18000
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Timing Belt Interval Frequency - Months: N
  • Timing Belt Interval Mileage: N
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 9.5
  • Engine Power - BHP: 150
  • Engine Power - KW: 110
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 177
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 24.5
  • Engine Torque - NM: 240
  • Top Speed: 121
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 225/55 R19
  • Tyre Size Rear: 225/55 R19
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 19" ALLOY
  • Height: 1623
  • Length: 4615
  • Wheelbase: 2711
  • Width: 1882
  • Width (including mirrors): 2177
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 54
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2075
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1534
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 645
  • Max. Loading Weight: 624
  • Max. Roof Load: 75
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1730
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1451
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11.4