Ford Kuga II,  the sequel to one of the first cars in the crossover segment. Did Ford improve the recipe or did they botch the 2nd season? Is the Ford Kuga II a worthy crossover or is it just a Ford Transit with windows?

 I said it in the article about the first generation, I’m saying it here: The Ford Kuga II was made by Ford with the same care with which Jeremy Clarkson choses his words. So the engineers jumped into Ford’s parts dumpster and assembled a car. And so they brought yet another cross-over for the market, to take your eyes and money. Maybe you’re scared of the price of an X3 or the reliability of a Tiguan and want something different, but you also don’t seem too eager for a Duster either, and you’ve never heard of Koleos in your life. So you go for a crossover you know nothing about, but which is different from your neighbour’s Tiguan. Just like the neighbour’s Tiguan instead, the Ford Kuga II is built on the platform of a compact car, in this case, the Ford Focus III. Even the engines are lifted straight from the Ford Focus III. Ford Kuga II – the official car of the employee who is paid minimum wage and so gives minimum effort.


At least it’s big, good-looing, comfortable (provided it doesn’t sit on 18 or 19″ wheels), it comes with economical engines, it’s Ford (for some people it matters) and it comes with an hands-free tailgate – the Ford Kuga II was THE first car in it’s segment to come with such an option. So it still remains a car for those who want a crossover but don’t know exactly what they want. All they know is that they want something different from their neighbour’s Tiguan, but not too different either. Even if it’s a bigger car and not necessarily more reliable. But if you want a car with a higher driving position that’s bigger and more imposing than a Focus, then a Kuga is still a good car for the kind of person who knows nothing about cars and doesn’t want to know either. But at least they’ve got the “Ford One” thing down, with this generation of Kuga also being sold in America as the Ford Escape, as well as in the rest of the world like Russia, India, Australia and other crazy places. They’re not quite as beautiful as Birminghan, but they’re beautiful countries.


Ford Kuga II Engines


  • 1.5 EcoBoost 150 horsepower  – This engine lived under the hood of the Ford Kuga II for exactly 6 minutes, then was replaced by the 1.6 EcoBoost. You could say it’s a more reliable idea and remains an excellent choice even for this Ford Transit Connect with windows ( they are built on the same platform)
  • 1.6 EcoBoost 150 and 182 horsepower – When it comes the 1.5 EcoBoost and the 1.6 EcoBoost 150 horsepower debate I’ll let you fight amongst yourselves, but the 182 horsepower animal is something else. The first units had injector issues, but the issue has since been resolved and you should have no reason to get carry Entresto with you all the time.
  • 2.0 EcoBoost of 239 horsepower  – Available only on the 4×4 version, you’d think it’d be a reliable engine like the rest of the family. And you’d be wrong. But with a 239-horsepower 2.0 turbo, maintenance costs are irrelevant.



2.0 TDCI of 140, 150, 163 and 180 horsepower – Most likely most europeans will run to this 2.0 diesel like spanish people run at the Encierro, confident they’ve made a safe and wise choice. Are they? Serious clutch issues, dual mass flywheel geting tired prematurely, particle filter and spark plugs shutting down faster than you when you take 2 shots of “Brain Damage” – Jagermeister, Vodka and Dry Gin. Ah yes, if you want the full “Brain Damage” experience, pour in some absinth. Basically I wouldn’t drive this engine around town too much, or I would get atleast one of the issues mentioned.



Ford Kuga II General Issues

  • For those snobs who paid extra for the Bluetooth connectivity, you should expect a classic Ford surprise. Envious of the N-Sync band singing them “Bye! Bye! Bye!” to kids back in the ’90s, Ford came up with their own system called Ford Sync. Not singing “Bye! Bye! Bye!” to the kids, but to the battery of the Ford Kuga II. The idea is that even after you turn off the engine, the Bluetooth module stays active and will search for phones to connect to until the battery runs out. The issue is solved with a software update at the dealership.
  • And while we’re on the subject of electronics, the Ford Kuga II suffers the same issue as the Ford Mondeo IV and the windows can start moving randomly, even if the car is not started. It would be a great shame to experience this while it’s raining or while you’re on holiday and the car is left in the car park at home. But atleast in the UK the rain is a rare event so that’s one concern less.
  • The front suspension seems to be more sensitive and fragile than the people leaving comments in the Opel Insignia A article.
  • The famous PowerShift is also on the Kuga II and is ready to destroy your oppinion of Ford, your car and your bank account. Or better yet buy a Kuga with a manual gearbox and sleep sound at night.
  • I mentioned earlier that the Ford Kuga II was one of the first cars to almost have an hands free tailgate. I say almost had hands free tailgate because it doesn’t work all the time and often you’ll just have a manually operated tailgate.


Ford Kuga II Verdict

The Ford Kuga II represents a bold attempt at bravery from Ford. The first Kuga was based on a cookbook written by bored chefs who know that “Hell’s Kitchen” has little to do with reality. The kind of chef who spins pizza or stirrs soups all day. Still, he manages to make mundane food absolutely decent, and that’s exactly what the first Kuga was. And now, the second generation of Kuga is the same simple, by-the-book, half-hearted potato soup with added spices and maybe even some meat. It’s still a safe choice for people who don’t splash out, but who can now still have something more interesting than a Ford Transit Connect with windows. I have nothing against these people, they are just people who wanted something different from their neighbour’s Tiguan, just like Mondeo owners wanted something different from their neighbour’s Passat.

Which engine do you recommend? The Ford Kuga II is a crossover and should be treated as such. A city car based on a compact, so my recommendation is for the 150 horsepower 1.6 EcoBoost engine with front-wheel drive and manual gearbox. Relatively cheap, good, reliable and suited to city life. Sure, in the meantime the Ford EcoSport has come along, but until then the Ford Kuga was king.