The fashion for European crossovers has exceeded the expectations of many manufacturers to such an extent that at some point even Ford decided to build its own car. Is the first generation Kuga a successful design?
First, a few facts from the history. Ford in America has no problems building and selling large SUVs, but in Europe it did not have its own design for a long time.
Here the market looks different and has been dominated by cars from Japan. The Maverick offered before the Kuga is a Mazda-designed model.
Interestingly, it was still manufactured in the USA by Ford. In fact, it is a design known as the Mazda Tribute, and overseas as the Ford Escape. Before that, the Maverick was an off-road vehicle built by Nissan and also sold as the Nissan Terrano II.
Ford Kuga MK1 Characteristics and design of the model
The Ford Kuga is an independent Ford design. The car was designed according to the principles of Kinetic Design.
Its premiere took place in 2008, shortly after the presentation of models such as Mondeo III and S-Max. The front part of the body is deceptively similar to the design of both the Mondeo and the facelift Focus 2.
At the same time, a slightly different design of the dashboard was proposed, which in materials resembles the Mondeo and Focus, but differs in shape.
The interior is not particularly spacious, although the wheelbase is 2690 mm – typically compact, but large. The luggage compartment volume, ranging from 360 to 1,355 liters, is also compact.
The cabin can comfortably accommodate four people, not five, and in addition, those sitting in the back should not be too tall and long-legged. As befits this segment, the Kuga is a comfortable city car rather than a long-haul, roomy road cruiser.
The advantage of the model sold in UK and US is their rich equipment, including dual-zone air conditioning, radio and full electrics.
A useful gadget is also a 230 V socket, to which you can connect a laptop or other device with little power consumption.
The Kuga was built on a slightly modified Ford Focus II platform. It is therefore not difficult to expect a fairly extensive, but confidently driving suspension.
Of course, at the front we have the MacPherson at our disposal, and the multi-link rear axle, colloquially speaking, does the job.
To this day, the first-generation Kuga is considered by many to be the best-handling compact crossover on the market.
In addition, the automatically engaged third-generation four-wheel drive with Haldex clutch helps in difficult situations. In the field, it makes up for inadequate suspension with not very long travel.
The bodywork is also not very good for off-road excursions. Despite this, Kuga is not inferior to many rivals. It has a ground clearance of 195 mm and a wading depth of 450 mm.
The history of the Ford Kuga MK1 in a nutshell:
- 2008 – model debut
- 2010 – facelift (new lights, dual-clutch automatic, refreshed diesels)
- 2013 – presentation of the Kuga II
Ford Kuga MK1 Engines
The choice of engine in this car does not suit Ford, which always treats this subject cross-sectionally. On the other hand, the manufacturer did not really care about engines that do not fit this car and which will not sell.
That is why the offer was mainly diesels 2.0 TDCi engine with 136 HP (after facelift 140 HP) and a more powerful version with 163 HP. The engines are very similar, basically the same in terms of structure and operation.
The only petrol that was offered in Kuga was a 5-cylinder 2.5 engine produced by Volvo, which reaches 200 HP. Kuga with this bike is, in a way, a sports version of this car.
What’s Problems of Ford Kuga MK1?
We ignore the topic of choosing the right engine right away, because they are extremely different engine and the choice is primarily a matter of taste. They are all good and recommended, so the decision depends only on your preferences.
- The gasoline engine is a well-known and refined Volvo design, one of the best in its class on the market. In our engine ranking, we found it simply the best. It is very durable and reliable, and as a testament to how good the engine is, the fact remains that Ford chose it to power the previous Focus RS and ST.
- In addition to being a modern bike that has been discontinued solely due to exhaust emission standards, it is also a simple and easy-to-repair design.
- The 200-horsepower version, like the one in Kuga, is virtually flawless. The only reasons for any faults are user negligence. Due to the fact that it is a 5-cylinder engine, an allowance should be made for the high cost of some parts or services.
- It is worth knowing that it also works with a dual mass flywheel. Remember to replace the timing belt every 180,000 km. In practice, this distance is best shortened to about 150,000 km. The only serious problem with this engine is fuel consumption oscillating around 10-12 l / 100 km. You cannot complain about the dynamics at all.
- It is a bit different with diesel. It is also a very good, proven engine, designed largely by the PSA concern. We found this engine the best in its class. However, it is expensive to repair, because these happen quite often. It is worth adding here, however, that they are not entirely related to the engine itself.
- The main problem with the diesel Kuga is the diesel particulate filter. Many cars do not have it anymore because problems started early and all kinds of burnouts and repairs usually did not produce the desired effect. In addition, users who use the clutch quite brutally, relatively quickly have to reckon with the need to replace the dual-mass flywheel, which withstands up to 3 times longer mileage in a petrol engine.
- Problems such as wear of the turbocharger or the injection system are, on the one hand, the norm in diesels with high mileage, on the other hand, it is not common in these engines. The biggest worry of a 2.0 TDCI engine user is usually small oil leaks and disturbed operation of the EGR system.
- The Ford Kuga is trouble-free in terms of drive. Gearboxes, including even the Power Shift automatics, are currently hassle-free. The third generation Haldex clutch requires an oil change every 30,000 km. The filter should also be replaced every second time. If this is taken care of, the drive cannot be damaged.
- The suspension of the Kuga is quite similar to that of the Focus. It is relatively cheap to repair and durable, although the rear axle requires a lot of attention. If one component is worn out, a minor geometry problem may arise. It is worth replacing the rear control arms in pairs or even as a set.
- This topic looks a bit different in cars used in the field. If the Kuga runs off-road frequently, expect faster wear to the rear suspension, steering gear, and even minor damage to the chassis.
- The most annoying things about Kuga are the little things, which, however, most users do not care about. For example, seat upholstery and decorative inserts on the dashboard wear out fairly quickly.
- The flaky steering wheel is not very aesthetic, but to remedy this, it is enough to cover it with real leather. The electronics that are part of the car also like to fail.
- The radio and air conditioning hang, and the rear view camera does not always work. It is worth checking all this before buying a car.
Ford Kuga MK1 Operating costs, prices and availability of spare parts
The Ford Kuga is a car that can be considered reliable, and therefore quite cheap to operate. Of course, the basic service will be more expensive than the Focus, but also cheaper than the Mondeo.
Many of the components on the Kuga are from the more famous Ford models, so the aftermarket is well stocked.
Although this Ford crossover is not particularly popular on our roads, there are no problems with its repairs. We recommend only the best specialists to take care of 2.5 T engines.
Ford Kuga MK1 Market situation
There are plenty of post-company cars on the market, but these are not ordinary fleet cars. Many cars were leased and used almost as much as private cars. However, one has to take into account the fact that it was done with the intention of fairly early resale.
You cannot expect low prices for Kuga due to its relatively young age. You can buy a relatively nice car for $10,000 to $11,200, although the cheapest model cost just over $8950. You can buy a Kuga after a facelift for as much as $10,000, but you have to be careful.
Well-equipped and really well-kept cars from 2008–2009 are estimated at up to $12300. You will not pay less than $14500 to $15700 for the last years.
Of course, diesels with a manual gearbox dominate the market. Four-wheel drive is also easy to find. Much easier than the domestic model.
Is it worth to Buying Ford Kuga MK1?
Of course you are, but I advise you to try on this car. You might be surprised to learn that the Kuga is quite cramped with a small trunk, despite being quite small. This is a competitor to the Qashqai described a week ago, which already surpasses Kuga in version +2.
Kuga is a very good construction, quite refined and reliable. As you can see, it is difficult to find any more serious flaws in it, and each engine can be recommended with a clear conscience.
This is a car for people who appreciate driving properties, but are looking for something higher. Something higher is currently in fashion, also on the used car market, so you can expect high prices, but also low value loss.