Ford Kuga

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Ford Kuga
2017 Ford Kuga ST-Line X TDCi 4x4 Automatic 2.0 Front.jpg
Manufacturer Ford Motor Company
Also called Ford Escape
Production 2008–present
Body and chassis
Class Compact SUV
Body style 5-door wagon
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive
Predecessor Ford Escape/Maverick
Successor Ford Escape/Maverick

The Ford Kuga is a compact sport utility vehicle (SUV) produced by Ford since 2008. It is based on the C1 platform, that also forms the underpinnings of the Ford Focus and Ford C-Max. Both front-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive are offered.

First generation (2008–2012)[edit]

First generation
Ford Kuga 20090811 front.JPG
Production February 2008–2013[1]
Assembly Germany: Saarlouis (SB&A)
Body and chassis
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive
Platform Ford C1 platform
Engine 2.0 L Duratorq I4 (diesel)
2.5 L Duratec I5-T (petrol)
Transmission 6-speed manual
5-speed automatic
6-speed PowerShift automatic
Wheelbase 2,690 mm (105.9 in)
Length 4,443 mm (174.9 in)
Width 1,842 mm (72.5 in)
Height 1,710 mm (67.3 in)
Curb weight 1,613 kg (3,556 lb)

The Kuga went on sale in the first half of 2008, and was built at Ford's plant in Saarlouis, Germany. In the United Kingdom, emphasising the car's premium market aspirations, only high end Zetec and Titanium specifications are offered. The combined fuel consumption is 44.1 mpg‑imp (6.41 L/100 km; 36.7 mpg‑US) and the CO2 emissions are 169 g/km.[2] The first generation Kuga was presented in September 2007, having its world premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show.




  • 2.0 L Duratorq, 136 PS (100 kW; 134 hp)
  • 2.0 L Duratorq, 163 PS (120 kW; 161 hp) 4 × 4 and powershift models.

Worldwide markets[edit]

A report from 20 July 2007 indicated Ford executives were considering the prospects of sales in North America.[3] This idea was later scrapped, after it was determined the car could not be sold both competitively priced and at a profit in the United States, due to the current dollar euro exchange rate.

On 24 July 2008, WDIV-TV announced that Ford was reconsidering bringing the Kuga to North America after all. On 22 October 2009, news leaked that Ford would build the Kuga at its Louisville plant, possibly as the 2012 Ford Escape.[4]

On 23 June 2010, Ford announced it would end production of the second generation Escape in 2011 in anticipation of the Kuga's North American launch as the next-generation Escape.[5] The Ford Kuga has also been available in Argentina since 2010; in Japan, South Africa and New Zealand since 2011; and in Australia since March 2012.[6]

A facelift was released in the end of 2010, after being revealed in July 2010.[7]

The redesigned Kuga formed the basis for the 2013 Ford Escape sold in the U.S. Ford announced in May 2010 that it would build unspecified hybrids at a plant in Valencia, Spain and likely offer a hybrid option of both vehicles.[8] The Kuga Hybrid would be Ford's first hybrid to be sold in Europe, though it has sold over 100,000 Escape Hybrids and Mercury Mariner Hybrids in the U.S. since 2004.[9]

Second generation (Code name: C520) (2012–present)[edit]

Second generation
2014 Ford Kuga (TF II MY15) Ambiente EcoBoost 2WD wagon (2014-12-17).jpg
Also called Ford Escape (North and Central America, Australia)
Production 4 April 2012[10]–present (United States)
2013–present (Europe)
Assembly Spain: Valencia (FV)
China: Chongqing (CFM)
Russia: Yelabuga (FS)
United States: Louisville, Kentucky (LAP)
Designer Patrick Verhee, Stefan Lamm, Andrea Di Buduo, Kemal Curic (2010)[11]
Body and chassis
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive
Platform Ford C1 platform
Engine 1.5 L EcoBoost I4-T (petrol)
1.6 L EcoBoost I4-T (petrol)
2.0 L EcoBoost I4-T (petrol)
2.5 L Duratec I4 (petrol)
2.0 L Duratorq I4-T (diesel)
Transmission 6-speed manual
6-speed 6F35 automatic
6-speed PowerShift automatic
Wheelbase 2,690 mm (105.9 in)
Length 4,524 mm (178.1 in)
Width 1,838 mm (72.4 in)
Height 1,702 mm (67.0 in)
Curb weight 1,580–1,707 kg (3,483–3,763 lb)
Ford Kuga Titanium (Australia; pre facelift)
Ford Kuga Titanium TDCi 2.0 (United Kingdom; facelift)
Ford Kuga (Czech Republic; facelift)

The second generation Kuga was primarily developed by Ford of Europe, developed under the "One Ford" policy which stipulates that Ford designs only one model in each segment to be sold globally.[12] The rebadged name Ford Escape is used in North America, replacing the model of the same name there.[12]

The Kuga follows on from the Vertrek concept, developed over nine months at Ford’s Cologne design studio.[13] For the production model, designers and engineers in Cologne were responsible for the body design and C1 platform, the upper body and interior come from Detroit, and powertrains are manufactured by Ford Dagenham.[14]

The patents from January 2011 list the designers as Patrick Verhee, Stefan Lamm, Kemal Curic, Andrea Di Buduo from Ford in Germany.[11][15] Final assembly for European models is conducted at the Ford Valencia Plant in Spain.[14] Ford claims the Kuga and Escape have 80 percent parts commonality.[16]

Ford Kuga engines:



  • 2.0 L Duratorq, 140 PS (103 kW; 138 hp)
  • 2.0 L Duratorq, 163 PS (120 kW; 161 hp)
  • 2.0 L Duratorq, 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp)
  • 2.0 L Duratorq, 180 PS (132 kW; 178 hp)

Ford Europe debuted the facelift model at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 2016.[17]

Ford Escape[edit]

The third generation Escape is largely identical to the Ford Kuga.[18] It was first shown at the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show. Two EcoBoost inline four cylinder turbocharged engines are offered. The basic engine is a 2.5 litre naturally aspirated inline-four engine. The new Escape is the first Ford vehicle to offer a new 1.6 litre unit. In the process of revamping the Escape's engine lineup, both the Hybrid model with its 2.5 litre Atkinson powertrain and the 3.0 litre V6 engine have been dropped.

Ford claims that the fuel economy of the new 1.6 litre EcoBoost engine will match that of the previous Ford Escape Hybrid, while the new 2.0 litre engine produces more torque than the current V6 unit. The transmission is a six speed automatic.[18] The new generation of the Ford Escape is 10 percent more aerodynamic than the previous generation[19]

Also new for the model year of 2013 is MyFord Touch, which is currently available on many Ford vehicles. The newest software version of the MyFord Touch System will offer an all-new user interface and additional features.

Another new feature is the optional hands free liftgate. A person carrying the keyless entry transmitter can raise his or her foot under the rear bumper of the Escape to remotely open the tailgate.[18] This feature will also be available on the Ford C-Max Hybrid later in the year, and was introduced on that vehicle in Europe.

The Ford C-Max Hybrid replaced the Escape's hybrid model.

Eco friendly seat fabrics are standard on lower trim levels, as well as the vehicle's carpeting being mostly constructed from recycled plastic water bottles. This allows the new Escape to be mostly recyclable at the end of its life cycle.[citation needed]

The Escape was offered with front wheel drive in the S trim level, and front wheel drive or all wheel drive in the SE, SEL, and Titanium trim levels. The 2013 Ford Escape production began 11 April. The production of the 2012 Ford Escape ended on 28 April 2012, overlapping slightly in production with the 2013 model due to plant issues, with limited availability of the model year 2012 Ford Escape vehicles being available at Ford showrooms.

As of May 2012, the third generation Escape became available at most dealerships across the United States, and was introduced in Canada starting June. The SEL trim was discontinued after the model year of 2013, so the standard features on the base of MSRP of the SEL trim became optional on the SE trim level for the model year 2014.

For the model year of 2015 in the United States and Canada, Ford updated the standard naturally aspirated 2.5 litre four cylinder's specification to 168 hp (125 kW) and 170 lb⋅ft (230 N⋅m) of torque.

On 18 November 2015, Ford unveiled a re freshened update of the Escape, which went on sale in the beginning of 2016 as a model for 2017. The refresh added an Edge inspired front fascia while tweaking the rear end that now sports reshaped LED taillights and a newly adopted two slat, hexagonal grille. The interior is also adjusted slightly in the cabin area and on the steering wheel.

The Sync 3 infotainment system is added as a new feature, along with a new smartphone app called Sync Connect, which allows owners to remotely monitor their vehicle, check fuel levels, lock and unlock doors, and start the engine. The 2.5 and 2.0 EcoBoost engine line up were joined by a new 179 hp (133 kW) 1.5 litre, turbocharged four cylinder option, replacing the 1.6L.[20]

Ford engineers promise additional refinement to the 2017 Escape, particularly as evidenced by extremely low road and wind noise levels. The doors and B pillars are insulated, the front wheel wells lined and acoustic glass used for the side windows. There are also new seals for the windshield and hood. The new Escape showcased a number of new to it features from little things like faster charging USB ports to an app that lets you unlock the vehicle and start the engine through your smartphone.

Dubbed Sync Connect, this feature helps you locate the vehicle in a crowded parking lot, check the fuel level and be alerted when service is due. A number of driver assist features will be available: enhanced park assist, lane-keeping, forward collision warning and adaptive cruise control.[21]

Production of the facelifted 2017 Ford Escape started on 18 March 2016, at the Louisville, Kentucky assembly plant.[22]


National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 2013 Ford Escape FWD Crash Ratings[23]
  • Overall: 4/5 stars
  • Frontal driver: 4/5 stars
  • Frontal passenger: 4/5 stars
  • Side driver: 5/5 stars
  • Side passenger: 5/5 stars
  • Side pole driver: 5/5 stars
  • Rollover: 4/5 stars

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) scores[24]
Moderate overlap frontal offset Good[25]
Small overlap frontal offset Acceptable[26]
Side impact Good[27]
Roof strength Good[28]


In May 2014, Ford recalled 692,700 2013 to 2014 Escapes because of faulty door latches.[29]

Fire hazard[edit]

Ford Escape: North America[edit]

In December 2012, Ford recalled over 70,000 Escape in the United States and Canada with 1.6 litre engines that may overheat and cause fires, after twelve reports of fire in Escapes were reported to Ford.[30]

In November 2013, Ford recalled over 160,000 Escape and Kuga with 1.6 ecoboost engines because of oil and fuel leaks that could lead to engine fires, after 13 fires caused by leaks were reported to Ford; the recall also covered about 12,000 to correct fuel lines installed incorrectly that could become chafed and leak gas.[31]

In March 2017, Ford recalled 2014 Escape with 1.6 ecoboost engines because of a risk of engine fires caused by a “lack of coolant circulation”. The recall partly contributed to a charge of US$300 million by Ford.[32][33]

Ford Kuga[edit]

In 2013, Ford recalled over 160,000 Kuga and Escape with 1.6 ecoboost engines because of oil and fuel leaks that could lead to engine fires, after 13 fires caused by leaks were reported to Ford; the recall also covered about 12,000 to correct fuel lines installed incorrectly that could become chafed and leak gas.[31]

South Africa[edit]

In South Africa, numerous Ford Kugas of the 1.6 litre EcoBoost variant[34][35] caught fire during 2015 and 2017.[36][37][38] In December 2016, Ford South Africa requested that all local Kuga owners take their vehicles in for a safety inspection.[39] However, even after one owner took her vehicle to a dealership, whose mechanics checked it and assured the owner that the vehicle was safe, the car still caught fire the very next day.[40] Another owner was assured by a dealership that his vehicle would be fine as long as the coolant level was correct, but his Kuga burned a few days later.[41] One driver is reported to have died as a result of a fire in his Kuga in December 2015.[42] His vehicle allegedly exhibited several faults, but was checked by Ford and passed as safe shortly before the fire.[43][44]

As of 16 January 2017, at least 46 Kugas in South Africa had been destroyed by fire,[34][45][46][47] and Ford South Africa had confirmed that a total of 39 incidents had been reported to the company.[35] By 18 January 2017, the number of incidents had reached 50, with 13 in 2017 alone.[48]

On 16 January 2017, Ford South Africa and South Africa's National Consumer Commission (NCC)[49] held a media briefing to announce a safety recall of the affected Kuga model, affecting "4556 1.6-litre EcoBoost models that were built between December 2012 and February 2014".[34][45] The NCC said that it had decided to exercise its authority to authorize a recall on safety grounds, and had then been informed that Ford South Africa had decided to implement a recall.[35] The South African division of Tupperware also pressured Ford South Africa to issue a recall due to their fleet of Kuga company cars putting their employees at risk.[citation needed]

Ford South Africa identified the mechanism leading to the majority of fires as overheating caused by a lack of coolant circulation, which could lead to cracking of the cylinder head, resulting in an oil leak and subsequent fire in the engine compartment.[34][35][45] The proposed solution would be first to replace and check affected components and systems, and later to improve the cooling and warning systems.[34]

Ford South Africa said that it was not aware of any injuries caused by the engine fires, and has claimed that the fatal incident was not the result of an engine fire.[34][35][50] The causes of both the fatal fire and others are disputed.[47][51][52] On 17 January 2017, video footage was released that allegedly recorded part of the fatal fire.[53][54]

Some owners of affected vehicles, family of the deceased owner, and other parties have criticized the conduct of Ford South Africa.[55][56][57][51] A commissioner of the National Consumer Commission (NCC) said that the matter should have been addressed sooner in view of the risk both to those travelling in affected Kugas, and others.[45] In court papers related to the fatal fire, the South African Police Service has alleged that Ford South Africa may have failed to comply with its obligations under South African consumer protection law, and obstructed the police investigation.[58]

On 17 January 2017, family of the deceased owner held a media briefing together with an attorney, and announced plans to initiate a class action lawsuit against Ford South Africa.[59][44][43] Owners of models not included in the recall, but also damaged by fires, have expressed interest in joining such a suit.[52]

On 2 March 2017, the National Consumer Commission (NCC) announced that it had begun an investigation into Ford South Africa's handling of the matter, after receiving numerous complaints alleging what the NCC described as "prohibited conduct".[60]

New Zealand[edit]

Television New Zealand reported that a Ford Kuga Titanium 2013 burst into flames in December 2016. The incident is being investigated by Ford NZ. Ford NZ say that the models being investigated in South Africa were built between 2012 and 2014 and fitted with a 1.6L Ecoboost engine. They also say there are differences between the models sold in South Africa and those sold in New Zealand. Until the investigation into the New Zealand incident has been completed, no decision can be made about recalling the 1,300 cars of the same model sold in New Zealand.[61]


The vehicle name, Kuga, is strongly reminiscent of the cougar, which was the name of another Ford division's automobile, the Mercury Cougar. The final of the Cougar from 1998 to 2002 was sold outside of the United States as the Ford Cougar.


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External links[edit]