Since 2008, the Ford Kuga has been available as a sporty SUV that impresses drivers not only with a chic design but also with functionality. In terms of quality, however, there is a need to catch up in many areas. It was not only in the Auto Bild endurance test that the Ford Kuga delivered a less-than-stellar performance. Whether it’s problems with the dual-clutch transmission, the threat of engine damage, or the well-known weakness of the windscreen wipers: the Ford Kuga has a few surprises in store for its owners.
This is why we have looked into the typical weak points and defects of the Ford Kuga so that you know what to look out for in your SUV or, as a used car buyer, don’t purchase a problematic vehicle in the first place.
Solid petrol engine with only a few weaknesses
Only one petrol engine was offered for the first-generation Ford Kuga. The 2.5-litre powerhouse, which was used in the Ford Focus ST and RS, among others, is still quite fit even in its old age and has only minor defects. If you need to make some small adjustments, you’ll find what you need in our Ford Kuga parts and accessories catalogue.
With the right care, you can reach a mileage of well over 400,000 kilometres. Although the five-cylinder B5254T3 developed by Volvo is anything but economical (Ø 11 litres), 200 hp under the bonnet provides decent propulsion and plenty of fun. With high mileages, however, the general condition of the car should be taken into account. As a rule, the turbocharger for Ford Kuga must be changed dies first and sometimes costs a small fortune; in addition, there is always oil loss and the timing belt for Ford Kuga every 200,000 kilometres or every 10 years.
Problems with the Powershift transmission
Two different automatic transmissions were offered for the Ford Kuga MK1. While the torque converter automatic “Durashift” was only available with the 2.5 Duratec, the dual-clutch transmission “Powershift” was reserved exclusively for the more powerful, all-wheel drive 2.0 TDCi models. The latter was developed by the German manufacturer Magna (6DCT450 series) and is known for several problems ranging from oil loss to gearbox damage. Particularly susceptible are the plastic spacers of the clutch basket, which tend to break, necessitating an expensive replacement of the clutch. In general, the Powershift transmission is not designed to last long, which is why the first defects occurred before the 100,000-kilometre mark (62.127 miles). In order to get more out of the vehicle, a preventive transmission flush should be carried out after 60,000 kilometres (37.282 miles) at the latest.
Problems with 4×4 all-wheel drive
The 4×4 all-wheel drive is not a classic, full-time all-wheel drive. Instead, it relies on a Haldex clutch that engages the rear axle when needed, for example in snow or mud. Sooner or later, the pre-charge pump of the Haldex clutch may malfunction due to oil sludge and the rear wheels will no longer function properly. The symptom of a defect in the 4×4 drive is in most cases the spinning of the front wheels. To avoid expensive repairs or the need for a Ford Kuga towbar, it is important to change the Haldex oil and filter after purchasing the vehicle.
Other weak points
There are some annoying electrical problems as well. The Sony radio regularly stops working, and the navigation system often has no GPS reception. Sometimes the anti-trap protection of the window lifters sounds an alarm for no reason, which causes the windows to roll down suddenly. Many complained about the cheap appearance of the cockpit, which could have been a bit better for the price of £22,200 for the 2020 model. A stuck bonnet should not exist in this price category either, and yet quite a few owners were affected by this problem.
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