Buying a used car can be a great way to save money, but it’s important to be careful and do your research before making a purchase. One of the most popular used cars on the market is the Ford Kuga SUV, which has been available since 2008.
While the Kuga has generally been well-received by car buyers, there are certain model years that come with notable issues that might make you think twice about purchasing them. From transmission problems to safety concerns, these issues can vary depending on the year and trim level.
If you’re in the market for a used Kuga, it’s important to consider which years to avoid in order to get the most reliable and safe vehicle for your money. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll break down which Ford Kuga years to steer clear of, and we’ll also provide some tips on what to look out for when buying a used Kuga.
To kick off the list, Ford Kuga models made in 2015, 2012, and 2013 as these three model years seem to be experiencing the most issues out of them all. It’s worth noting that these model years can still be great used car options, but you should be extra careful with these.
2015 Ford Kuga
There are quite a few reports out there about the 2014 and 2015 Ford Kuga 2.0L diesel models suffering from overheating issues and potentially catastrophic oil leaks which can result in total engine damage or maybe even a fire. Ford did take notice of this issue which means that you can ask them if the car you are interested in has been affected by this problem.
The transmission is also prone to issues such as rough shifting, slipping, and hesitations while the electrical systems aren’t much better. Even though the 2015 model isn’t prone to turbocharger issues as much as earlier models are, there have still been lots of reports about the 2015 Kuga experiencing total turbocharger failures.
All in all, if you are in the market for a 2015 Kuga, you should first focus your attention on the engine sump problem while also doing a deep dive into the car’s maintenance and repair history. If the car has been properly taken care of, there are no reasons why you shouldn’t buy one if the price is right.
2012 Ford Kuga
The 2012 Ford Kuga has been encountering significant challenges concerning its turbocharger and transmission system. Numerous owners reported issues specifically with the turbocharger’s wastegate actuator, resulting in a range of problems. Malfunctions in the wastegate actuator led to power loss, diminished acceleration, and in extreme cases, even engine failure.
Such complications occurred when the turbocharger failed to regulate the boost pressure effectively, leading to an imbalanced air-fuel mixture and placing excessive strain on engine components. Engine failure, an expensive repair that sometimes necessitates engine replacement, was a potential outcome.
Furthermore, there were also reports of transmission problems in the 2012 Ford Kuga. These included instances of rough shifting, gear hesitation, and gear slippage, which negatively impacted the driving experience. Some drivers encountered challenges engaging specific gear, while others experienced jerky or delayed gear changes.
2013 Ford Kuga
The 2013 Ford Kuga shares lots of its problems with the 2012 Kuga which means that the turbocharger problem is also relevant for the 2013 Kuga. Besides the turbocharger problem, the 2013 model also seems to sometimes be suffering from engine overheating issues, but not as much as the 2015 Kuga.
On top of all this, some have also reported problems with pesky coolant leaks which can be a huge disaster if the engine itself is already prone to overheating. As such, the 2013 Kuga could potentially be the worst model year of them all, so be extra careful while looking into buying one.
The silver lining for the 2013 Kuga is that these problems weren’t as commonly reported as for the 2012 Kuga could mean that Ford did do something in the meantime in order to combat the problem more effectively.
Which Ford Kuga Model Year to Buy?
While all model years of the Kuga have their individual pros and cons, if you’re set on purchasing a used Kuga, consider looking into the later model years, such as the 2019 third-generation model (known as the fourth-generation Escape in North America).
The third-generation Kuga/Escape boasts a range of new features and improvements and has received positive reviews from industry experts. However, as with any vehicle, you’ll want to inspect it closely, read up on potential issues for that particular year and model, and have a mechanic look it over as well to ensure you’re getting the most reliable and safe vehicle for your money.
Is Ford Kuga a Bad Car?
No, the Ford Kuga is not a bad car at all which has been made obvious since it is one of the best-sold crossover SUVs in Europe. The PHEV model of the Kuga has become one of the best-sold hybrid crossovers in general which is a huge feat for any car.
In essence, the Kuga does offer a very tempting package with a decent amount of space, lots of safety kit, lots of technology, efficient and sophisticated powertrains, and a very upmarket exterior look. As such, the Ford Kuga is a very good car with lots of pros to its name. True, some Kuga model years are worse than others, but the Kuga, as a whole, is a really good car.
Can You Buy an Electric Ford Kuga?
As of early 2023, there is no Ford Kuga EV, but you can go for a plug-in hybrid version of the Kuga which can give you up to 31 miles of electric power alone. This is enough to do the daily commute for most people which means that if you plug it in every evening, the PHEV Kuga can be used as an EV through and through.
The new Ford Kuga is right around the corner and Ford could start offering it as a full-on EV that slots underneath the comparably larger Ford Mustang EV.