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Kia Sportage vs. Ford Kuga: which is better?

Between the Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga, which is better suited to your needs?

on the left is a green kia sportage and on the right is a grey ford kuga

Two of Britain’s most popular small SUVs are the Kia Sportage and Ford Kuga.

These began to gain in popularity at roughly the same time, so have had time to develop and compete for more than a decade now.  

You can find plenty of used Ford and used Kia models on the market as well - perfect for saving some money on your next car.

Whether you’re driving to the shops or going a little off-road to get to your destination, both cars will handle it with ease – but which is better suited to you? 


on the left is the GT badge of a green kia sportage and on the right is the hybrid badge on the side of a red ford kuga

Don’t expect sharp angles and curves from its design like you’d find on the Hyundai Tucson, but expect sophisticated and mature looks from these two SUVs.

More recent iterations of the Kia Sportage feature arrowhead-like headlights, which look smart, as well as a larger grille – a common SUV trend in recent years. 

As for the Kuga, this features a more reserved look – fitting in with the design cues seen on Fiesta and Focus hatchback models.

One thing that Ford did – which was genius – was to remove the ruggedness from the Kuga and market it as a larger hatchback.

This helped buyers who didn’t want a full-sized SUV but wanted the home comforts of a smaller hatchback. 

No matter which you pick, we think both are really handsome vehicles that both blend in and stand out when you want them to. 

What are they like to drive?

on the left is a green kia sportage rear quarter and on the right is a red ford kuga driving along a bridge over water

Good news if you’re a town or city dweller, because newer versions of both the Sportage and Kuga are available with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains, making your shorter drives or commutes quieter and more eco-friendly than ever before.  

In terms of actual driving characteristics, the Kia is very easy to drive. It’s got light steering, a high driving position, and comfortable suspension without feeling wallowy around corners or on bumpy roads.

The diesel engine is obviously better-suited to long-distance motorway driving but the PHEV variant is better for town and city use. 

The Kuga offers a very similar driving style thanks to its great body control, meaning it handles corners and tight bends with ease.

It's also available with some solid engine options, but we’d still recommend the PHEV variant for most people, especially if you live in a town or city. 

Interior and technology

on the left is a black leather kia sportage interior and n the right is a black leather ford kuga interior

The Sportage has one of the best interiors in its class – not because it’s particularly fancy, but because it's made to an exceptional standard and it’s very functional.

All the buttons are where you’d expect them to be and it’s got Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, so faffing around with the car’s infotainment system is a thing of the past. 

There's plenty of space, with lots of room for front and rear-seat passengers.

Legroom is fine for kids and adults at the back, but headroom may be a little tight for taller passengers – especially with high-spec cars featuring a sunroof. 

Following on from the Kia might sound like a hard task, but the Kuga stacks up pretty well.

All versions get air-con, DAB radio, Bluetooth, cruise control, and a heated windscreen.

Higher trims add dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, an upgraded sound system, a panoramic glass roof, a heated steering wheel, and more, depending on which version you’re looking at. 

So really, there's no way you can go wrong. Both cars feature very pleasant and easy-to-use interiors with plenty of space and comfort.  

Bootspace and practicality

on the left is a kia sportage's boot with one seat put down, and on the right is a women looking inside and sliding one of the seats inside a ford kuga

Practicality across all generations of the Sportage has been good. There are plenty of cubbyholes and large door bins, as well as a 591-litre boot, which is plenty for a few suitcases or a large weekly food shop. 

The Kuga has a little less at 412 litres, but this is still enough for suitcases or a few shopping bags.

It’s larger than a Focus’s boot, and that can hold an impressive amount of stuff. 

Just bear in mind that PHEV models will have reduced bootspace because of the extra batteries they need to carry. 

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Safety and reliability

Kia and Ford are no strangers to making reliable cars, and that’s why we don’t think you ought to worry about reliability as far as the Sportage and Kuga are concerned.

No matter if you get the petrol, diesel or hybrid engine – we’re confident that with regular servicing these will keep you going. 

Safety isn’t an issue either as both cars scored a full five stars in their most recent Euro NCAP crash tests.

This is thanks to their solid build quality and impressive onboard safety features. 


Kia Sportage

Length: 4515mm

Width: 1865mm

Height: 1650mm

Boot space: 591 litres

Ford Kuga

Length: 4614mm

Width: 1883mm

Height: 1666mm

Boot space: 412 litres

Verdict: Kia Sportage vs. Ford Kuga: which should you buy?

We’re sure you’ve come to your own conclusion after reading our comparative review of these two SUVs, but in case you haven’t, here’s our quick verdict. 

If you’re wanting a solid family SUV that has lots of bootspace and is practical and good-looking, then we’d suggest checking out the Sportage.

It ticks so many boxes, and with Kia’s superb seven-year/100,000-mile warranty, you shouldn’t need to worry about a thing.  

However, if you don’t think you’re quite ready for a full-sized SUV then the Kuga is a great option.

It’s essentially a larger Ford Focus with more practicality and greater overall visibility of the road.

It also handles really well, so you won’t feel vulnerable on tighter British B-roads

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