We’ve been patient but now it looks like the facelifted Ford Kuga’s arrival in the UK is imminent with specifications unveiled on CAP’s automotive data site. We expect Ford’s refreshed family SUV to go on sale here in early 2024.
As ever, the Kuga’s competition will be stiff. There’s the Hyundai Tucson (which will also be facelifted soon), the Kia Sportage, Volkswagen Tiguan and Toyota RAV4. Like all those, the Kuga will once again be offered in hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms.
Like the current Kuga, the new car will keep the 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ecoboost petrol engine with 148bhp and 240Nm of torque going solely to the front wheels. That’s enough for a marginally quicker 0-62mph time of 9.5 seconds over the current model. Above this is the CVT-equipped full-hybrid 2.5-litre full-hybrid with 188bhp, reducing the 0-62mph sprint to 9.1 seconds. The full-hybrid is offered with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive with the latter dropping the 0-62mph time to 8.3 seconds.
The plug-in hybrid Kuga will continue on and it features a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and a 14.4kWh battery – the same as before. Ford has managed to drop the acceleration from 9.2 seconds to 7.3 seconds. Electric-only range has also improved, but only by one mile, to 42 miles. That means the Kuga stays in the eight per cent BiK tax bracket.
CAP data reveals that ST-Line, Titanium and ST-Line X trim levels are retained, joined by a new ‘Active’ version. In other Ford models such as the Focus and the old Fiesta, the Active was a mildly off-road focused model and it looks like the Kuga Active will adopt this formula as well.
As for the Kuga’s design, the US saw the updated Kuga way back in 2022 and while our version will look a little different, there are unlikely to be any big surprises from the new look.
Ford’s apparent apprehension over launching the facelifted Kuga here in the UK is understandable when you factor-in how popular the current model still is. The third-generation Kuga arrived in 2019 and is still a regular in Britain’s top 10 best-selling cars list.
As we’ve said, the US Kuga (badged ‘Escape’) has already been on sale for a while now. Our spy photography shows we can expect the European car to look almost identical to the Escape.
Our latest glimpse of the Kuga facelift suggests two distinct trim levels. The white ‘Active’ car has unpainted wheel arches, unpainted bumpers front and rear and the silver faux skid plate to the rear. It also has unpainted black wing mirrors and a different set of alloy wheels compared to the blue car.
There’s a more upmarket look to the blue car. The faux side air intakes don’t incorporate a fog light, it has a different grille insert (more akin to Ford’s ST-Line models) together with body coloured bumpers, skid skirts, wheel arches and wing mirrors.
Both cars feature a narrower grille than the outgoing Kuga, with the Ford embedded in a similar fashion to that seen on the facelifted Focus. There are also new LED headlights with a central light bar and a redesigned bumper. The facelift brings a new design of rear light signature as well. As we can see there’s chrome tip dual-exit exhausts too – a feature of the Kuga’s sporty design language.
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We also expect the new Kuga to get an update inside. The latest version of Ford SYNC4 infotainment will appear, operated via a new 13.2-inch central touchscreen, although the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster will probably remain. The US-spec Escape can be had with various safety systems such as adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, collision avoidance and pedestrian detection. Optional extras include a head-up display, panoramic roof and a wireless smartphone charging pad.
Given this is the first time we’ve seen the facelifted Kuga testing in Europe, a full reveal isn’t expected until 2024. Pricing for the new Kuga should start slightly higher than the current car’s £33,380 starting price tag.
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