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The Ford Kuga compact SUV will go on sale in Australia in March after a surprise move by Ford Australia.

The local car maker has snubbed the European market rival for the likes of the Subaru Forester and Toyota RAV4 for a number of years despite slow sales of its ageing equivalent, the Escape.


Ford Australia has decided to import the outgoing, German-built Kuga model to compensate for a delay in the arrival of the blue oval’s next-general global compact SUV that will be sold in all markets. The new 2013 Escape, which was unveiled at the recent 2011 Los Angeles motor show, was expected locally in the second half of next year but has now been pushed back to early 2013.

Australia will follow Europe and retain the Kuga name for the new model, a clear sign it wants a fresh start in the competitive compact SUV segment as it buries the Escape badge that has been around for more than a decade in Australia – and used on a model twinned with the now-discontinued Mazda Tribute.


Ford Australia president and CEO Bob Graziano says next year’s introduction of the Kuga is “directly aimed at achieving a bigger share of the compact SUV segment” and building awareness of the nameplate ahead of the all-new model’s 2013 launch.

Although it will practically be a run-out model as soon as it goes on sale here, the Kuga is far from dated. Production of the Kuga began in early 2008, making it considerably more modern than the Escape (whose Mazda 626-sourced platform dates back to 1998) and fresher than a number of its competitors. “[Kuga is] still recognised as an outstanding competitor in that segment, even while it’s nearing the end of its current model cycle,” Graziano said.


Supply of run-out Kuga vehicles will be limited for Australia as demand from overseas markets remains high. As a result, it will initially be launched in just two specification levels – Trend and Titanium – and with only one drivetrain package.

The 2012 Ford Kuga will be powered by a 2.5-litre turbocharged Duratec petrol engine with 147kW of power and 320Nm of torque (from 1600rpm). It will be teamed with a five-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, leading to an official fuel consumption rating of 10.3 litres per 100km. High demand for diesel-powered Kugas in Europe means we won’t see them here until 2013 with the arrival of the new model – at which time front-wheel drive and six-speed dual-clutch options should also become available.

The Kuga Trend will come standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lamps, silver roof rails, keyless entry and push-button start, manual air conditioning, cruise control, and an eight-speaker Sony audio system with voice control, Bluetooth connectivity and a USB port.


The top-spec Titanium adds 18-inch alloys, a panoramic glass sunroof, rear privacy glass, dual-zone climate control, auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, heated front seats, six-way electric driver’s seat, velour floor mats and stainless steel scuff plates.

Both models have been awarded the maximum five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP and come standard with six airbags, electronic stability control and a number of other active and passive features.


Graziano confirmed the decision to launch the run-out Kuga in our market was not solely Ford Australia’s, but one reached by the Ford Asia-Pacific team under the One Ford strategy. Kuga went on sale in New Zealand in the middle of last month with identical specifications to the upcoming Australian vehicles (although only in Titanium trim). At NZ$53,990, the Kuga is NZ$4000 more expensive than the entry-level Territory. If the same percentages carry over to our market, the Kuga Titanium should be priced around $43,000, putting it in the same league as the high-end variants of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Mazda CX-7 and Subaru Forester. The run-out Kuga will be considerably more expensive than the outgoing Escape, which is available in only one trim level from $28,990.


The Escape currently gives Ford Australia just a 2.2 per cent share of the compact SUV market (2195 sales over 10 months). It will be outsold by the Great Wall X200/X240 and the Suzuki Grand Vitara this year, and is now consistently beaten by the cut-price Chery J11 on a monthly basis.

Although supply will be limited in 2012, Ford will be hoping next year’s Kuga will lay the foundations for the all-new model to take the blue oval beyond its best ever performance in the segment – a 4.9 per cent share back in 2002.

  • Able

    I’m not exactly sure where the new Kuga will fit in but this is AWESOME news!

    • joe

      Able, it replaces the current Escape.

  • Richard

    No Diesel no sales

    • delux


      • Lucii Pooky

        Considering the CR-V does 10L from a gutless VTEC 2.4 I4, 10.3 is pretty good from a 2.5 turbo 5 cylinder!

  • Blue Soup

    FINALLY. A little late?????????

  • Able

    Joe, I know, I said the new Kuga, meaning the new-generation model in a sense of confusion about introducing a car for a year and then a new model replacing it but now I see what Ford Aus are doing.

  • Lars

    Stupid sounding name….Kuga!?

    • Blue Soup

      So is Lars!

      • birdie

        so whats toymota’s excuse for kluga i think kuga sounds better

  • Alexander

    I’m a bit disappointed by the engine, 10.3l/100km is thirsty in comparison to rivals, even with similar power outputs. Five cylinders really do provide the power of a 4 cylinder with the economy of a 6 cylinder…

    • Blue Soup

      Have a look at it competitors economy Mazda CX-7, Subaru Forester XT, Mitsubishi Outlander V6, VW Tiguan 155TSI.
      Outside of the VW (which has the least power) they all are in the 10’s / 100k so whats the problem.
      A diesel would be nicer but they still sell the petrol models in reasonable numbers.


    centre dash lets it down a bit,but anythings better than an escape…

  • Golfschwein

    Well, it’s about time. This car looks so good, it’s hard to believe its days are numbered. Pricing and lack of diesel might ensure this turboed five will be a rorty rarity, but at least it gives people a choice. And the Ford guys can bring it to the front of the showroom without shame.

    • Andrew M

      It does still look good, but its the new and upcoming Kuga that makes this look old.

      This doesnt look as good as it used to now Ive seen the new one.

  • Spenc2011

    Can’t wait! Shall buy one i reckon!
    Although pricing will have alot to do with sales!
    Please Ford, don’t stuff it up!

  • Ox

    Just wait for the CX5

  • Mad Max

    This is the exact reason why Ford Australia is in the mess its in with regards to sales. They have some excellent cars but are let down by crap marketing. This car should have been here 3 or 4 years ago but no, Ford Aust wait until its about to be replaced BEFORE they introduce it. So they are going to market a car, support it with technical training for service staff and support it with spare parts with a life of MAYBE 16 months? Way to go Ford! Its like the Falcon and Focus. Both cars are fantastic and should be leading the sales in their respective classes (or close to leading) but are let down by poor marketing. This decission to bring in the great little Kuga just backs up what we have all been saying here for years and was also backed up by comments made by Mrs (or Ms) Ford 18 months ago.

  • Doctor

    Looks a bit like a Dualis that’s been to the beauty parlour!

  • 42 = The Answer

    If Ford drop the Escape this quickly, why can’t Holden do the same with the Epcia?!

    All I can say is Well Done Ford

  • MeestaNob!

    Intersting move to finally get this here. Clearly the number crunchers (finally) saw the writing on the wall with the Escape and have (finally) made the right move.

    One thing we do now know from this however, is that the small SUV/Escape replacement will continue to be badged as Kuga in Europe and Australia will follow the European naming system.

  • mmmmm

    ford just don’t make any sense

  • john

    Why would you buy something that is about to be run out ? Waste of time.

  • Kruga

    You would have to be crazy to buy this and watch it’s value tank when the new model arrives in 12 months time…

  • Kev

    Had an early v6 escape, it was thirsty around town (13/14l/100) and inner country areas but really good on long trips to places like the flinders. Very nice vehicle to drive. Recently purchased AWD desiel territory, averaging around 9.5l/100. Iwouldn’t buy another escape as it was starting to look old and no 6 cylinder motor, essential when driving on country roads most of the time. The new kuga looks good, don’t care for the name.

  • tj

    the front looks a bit like a british bulldog.

  • Andrew

    Ford clearly pulled this out because Holden is bring Colorado 7 and they want to push the SUV sales and have brand regocnition before it arrives . . .

    • Joe P

      The Kuga is not Ford’s answer to the Colorado 7. It’s Ford’s Medium SUV entrant which replaces the Escape, as this article states.
      Try googling the Ford Everest! This car is basically a Ranger Wagon that has been around for many years and many models. Remember a car called the Ford Raider of the late ’90’s?
      Ford Australia are busy designing the new Everest/Eaider/Ranger wagon, as has been stated on Caradvice previously, and this car, as well as the Holden Colorado 7, will be there to challenge the Toyota Prado and similar Japanese traditional 4WD’s.

    • nickdl

      The T6 Ranger-based SUV will be Ford’s answer to the Colorado 7. A small 5 seat soft roader isn’t really an answer to a 7 seat ute-based 4×4.

      • Blue Soup

        Colorado 7 don’t you Isuzu 7 ?????? Since when do holden design and build anything other tha commodore and now cruze.

  • mick0082

    43k??? No diesel til next year? Mistake!
    Toyota is no better. Rav4 is available in Europe in a very trendy diesel model that has some very nice exterior additions to make it look alot nicer than our bland Oz spec Rav.

  • Dan

    not enuff market pull here – we get the dreggs

  • Steve R

    Currently skiing in Austria and Italy, and have seen quite few Kugas in both countries.  Nice looking cars, but of course, mostly diesel.  Do we have marketing people in Australia?  How many times are we going to make the “no diesel” mistake?  Not just Ford, of course!

  • http://blogzone.id.au/ Mark


  • Matt

    Ford have missed the mark.  An expensive new option in an already flooded market.

  • Stevekennedy56

    I think it looks really well with similarities to the B class and Peugeot and would be interested in buying one but…. No diesel. It’s stupid

  • kat

    wondering when in 2012 we will get the new model that is already on sale in the US.  Tilting rear seat, auto tail gate etc.  I am looking to buy and am waiting for the new kia sorento and this, if the new kia makes it first (looking October), then ford will miss my money.