The next-generation Ford Kuga will start below $30,000 when it goes on sale locally in the coming weeks, bringing with it three specification levels as part of an expanded model range.

Ford Kuga - 1

The new Ford Kuga will be offered with at least two engines and in three trim levels – a base Ambiente, mid-range Trend and flagship Titanium – offering consumers considerably more choice than the current model’s single engine and two trim options.

Confirmed for the Kuga’s launch are the turbocharged 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol engine and 2.0-litre Duratorq turbo-diesel, available with a six-speed SelectShift automatic transmission and six-speed Powershift dual-clutch automatic transmission respectively. A six-speed manual transmission, turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and front-wheel drive variants are all still yet to be confirmed.

Seen in the metal at the 2012 Sydney motor show back in October, the 2013 Ford Kuga - the first Ford globally to feature an EcoBoost engine as standard – includes a raft of new technologies including Ford’s SYNC connectivity system with Emergency Assistance which, if a mobile phone is paired to the vehicle and the airbags are deployed, will connect the driver directly to an emergency service through the paired mobile phone.

Intelligent All-Wheel Drive, Ford Curve Control, foot-activated hands-free tailgate, Active City Stop, active grille shutters and a recently awarded five-star ANCAP safety rating also feature in the car that Ford Australia’s general manager of marketing, David Katic, says is by far the most advanced compact SUV Ford has ever developed.

“We put more smart stuff in, so our customers can get more fun stuff out,” Katic said.

“We will be pitching the newcomer with a sub-$30,000 entry point, which we expect will hit a sweet spot for buyers.”

The 2013 Kuga’s starting price is a significant drop from the current 147kW/320Nm turbocharged 2.5-litre five-cylinder-powered four-wheel-drive TE-series Kuga’s $38,990 starting point – a model belatedly introduced in February 2012, years after first going on sale in Europe. The new pricing should help the new car compete against the likes of the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail.

Ford says when the new Ford Kuga takes its place in the Australian manufacturer’s SUV line-up, alongside the Ford EcoSport crossover and full-size Ford Territory, it will be covered under the myFord capped-price servicing scheme.

Further details and specific pricing will be announced closer to the car’s launch.