The Kuga’s turbocharged four-cylinder EcoBoost engine – similar to that in the Falcon EcoBoost – produces 176kW of power and 340Nm of torque, giving it a considerable 42kW/100Nm advantage over the 1.6-litre turbo petrol unit it replaces.
The engine will be standard in the top two Kuga model grades, Trend and Titanium, and will be available exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.
Ford Australia has not released performance claims for the 2.0-litre Kuga, though it’s expected to be considerably quicker than the 1.6-litre version and more adept at hauling the model’s hefty body, which weighs 1675kg with the smaller engine under the bonnet.
The power bump comes at the expense of fuel economy, however, with the 176kW Kuga rated at 8.6 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined cycle, up from 8.0L/100km.
The larger engine is expected to be accompanied by a higher price tag, though Ford is keeping those details under wraps for now, saying it will announce pricing closer to the updated model’s introduction in January. Currently, the 1.6-litre turbo petrol Kuga Trend costs $36,240, and the Titanium $44,740.
The entry-level Ambiente also benefits from a new engine – a smaller 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo – which is expected to also make its way into the local Focus range in the second quarter of next year.
The engine’s outputs are identical to those of the 1.6-litre turbo petrol it replaces, producing 134kW and 240Nm when paired with the auto transmission, and 110kW with the six-speed manual.
Fuel consumption of the front-wheel-drive Ambiente manual drops from 6.7 to 6.3L/100km, while the all-wheel-drive Ambiente auto dips from 7.7 to 7.6L/100km.
Ford will also introduce a new front-wheel-drive auto Ambiente with the 134kW tune and combined cycle consumption of 7.0L/100km.
Ford says the introduction of the new front-wheel-drive auto variant is in response to customer feedback.
“There is a customer base that appreciates the convenience of an SUV that doesn’t necessarily need all the benefits of AWD and the addition of the two-wheel-drive automatic Ambiente provides this customer with the perfect solution.”
The front-drive Ambiente auto is expected to be priced close to $30,000.
Ford is set to announce a minor update for its diesel-powered MY15 Kuga variants as early as next week. The existing 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine will be retained, though potentially with improvements to its 120kW/340Nm and 6.3L/100km figures.
Note: 2014 Ford Kuga pictured top.