The 2.0-litre four-cylinder ‘Duratorq’ turbo diesel’s power and torque outputs rise from 120kW and 340Nm to 132kW and 400Nm.
Despite the performance boost, the upgraded Kuga diesels are up to 16 per cent more fuel efficient, with combined cycle consumption falling from 6.3 litres per 100 kilometres for the Trend and 6.4L/100km for the Titanium to 5.7L/100km for both MY15 variants.
Aiding efficiency is the introduction of engine stop-start technology and active grille shutters.
The enhanced diesel engine will join two new turbo petrol engines in the 2015 Ford Kuga line-up. Announced last week, the refreshed range will be available with a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with 110kW (manual) or 134kW (auto) and 240Nm, as well as a powerful 2.0-litre four-cylinder unit with 176kW and 340Nm.
Confirming some other minor upgrades, Ford Australia says all variants of the 2015 Kuga will get a digital compass instrument cluster display (previously standard in Titanium only), and says a tyre pressure monitor will be added to the Technology Pack that is optional on Trend and Titanium variants.
Three new colours will also join the Kuga palette: Ruby Red, Magnetic (metallic mid-grey) and Tiger Eye (metallic golden orange).
Ford will announce pricing and full specifications for the MY15 Kuga range closer to its January launch.