Euro version of the Escape is the first Ford to offer mild- plug-in and full-hybrid powertrains, and is more indicative of what to expect of the Australian model.
Ford of Europe has revealed the all-new Kuga, the Euro-market version of the Escape, at an event in Amsterdam.
Underpinned by a version of the company's new 'C2' architecture, which also underpins the new Focus range, the Kuga does sport some subtle design differences to its North American twin – particularly in the ST-Line trim you see here.
The bumpers are different at both ends, and the nose is slightly different on the European model compared to the American one. It's more closely aligned with the Focus' design, we reckon.
While the redesign inside and out is a major change compared to the model currently on sale, Ford is shouting about the availability of new electrified powertrains, of which the new Kuga will offer conventional, plug-in and mild-hybrid options.
Like the Escape, the Kuga will offer a 2.5-litre plug-in hybrid powertrain combining an Atkinson-cycle petrol engine with an electric motor/generator and 14.4kWh lithium-ion battery, making for a combined power output of 225PS (165kW) and an all-electric driving range of over 50 kilometres.
Ford says the Kuga PHEV is "anticipated to deliver" a combined fuel consumption rating of 1.2L/100km, and emit just 29g/km of CO2.
The Kuga EcoBlue Hybrid is a mild-hybrid version of the 150PS (110kW) 2.0-litre 'EcoBlue' turbo-diesel, employing a belt-driven integrated starter/generator that replaces the standard alternator, which recovers and stores energy from deceleration in a 48V air-cooled battery pack.
Compared to the standard version of this diesel powertrain, Ford says the mild-hybrid is able to engage its stop-start technology "in more situations" which helps to further reduce fuel use and emissions.
Projected figures are 5.0L/100km on the combined cycle, and a claim of 132g/km of CO2.
Finally, the third electrified powertrain comes in the form of the Kuga Hybrid, which is a self-charging full-hybrid that pairs the PHEV's 2.5-litre Atkinson-cycle petrol engine with an electric motor/generator and a smaller lithium-ion battery.
There's slim details regarding this version, other than it will be available in Europe "later in 2020" with the choice of front- and all-wheel drive.
Several other conventional powertrains will also be available, with a range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines available.
Atop the 'EcoBlue' diesel range will be a 190PS (140kW) 2.0-litre oiler that claims to use 5.7L/100km, while an entry-level 1.5-litre diesel will be offered with 120PS (88kW) which is claimed to use just 4.8L/100km.
On the petrol side of things, meanwhile, the European Kuga will be available with two versions of the new 1.5-litre 'EcoBoost' three-cylinder turbo petrol engine currently seen in the Focus small car.
There's a 120PS (88kW) tune at the base level, and a 150PS (110kW) version. Both offer cylinder deactivation technology – a world first for a three-pot engine – along with a combination of port and direct fuel injection systems.
Claimed fuel consumption for both versions of the 1.5-litre EcoBoost is 'anticipated' to be 6.5L/100km.
A six-speed manual transmission will be standard on most powertrain variants, with the company's new eight-speed automatic available on the 120PS 1.5-litre diesel and 190PS 2.0-litre diesel at launch.
The new Kuga will be available with a range of new technologies, too.
For the first time the medium SUV will be available with the company's FordPass Connect system, which turns the vehicle in to a mobile WiFi hotspot for up to 10 devices, and brings new remote functions accessible by the FordPass smartphone app – including a vehicle locator, remote lock/unlock, and remote engine start for auto-equipped models.
Sitting atop the Focus-inspired dashboard is a floating 8.0-inch infotainment system running the company's Sync 3 software, also offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.
Also new is an available 12.3-inch LCD digital instrument cluster which Ford says uses industry-first free-form technology that "allows curved upper edges for seamless interior design".
"In addition, the 24‑bit “true colour” digital instrument cluster generates detailed, high definition, more intuitive images and icons displayed in the full colour spectrum, making them brighter, less tiring on the eyes and easier to read," the company adds in its press release.
Other available features include a 10-speaker 575W B&O premium sound system, Active Noise Control, and the Ford Co-Pilot360 suite of active safety technologies.
For the first time in a Ford, there's blind-spot assist – which combines the blind-spot monitoring and lane-keep systems to counter-steer back into the lane if the vehicle anticipates an approaching vehicle in the blind-spot that could lead to a potential collision in a lane-change manoeuvre.
There's also autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control with stop&go, speed sign recognition and lane-centring functions for semi-autonomous highway driving (up to 200km/h), and the company's new head-up display which debuted in the new Focus.
Finally, there's an available 'Adaptive Front Lighting System' which is Ford-speak for automatic high-beam.
Speaking with CarAdvice, Ford's local product communications manager, Damion Smy, confirmed the all-new Escape for Australia will continue to be sourced from Spain, indicating the Kuga is very indicative of local specification.
"We will continue to source the Escape from Valencia, Spain, as per the current model," he said.
"Additional specification will be confirmed closer to launch, including powertrain details."
Smy was unable to comment on whether we'll see the mild-hybrid and self-charging hybrid locally.
As for the high-end Vignale variant, which previously hasn't been offered locally, Smy responded with the following:
"In terms of Vignale, we have no plans to introduce this for any nameplate. Australian Titanium models, such as on the all-new Focus, for instance, include a higher level of equipment than EU models, as they bring key Vignale features where appropriate. That strategy will continue," he said.
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