Ford has revealed its first-ever 'unified' SUV, to be known as the new Ford Kuga in Europe
Steve Cropley Autocar
16 November 2011

Ford has revealed its first-ever ‘unified’ SUV, to be known as the new Ford Kuga in Europe, at today’s Los Angeles motor show.

The compact five-seater is destined to replace the US’s best-selling Escape and will hit European showrooms next year as an all-new, considerably larger Kuga. It will also be launched in China later next year.

See pictures of the Ford Kuga

The new SUV’s styling closely follows the European-designed Vertrek concept unveiled in Detroit at the beginning of the year. It is the latest fruit of Ford chief Alan Mulally’s ‘One Ford’ philosophy, which has already made a success of European models such as the Fiesta and Focus in the US, and will bring even more unification to Ford’s world markets.

Product development boss Derek Kuzak claims fuel economy for the new Kuga/Escape will beat all comers in its class, reducing real-world consumption by 5-6mpg. He also claims the car has 11 convenience features not offered by any rival, including a hands-free powered tailgate that swings upwards if you aim a gentle kick at the underside of the rear bumper.

Among other refinements, the car comes with internet connectivity and improved aerodynamics, including grille slats that close when maximum cooling is not needed. This cuts aerodynamic drag and reduces fuel consumption.

US models will get a normally aspirated 2.5-litre engine, as well as Ford’s turbocharged 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre petrol Ecoboost units. European versions get Ecoboosts plus a diesel line-up already familiar in the third-generation Focus. There may also be small-capacity three-cylinder models within a year.

Compared with the outgoing model, the new Kuga is around 100mm longer, with most of the extra length concentrated in the wheelbase. Ford admits one current point of customer dislike is the current Kuga’s small boot and rear passenger accommodation.

Although a new Mondeo is due next year, the Kuga will probably be Ford’s most important launch of 2012 in volume terms. Demand for mid-size SUVs has increased three-fold in a decade, Ford says, and 60 per cent of America’s new car buyers now consider either a mid-size saloon or SUV.

“More people every year are looking for cars like Escape,” says Kuzak. “We want to give them many reasons to buy.”

Steve Cropley

See all the latest Ford reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Caterham Seven 420R Donington Edition
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    Limited-edition road-legal Caterham track car is a superbly enthralling drive, with enough creature comforts to be used on the road as well. Even more addictive than most of its rangemates
  • McLaren 570S Spider
    First Drive
    25 July 2017
    McLaren has created its most attainable drop-top by removing the roof from the 570S coupé, but none of the car's talent has come away with it
  • 2017 Range Rover Velar
    First Drive
    23 July 2017
    The Range Rover Velar is the most road-biased car Land Rover has made. So does it still feel like a proper part of the family?
  • Seat Ibiza
    Car review
    21 July 2017
    A model upon which Seat has staked its future, the new Ibiza must now deliver
  • Honda Clarity FCV
    Car review
    21 July 2017
    Honda’s fuel cell flagship reaches its second generation, but is the world ready?