Two models have been replaced with one here; what we know as the Ford Kuga will also be sold in North America as the Escape.
That’s one of the reasons behind the growth spurt (up 81mm in overall length) and also explains the more ‘traditional’ proportions, as Americans would never have taken to an SUV as petite as the original Ford Kuga.
The good news is that the Kuga uses Ford’s ‘Global C’ platform as its basis, the same as the third-gen Ford Focus’, which means its mechanicals come not from a US-market SUV but one of Europe’s best-handling hatchbacks.
As you’d therefore expect, the Kuga has got a steel monocoque body (reinforced with ultra-high-strength boron around the roof and pillars), a choice of four-cylinder turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, six-speed manual or dual-clutch automatic gearboxes and front- or four-wheel drive.
Ford has replaced the old four-wheel drive system’s Haldex hydraulic coupling with its own hardware, which works via an electronically controlled clutch. It can move up to 100 percent of power to the rear and, while it’s still primarily passive, can react within one-seventh of a turn of a slipping front wheel.