The facelifted Ford Kuga will go on sale in the UK imminently, more than a year after it landed in the US as the latest Ford Escape.
The headline change is the introduction of Ford’s Sync4 infotainment system. As in the Ford Focus and Ford E-Transit, this uses a landscape-oriented 13.2in touchscreen and is said to offer double the computing power of the outgoing Sync3 system.
It offers wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, as well as Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant.
All physical climate controls except for the front-window demister have been moved to the touchscreen. In turn, the other physical controls that were situated on the Kuga’s centre console – for the driving modes, rear-view camera and 360deg camera – have been moved to sit alongside the demister button. In their place is a small storage cubby.
As well as the interior changes, the facelifted Kuga also gains a new four-wheel-drive hybrid powertrain. It makes the same 180bhp as the front-wheel-drive hybrid (down 7bhp on the old car) but cuts the 0-62mph sprint time by 0.8sec to 8.3sec.
The rest of the family SUV's engine line-up is otherwise intact, with small improvements to fuel economy and CO2 emissions. The entry-level 1.5-litre Ecoboost and the front-wheel-drive hybrid both yield an additional 2mpg compared with previously.
Ford has emphasised the Kuga’s towing performance, claiming it to have a best-in-class capacity of 2100kg (in four-wheel-drive hybrid and front-wheel-drive plug-in-hybrid guise). For reference, the new Volkswagen Tiguan can tow up to 2000kg, while the Kia Sportage can tow up to 1500kg.
New sat-nav functionality also allows drivers to enter the dimensions of their car and trailer, plotting a route that avoids tight turns and low bridges that could prove troublesome.
Despite the industry trending towards increased prices, the new Kuga is actually marginally less expensive than before.
The entry-level Titanium model is priced from £32,080, which is £1300 less than previously.
A new Active trim joins the SUV's line-up, providing a more rugged look alongside the sportier ST-Line.
The range-topping Vignale has been axed.