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Future models - Ford - Kuga

LA show: Ford Escape plan previews new Kuga

Toughening up: The front end of the Escape has been made over in line with the rest of Ford's US SUV range, while Ford’s new Sync3 multimedia set-up eschews Apple and Android trend.

Ford Escape updated with Kuga-spec engines, fresh sheetmetal and due here in 2017

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Ford logo18 Nov 2015

By TIM ROBSON

FORD will display a facelifted version of its mid-size SUV, the Escape at the Los Angeles motor show this week, elements of which are expected to debut Down Under on the local equivalent, the Kuga, in 2017.

While the Kuga has already adopted the 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre petrol EcoBoost engines that will be added to the Escape next year, the Australian car will likely score the revised front and rear end, updated interior and upgraded infotainment system on show in LA.

Ford Australia has indicated that a mid-life facelift for the Kuga is due early in 2017, if not very late in 2016.

The Escape’s face has been completely remodelled, with a much larger, more prominent grille mimicking that of larger SUV products in the United States, as well as the new Ranger and Everest. New, squarer headlights and a new lower valance are complemented by a revised bonnet design.

The tail-lights also lose their softer, rounded shape, replaced by a deeper, simpler design. The tailgate has also been re-profiled, and the chrome garnish over the number plate recess has disappeared. All of the hard points – rear window, tailgate handle and exhaust valance – are unchanged.

Inside, the installation of an electronic handbrake has resulted in the relocation of the shifter onto the transmission tunnel, freeing up space for ancillary sockets.

A new three-spoke steering wheel with heating function and additional controls is featured in the Escape, while most other hard points remain unchanged.

The Sync3 system adds a great deal of functionality to the Escape, bringing with it Sync Connect, which allows the Escape to be remotely started and stopped, tyre pressure, oil and fuel levels to be checked and remote locking and unlocking via a smartphone app.

Adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, lane keeping, driver fatigue alert and enhanced autonomous parking are also offered on the Escape, adding to existing assistance tech such as blind-spot warning and cross-traffic detection.

Sync3 will be rolled out locally in 2016, making its debut in either the Focus or the Ranger, according to a Ford Australia spokesperson.

Kuga sales are down 22 per cent year on year to the end of October, with 3809 sales registered. The runaway leader in the mid-size SUV segment, the Mazda CX-5, has logged 21,050 sales in the same period.

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