The Ford Kuga, which is also known as the Escape in North America, has been given a mid-cycle facelift. This comes more than three years after the midsize SUV built on Ford’s C2 platform first made its debut back in April 2019.
In terms of styling changes, the latest Kuga/Escape gets an octagonal-shaped grille and sharper LED headlamps, the latter linked by an LED light bar on higher trim levels. Other revisions include a restyled front lower apron, new LED daytime running light and taillight signatures as well as revised wheel designs.
The ST-Line trim is a new option for the SUV, which brings with its black exterior accents, a prominent single-wing rear spoiler and body-coloured lower bumpers and wheel arches. Other available trims include the Base, Active, Platinum and Plug-in Hybrid – we’ll get to the powertrains later.
Inside, the Kuga/Escape receives Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment system with support for wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This is linked to a substantially larger 13.2-inch touchscreen, which is joined by a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster display.
The large touchscreen integrates the climate controls, so the panel it previously occupied below the central air vents now features quick access buttons for various vehicle functions as well as the engine start/stop button.
Depending on the chosen trim level, other available features include Evasive Steering Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Predictive Speed Assist, a 360-degree camera, rear parking sensors, Cross Traffic Braking, a wireless charging pad and the Co-Pilot 360 suite that now has Intersection Assist 2.0 and Blind Spot Assist.
As for powertrains, there’s an EcoBoost 1.5 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine that makes 181 hp and 258 Nm of torque, which can be had with front- or all-wheel drive. There’s also a 2.0 litre four-cylinder version of the EcoBoost serving up 250 hp and 380 Nm, although this can only be had with AWD. An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard for EcoBoost models.
The two remaining options are electrified, both with a Duratec 2.5 litre Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder that is rated at 165 hp and 210 Nm, paired with an eCVT. The regular hybrid comes with FWD or AWD, the former projected to provide 210 hp.
Joining the mix is a plug-in hybrid that provides up to 60 km of electric-only range, is FWD only and packs 221 hp. With a 110-volt Level 1 AC charging outlet, the PHEV’s battery takes about 10 to 11 hours to fully charge, while a 240-volt Level 2 input cuts the time down to 3.5 hours.
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