New Ford Kuga revealed

* New Ford Escape at LA motor show * Will be next Ford Kuga * On sale here late 2012...

New Ford Kuga revealed

This is the new Ford Escape, which will go on sale as the new Ford Kuga in the UK in late 2012.

The Escape will make its debut at the LA motor show. The Kuga version will be all-but-identical: exterior changes will be limited to the design of the front grille and foglights. The Kuga will have more chrome exterior trim, too, and therell be minor changes to the dashboard and centre console design.

The biggest change is a significant increase in length over the current car. This should remedy the current Kugas biggest problem a cabin thats not as roomy as many rivals. A longer wheelbase will provide useful extra rear legroom, while boot space should also be improved.

The cabin also gets Fords latest information and entertainment systems. Much of the switchgear is from the latest Focus.

The Kuga will have Fords latest four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, with a choice of 1.6 and 2.0-litre units. Stop-start technology will help to lower CO2 emissions and, as with the current car, front- and four-wheel-drive versions will be available. Eventually, plug-in hybrid and electric versions are expected to be rolled out.

Technology from the latest Focus will be available for the Kuga, so buyers will be able to specify a wealth of high-tech safety and convenience features. Options include an electrically powered tailgate that opens when you wave your foot under the rear bumper, and Active Park Assist.

Prices arent likely to change significantly compared with the current Kugas when the new model goes on sale in late 2012, so expect a starting price of around 22,000.