Fords second-generation Kuga wont break any new ground think of it more as an update of a successful formula.
The new Kuga is a global model, like the latest Focus, with only minor cosmetic differences between the versions sold across the world. The US version, called Escape, was unveiled at the LA motor show in November. Exterior changes for the UK Kuga will be limited to different front and rear bumper designs and minor trim details.
The biggest change is a significant increase in length. 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 greatly improved. The cabin will also get Fords latest infotainment systems, and much of the switchgear is shared with the current Focus.
The Kuga will have Fords latest four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines. Stop-start technology should 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 likely to be rolled out.
Honda unveiled the US version of the new CR-V at the 2011 LA Auto Show, but little will change for the European model, which is due to be launched in the autumn. Honda has yet to confirm details, but the differences arent expected to extend beyond different engines and minor changes to the lights and bumpers.
The new CR-V has a similar side window profile to the current car, but theres a bolder look at the front and rear. Its slightly larger, so should be more practical; rumours of a seven-seat version have yet to be confirmed.
European versions of the CR-V will be built at Hondas Swindon factory, which has just started producing the new Civic. The CR-V is likely to use some of that cars technology, including its 2.2-litre diesel engine. An updated 2.0-litre petrol is also likely.
What is it? All-new seven-seater
Price from 23,000 (est)
On sale Winter
The Santa Fe name will disappear from showrooms in 2012, but that doesnt mean Hyundai is about to drop the idea of a large SUV. In fact, the Korean manufacturer will push its range-topper further upmarket in terms of size.
The new SUV is likely to be badged ix45 and wed expect it to get Hyundais latest range of diesel powerplants, incorporating new transmissions and engine stop-start to help improve fuel economy and cut CO2 emissions. That means the line-up could include Hyundais higher-output 1.7-litre diesel (a 134bhp engine already seen in the i40 saloon and Tourer), along with an improved version of the existing 2.2.
We shouldnt have to wait long for the details; the new SUV is tipped to appear, in US-market form, at the Detroit motor show in January. UK sales wont start until late 2011, however.