European Escape’s Revamp adds faster plug-in hybrid option in middle of release.
The latest Ford Kuga for the European market may seem quite recognizable upon first glance, and there’s a logical explanation for this. The American counterpart, known as the Escape, underwent a major facelift towards the end of 2022. However, it is only now that the Blue Oval has decided to upgrade the compact crossover for the Old Continent, with some significant alterations in tow.
In an exciting development, the Kuga is now available in the Active trim level, featuring additional plastic body cladding and shiny silver skid plates for a more rugged appearance. The adventurous vibe is enhanced by a 0.4 inch (10 millimeter) increase in height at the front axle and a 0.2 inch (5 mm) increase at the rear, providing improved ground clearance. Furthermore, Ford has included a Trail drive mode which adjusts throttle response and traction control for better handling on muddy, sandy, and other unstable terrains.
The interior of the Kuga Active features a deep-toned wooden accent on the dashboard and door panels, along with distinctive upholstery on the 18-way adjustable seats. It is important to mention that the Escape has already offered the Active trim as its entry-level option in the United States for some time now. In Europe, the 2024 Kuga will also be released in Titanium and ST-Line models, each featuring nuanced design modifications compared to their pre-facelift counterparts.
As anticipated, the 2024 Kuga makes use of Ford’s latest SYNC4 technology, featuring a 13.2-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The center console has undergone a streamline process by removing traditional controls and incorporating their functions into the larger display.
The selection of engines no longer features a diesel due to the declining popularity of these types of vehicles in Europe following the Volkswagen Group’s scandal. The standard option now boasts a turbocharged 1.5-liter EcoBoost motor with 148 horsepower that powers the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission. Alternatively, you can opt for a self-charging hybrid version, equipped with a 2.5-liter gasoline engine and an electric motor producing a total output of 177 hp for the front-wheel-drive variant and a marginally elevated 180 hp for the all-wheel-drive variant.
The main attraction is a revamped plug-in hybrid, featuring a 2.5-liter engine. This powerful engine delivers a combined 240 horsepower, a significant increase of 30 horsepower compared to the Escape PHEV. Additionally, it boasts an extra 18 horsepower compared to the previous version of the Kuga PHEV. The power is distributed through an upgraded power-split automatic transmission, which is also found in the Kuga Hybrid AWD.
The latest version of the Kuga PHEV boasts an impressive 0-62 mph (100 km/h) acceleration time of just 7.3 seconds, a significant improvement of almost two seconds from its previous model. Additionally, its towing capability has also surged by more than 30%, now reaching an impressive capacity of 4,629 pounds (2,100 kilograms). Equipped with a 14.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, this vehicle boasts a maximum electric range of 43 miles (69 kilometers) in the WLTP cycle.
Ford has recently started accepting pre-orders for the 2024 Kuga in select European nations. According to a publication from Automotive News in the previous year, it was reported that the Escape would no longer be available in the United States by 2025.