Update: ‘Design’ section updated and ‘Interior’ and ‘Release Date’ sections added.
Prototypes of the 2022 Ford Kuga (facelift), which the Americans know as the Ford Escape, have started their road tests ahead of a market launch expected by mid-2022. The third-generation Kuga (fourth-generation if you call it the Escape) went on sale in Q3 2019 in Europe and had an infamous entry into service.
The early batch of the third-gen Ford Kuga PHEV posed a fire risk, and Ford Europe, apart from halting sales, advised owners not to charge the SUV. This affected the launch of the Escape PHEV in the U.S., as the problem was identified with the battery cell supplier. However, the Blue Oval has rectified the issue, and the 2022 Ford Escape PHEV finally reached dealers in the United States in the second half of 2021.
2022 Ford Kuga Design
The design of the Kuga PHEV may not warrant significant changes as it is the best selling PHEV in Europe. Taking a cue from the redesigned Fiesta and Focus, the 2022 Ford Kuga is expected with new LED headlights sporting a rounded-off look. Aside from that, new spy shots on Motor.es on April 8, 2022, reveal that the Kuga facelift does not get the trapezoidal-shaped grille seen on the Fiesta and Focus.
The new spy shots are of a near-production prototype spotted on American streets with barely any camouflage. It gets a large radiator grille, horizontal lower air intake and sleek wraparound headlamps with LED DRL eyebrows. The prototype was seen running on Bridgestone Ecopia tires wrapped around 17-inch machine-cut rims. That said, the front and rear bumpers seem updated as well, but the detailing isn’t visible because of the camouflage. The twin tailpipes look sporty on the PHEV.
Interior & Features
Even though the new model is only a facelift, significant upgrades are expected on the inside. A notable feature could be the introduction of the SYNC 4 software. The current Escape PHEV comes with the older generation SYNC 3 system. SYNC 4 would bring twice the processing power of SYNC 3, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, updated user interface and graphics, screen split function to access multiple apps together, and internet connectivity, among others. Motor.es has reported that the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and the infotainment screen would be integrated into a single panel.
The current Kuga PHEV/Escape PHEV comes with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson cycle engine paired with a 14.4 kWh battery pack to offer an all-electric range of 35 miles (56 km) as per WLTP standards. Auto-Moto.com states that the electric range could be improved in the 2022 Kuga PHEV; whether that will come from better energy management or a larger capacity battery remains an unknown.
Motor.es states that the American version could launch before the Euro-spec version. Expect a digital debut and more details to be available towards the end of 2022, followed by the market launch in Q1 2023. Since the Ford Escape PHEV was added to lineup last year in the U.S., the company could do a phased launch for the variant, programing it later in 2023.
Ford Kuga PHEV’s Resounding Success
Despite the initial hiccups, Ford’s Kuga PHEV is a success story in Europe. Data revealed by Ford in August 2021 highlighted that customers of the Kuga PHEV covered 49 per cent of their distance last year on externally-charged electricity alone, which equates to potential fuel savings of EUR 800/year for the owner, as per Ford.
Ford said that the Kuga PHEV was the best-selling PHEV of any brand across all European markets in 2021. Ford sells more PHEV variants of the Kuga than other variants combined. By mid-decade, Ford’s Europe’s entire passenger vehicle range will be zero-emissions capable (PHEV or electric) and all-electric by 2030, with launches that include the Electric Ford Puma.
2022 Ford Kuga PHEV FAQs
What is the release date of the 2022 Ford Kuga PHEV?
The restyled Kuga range should be revealed this year, with the market launch (including the PHEV) likely to follow in the first half of 2023.
What are the rivals to the 2022 Ford Kuga PHEV?
Global rivals to the Kuga PHEV/Escape PHEV include the Kia Niro PHEV and the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV.
Featured Image – Rendering of the 2022 Kuga courtesy of Auto-Moto.com