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Ford compact people movers

They are the Kuga all-wheel drive and S-Max people mover.

Both are compact models built off the mechanical package of the Focus and could be easily added to the Ford Australia family, provided there is a case for solid local sales.

However, of the pair, the Kuga is more likely as it could swing in as a replacement for the ageing Escape.

Ford's group vice president, Derrick Kuzak, is enthusiastic for the pair but carsGuide understands Ford Australia cannot go it alone.

It will need the endorsement of a least one other Asia-Pacific market to get the nod.

Kuzak says Ford is looking at its options for both vehicles but they would need a sound business case for Australia.

Also, whether Kuga was a replacement for, or separate model, to the Escape was another issue.

“Escape has a very loyal following with millions of customers globally so we need to pay particular attention to those customers,” he says.

“We just need to ensure that customers are there today, when they're coming; as well as what we need to do to make a business case.”

Kuzak says that the advantage of having potential for either Kuga or C-Max locally could be built off the same supply base that will feed into the locally built Focus.

“You've got the platform, the supply base not only for the platform but interior and the rest of the vehicle,” he says.

“So you've got the scale already started for the platform as well as a manufacturing facility you'd like to put more capacity in.

“When you've made the business case for the first vehicle it's a lot easier for the rest of them to follow.”

The Kuga is 27mm shorter than the Escape, 50mm lower but 17mm wider and has a 70mm longer wheelbase.

At present it is available in Europe with the same 100kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel as the Focus.

However, next year the range will be expanded with a 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo, an engine shared with Volvo.

A key driver for the car is that like the Territory, it is available in either front or all-wheel drive.

The Kuga has a high level of standard equipment in Europe, including electronic stability control with combined anti rollover mitigation, anti-skid brakes and an intelligent all-wheel drive system that distributes torque up to 50/50 front and rear.

The all-wheel drive system is from Haldex, which also supplies Volvo.

Ford says the Kuga delivers best-in-class CO2 figure of 169g/km.

It has a roomy interior and luggage area that can fit from 410 litres to 1355 litres when the rear seats are folded flat.

By comparison Ford describes the five-seater C-Max as a “multi-activity vehicle” but in essence it is a sporty wagon.

In Europe it is available with three four-cylinder petrol engines, a turbo-diesel, LPG, CNG, and bio-ethanol.