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Ford Kuga arrives in March

"Kuga marks a name change from Escape but has newer technologies."

The Ford Kuga compact SUV will go on sale in March in two trim levels to give the Blue Oval brand a competitor in a segment Ford Australia president Bob Graziano says is increasingly important to all car brands.

"Kuga marks a name change from Escape but has newer technologies, improved safety and performance and Ford's corporate kinetic design DNA," Ford Australia president.

"Our strategy with the Kuga is clear - build awareness of the nameplate ahead of the launch of the all-new model approximately 12 months later."

The SUV will be powered by a 2.5-litre turbo Duratec V6 engine with 147kW and 320Nm and compete with likes of Toyota's RAV4, the Nissan Dualis and Holden's Captiva range.

The Focus range will also be expanded with the launch of the Focus ST, powered by a 2.0-litre engine. "It stakes its claim as Ford's first truly global performance car," Graziano says.

The ST will replace the existing XR5 Turbo and will top the Focus range until the next RS model arrives Down Under.