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Ford Kuga, Focus ST, Fusion and EcoSpot at the motor show

The Kuga is expected to go on sale with 2.0-litre turbo diesel and petrol powerplants.

The changing story of Ford is being told at AIMS. Once synonymous with a big, plain Australian family car, the local branch of the Blue Oval brand is embracing Ford’s sophisticated international product and technology.

Called the “One Ford” strategy, it looks pretty good. Heading that act is the best engine of 2012 – the EcoBoost 1.0- litre – which will first be seen here in the Ford Fiesta, followed by the EcoSport sub-compact SUV. The turbocharged threecylinder engine will be sold in two specifications – 74kW/170Nm and a high-output 91kW/170Nm.

Fuel consumption should range from a diesel-like 4.8-5.0 litres/100km. Ford spokesman Neil McDonald says the “replacement for displacement’’ engine won’t disappoint in terms of performance or economy. In that respect, it’s much like the 2.0-litre EcoBoost engine already powering the Mondeo and Falcon.

If sheet metal is more to your liking than what’s under the hood, there’s the first look at the EcoSport, new Ford Kuga, Focus ST hot hatch and the Ford Fusion. The Fusion is the US-designed version of the next Ford Mondeo, which gets here late next year. The new car rides on the existing chassis to its rear suspension to one like that used by BMW and Audi.

The result is expected to be an improved ride over the already good balance between comfort and performance in the existing Mondeo. The sloping “fastback’’ roofline was penned by British designer Chris Hamilton and Ford is using a scalloped roof lining to ensure the striking styling doesn’t restrict rear headroom. A bigger boot and updated styling mark the arrival of the second-generation Ford Kuga (above).

A foot-activated automatic tailgate is among the neat touches this compact SUV brings to the market segment that’s attracting record numbers of buyers. Active park assist and a blind spot warning system are also expected to be part of the package, based on the European and US models.

The Kuga is expected to go on sale with 2.0-litre turbo diesel and petrol powerplants. If the Kuga’s not compact enough, try the EcoSport, which is based on the Fiesta small car and is expected to be priced under $25,000.