Things are not going so well for Ford in Europe at the moment: the previously popular Kuga has lost ground in the important German market. By November 2023, 20,447 new vehicles had been registered, over 10,000 fewer than in the same period last year. A fresh impetus is therefore urgently needed. 

And it will come, as these first prototype pictures of the facelift in the European version show. The two prototypes were apparently caught near the Ford test site in Lommel, Belgium, as the number plates reveal. There are no real surprises for connoisseurs, as the look with new headlights and grille is already available in the USA. The Kuga's sister model, the Escape, is already in dealerships there with the same look.

Gallery: Ford Kuga facelift (2024) spy photos

Ford's Head of Design Amko Leenarts says that "not every customer wants a boxy SUV", which is why the appearance of the Escape 2023 has become slimmer. The new LED headlights are standard across the entire model range. Larger 19-inch wheels are standard on the ST-Line Elite and optional on the ST-Line Select, giving the compact crossover more presence on the road.

A more significant change becomes apparent as soon as you enter the interior, as the Ford Escape 2023 switches to the Group's SYNC 4 infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as support for OTA updates. It has a generous 13.2-inch diagonal and is complemented by a fully digital 12.3-inch instrument cluster.

Ford Kuga Facelift (2024) Erlkönigfotos
Ford Kuga Facelift (2024) Erlkönigfotos

We will also see all of this in Europe from 2024. A striking feature of the barely camouflaged Euro prototypes is a moulding above the grille. Whether it is made of chrome or contains LED technology is still unclear. In contrast to the Escape, the entry-level petrol engine with 148 bhp and the 118 bhp diesel will probably continue to be available in this country. The latter will probably be available with 113 bhp and an 8-speed automatic transmission, as in the Focus.

It remains to be seen what will become of the previously popular plug-in hybrid version. Here, the Kuga has a total system output of 222 bhp. A full hybrid with 187 bhp is also currently on offer. Be that as it may: in 2024, the delayed electric Explorer and the Kuga facelift will finally bring new passenger car models from Ford. There is also speculation about an electric SUV called the Capri.

So far, the brand has made a name for itself more through cancellations in the model range: the last Fiesta rolled off the production line in 2023, and the Mondeo is also history in Europe. The fate of the Focus is still unclear, while the Kuga is set until 2027. Cooperation in the commercial vehicle sector with Volkswagen is going much better: the new Transit/Tourneo Custom recently appeared, which will also mutate into the new VW T7 Transporter by 2025.