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Making its debut at Los Angeles is the facelifted Ford Kuga (seen here wearing US-market Ford Escape badging) – the C-segment crossover gets a slew of updates to enhance its looks, performance and safety.

Firstly, something long overdue – the 2017 Kuga finally moves to wear Ford’s latest corporate face, with a large trapezoidal upper grille from the new Edge SUV, reshaped headlights, as well as reprofiled lower air intakes, indicators and fog lights.

The rear of the car also sees some changes, including reshaped tail lights with new internal graphics and clear lenses, along with a revised tailgate design. New wheel designs also feature, as well as a Sport Appearance Package for SE and Titanium trims.

At first glance, the interior is much the same as before, but closer inspection reveals that there are a fair few detail improvements here too. There’s a new three-spoke steering wheel is taken from the facelifted Focus, as well as new climate control switchgear. Seen here is the faster, more intuitive SYNC 3 infotainment system with an eight-inch capacitive touchscreen, already offered on the 2016 Escape.

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The central tunnel console has also been reconfigured with a new space-saving electronic parking brake, a revised gearlever design, cupholders that have been moved forward to sit next to the gearlever (freeing up space for a new storage tray ahead of the armrest), a relocated 12V power socket and a new USB port.

Making its debut on a Ford is SYNC Connect, available in the US with the SYNC 3 system (activation is free for the first five years). The new mobile app is able to remotely lock, unlock and start the car, and can even schedule future starts. Also provided is vehicle information such as location, tyre pressures and battery and fuel levels.

Safety has been given a big boost with the refresh – the Kuga is now available with adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning with brake support, enhance active park assist that can now park in both parallel and perpendicular spaces as well as exit from tight parallel ones autonomously, lane-keeping system (including alert and aid) and a driver alert system that warns of fatigued driving.

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Under the bonnet, there are fewer upgrades – in the US, the base 2.5 litre naturally-aspirated Duratec four-cylinder petrol engine is retained, and while the 180 PS/240 Nm 1.5 litre turbocharged, direct-injected EcoBoost petrol four is new for that market (replacing the 1.6 litre unit), we already received the mill earlier this year in our current Kuga.

The uprated 2.0 litre EcoBoost engine is the real news here – first seen on the new Edge, it gains a new, lighter engine block, an aluminium balance shaft, new pistons with a higher compression ratio (9.7:1 vs 9.3:1), new fuel injectors, a Borg-Warner twin-scroll turbocharger and a new integrated exhaust manifold optimised for the new turbine. As a result, it puts out 245 hp and 373 Nm, 5 hp and 7 Nm more than before.

Carried over is the standard (in the US) six-speed SelectShift torque converter automatic transmission, but with added steering wheel gearshift paddles on SE and Titanium models. Other markets should also retain the current six-speed manual option.