The new Ford Kuga has only just been unveiled, but the midsize SUV has already given a makeover, this time for the Chinese market. The Escape, as it’s known in the Middle Kingdom, gets a new, more extroverted front end on the top Titanium trim to please customers over there.

Changes are few but fairly significant, with the massive grille – replacing the already sizeable item on the Kuga – dominating proceedings. The octagonal opening gets a “Nebula Shield” mesh with a hexagonal pattern and a chrome finish with black highlights, extending to the surrounding trim that flows into the headlights. The air intakes have also been reprofiled to suit.

“After considerable research, we found that Chinese consumers favour ‘subtle and dynamic’ aesthetics – they prefer designs that are understated yet powerful,” said vice president of global design Moray Callum.

The rest of the car is pretty much identical to the Kuga, with the soft, smoothened design that is typical of Fords these days. No mechanical details have been revealed just yet, but the Kuga is available around the world with 1.5 litre 2.0 litre turbocharged EcoBoost petrol and EcoBlue diesel engines, a mild hybrid 2.0 litre diesel, a standard hybrid and a plug-in hybrid – the latter has an all-electric range of over 50 km.

Like its twin, the Escape is built on the Focus’ new global C2 architecture that promises to be stiffer and offer a weight saving of up to 90 kg model for model. The previous-generation model will continue to be sold alongside the new offering, confusingly called the Kuga.