Ford is unveiling a new, more powerful version of the Kuga crossover at the Paris show next month but its high CO2 output will attract a heavy tax burden here in the UK.

The new 200PS, 2.5-litre Duratec Turbo petrol engine offers improved performance and an optional 'Durashift 5-tronic' automatic transmission but the car's 234g/km CO2 output (244g for the automatic) immediately plunge it into the UK's top G band for annual road tax, currently at GBP400 a year.

Under proposed revised bands, the car will cost owners GBP415 in the 2009/10 tax year and GBP430 plus a GBP750 'showroom tax' in 2010/11 (should the present Labour government remain in power after the 2010 election; the rival Conservatives have promised a review).

Ford will also now offer the Kuga with Individual vehicle personalisation options, combining a new exterior body kit and 20-inch alloy wheels with updated interior.

The 2.5-litre Duratec Turbo engine is already available in the Ford's Mondeo and S-Max models as well as the Focus ST.

Gunnar Herrmann, C-car vehicle line director at Ford of Europe said: "We always intended the new Kuga to be the most dynamic crossover vehicle in its class.  The new 2.5-litre Duratec Turbo petrol powertrain offers extra performance and is a perfect match for the vehicle. The added power and refinement adds a lot of fun when driving both on- and off-road."

The model has a Haldex Gen 4 intelligent AWD system and manual six-speed transmission as standard.

"For a vehicle in this segment and performance, the homologated combined fuel economy of just 9.9 l/100 km (average CO2 output 234 g/km) is very reasonable," Ford said.