Ford’s OneFord product plan – all but identical models sold in most markets worldwide – moved into crossovers today (Wednesday, 16 November) as the redesigned Escape for North America and Kuga for Europe and China was unveiled at the Los Angeles motor show.

The vehicle is all-new for the US – replacing the Escape line shared with Mazda, whose own version was called Tribute, and a substantial rework of the European Kuga which will be shown at the Geneva show in March with ‘unique’ European powertrains and features.

The new Escape has more cargo volume behind the first and second rows than the outgoing Escape and features include an optional hands-free power liftgate that allows cargo room access with the kick of a foot.

The automaker is predicting the new model will achieve best fuel economy of any US compact SUV, up to 5mpg better than the previous Escape.

Other features include SYNC with MyFord Touch which offers multiple ways to manage and control information through voice commands, menus accessed through controls on the steering wheel, touch screens, buttons or knobs; active park assist; sensor-based blind spot information system with cross-traffic alert as well as curve control, torque vectoring control and a new intelligent 4WD system.

US models will have petrol engines – optional 1.6- and two-litre I4 EcoBoost units and a standard 2.5-litre I4. The European engine options – the current model offers two-litre diesel or 2.5-litre turbo petrol – will be announced next year. The standard transmission in the US is the Ford/Getrag six-speed twin-clutch automatic currently optional for the European Kuga.

Aiding fuel economy is Escape’s sleeker design. The new model is nearly 10 per cent more aerodynamic than the outgoing model.

The new Escape has the Focus’ active grille shutter system on models with the 1.6- and 2.5-litre engines to reduce wind resistance.

Ford said European sales of compact sport utilities like the Kuga have grown 200% since 2000.

The Kuga will also be sold in China from next spring.