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Ford's next Kuga SUV has been spied testing, this time in the United States and wearing near production ready bodywork, compared to previous mules cloaked as current versions of the firm's Renault Kadjar, Volkswagen Tiguan and Peugeot 3008 rival.

Though recently updated and sitting pretty as the sixth best selling car in Europe so far in 2018, the current Kuga is five years old this year, and with manufacturers seeing big growth in the SUV segment, Ford is in need of fresh metal. This new Kuga is still a few years from hitting showrooms, however, as evidenced by the substantial camouflage hiding the new car's refreshed design.

It’s likely that the next Kuga will share its platform with the new Focus, and a slight increase in size is on the cards, as hinted at by the longer rear overhang and extended wheel arches of the previous mule. The styling will be influenced by the next Focus too, feeding off the all-new design language that model is expected to usher in. In these latest images, we can see that the shape of the tailgate and taillights appear to be spun-off from the latest version of the firm's popular family hatchback.

Inside, expect the latest Ford interior package. That means a more horizontally actuated design for the dashboard, with a trademark floating tablet-style infotainment display perched atop the centre console, as spotted in these latest images.

It’s quite likely that the next Kuga will sport a hybrid powertrain option too. Ford recently announced plans to significantly invest in electrification and will spend almost £8bn in a bid to introduce 40 electrified vehicles including full EVs across various markets by 2022. A fully electric compact SUV is high on the firm’s list of priorities too, though it’s unlikely that this will be a Kuga EV.

With the current Kuga marking the mid-way point of its life with a facelift early last year, it will be a few years yet before the next-generation model arrives in showrooms, with a reveal in 2020 on the cards.

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