The increased footprint could translate into a third row of seats or at least a bigger trunk.

It may look like a fairly standard current-generation Ford Escape (Kuga in Europe), but there are some strange things going on with this vehicle. For starters, the body seems to have grown in size aft the C-pillar and that could translate into a possible third row of seats suitable for kids and/or a more spacious trunk. The gap noticeable around the rear wheels is a telltale sign the next iteration of the compact SUV will be bigger.

Then there’s the placement of the fuel cap, now sitting on the rear-left fender as seen on the new Focus IV. While the fender on the other side still has what looks to be a round fuel cap, it could just be Ford playing tricks on us by applying a white tape. The rear end also strikes us as being a bit peculiar since the bumper has the cutouts for the two exhaust tips, but these are actually positioned lower and pointed towards the road. A few pieces of trim surrounding the rear window are missing, as well as the wiper.

Moving at the front of the test mule, some steel wires are sticking out from underneath the hood and are connected to the tow hook. We don’t know what that means, though it could be a sign Ford was testing something new in the engine compartment.

Although the attached batch of spy shots does not provide us with a clear view of the interior, it’s easy to notice the test vehicle had a work-in-progress cabin as the central air vents were positioned on top of the dashboard.

Ford must have been testing the vehicle’s off-road capabilities taking into account the 2020 Kuga / Escape eventually exited the tarmac in order to tackle a slightly more difficult terrain.

All things considered, the fact that the test mule looks a bit rudimentary is an indication we won’t see the final production version anytime soon. When it will eventually arrive, it’s going to mark the return of a hybrid derivative, with plug-in capabilities and the "Energi" suffix.

Photos: Automedia

Gallery: 2020 Ford Kuga / Escape spy photos

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