Ford testing baby SUV

Ford is conducting testing on a Fiesta-based off-roader.
Ford is conducting testing on a Fiesta-based off-roader.

FORD'S new pint-sized SUV is getting closer.

The Fiesta-based off-roader has been caught by Drive's spy photographers in mule form during testing in Europe.

The car that has been spotted is an unchanged Fiesta hatchback sitting atop high-riding off-road underpinnings, but sources are suggesting the exterior design of the new SUV is expected to borrow a few styling cues from the bigger Kuga soft-roader, with wider guards and a more aggressive front bumper and grille the most likely changes.

The snappers managed to get in close to get a good look at the Pirelli all-terrain tyres fitted to the mule's 16-inch wheels. The close-up image also gives a good indication of how much higher the SUV version of the Fiesta will be, with a notably large gap between the tyre and the body, and the wheels also sit wider than the regular hatchback version, indicating a wider track and therefore better on- and off-road stability.

As Drive has previously reported, the new city-friendly SUV – which is likely to compete against pint-sizers such as Suzuki's SX4, Mitsubishi's ASX and Nissan's Dualis – will be offered in a choice of two- and four-wheel-drive.

The as-yet-unnamed SUV is likely to be powered by a range of diesel and petrol engines, including a turbocharged EcoBoost version, likely to be the recently revealed 1.0-litre three-cylinder version.

There is currently no word on when the new Ford city SUV will be unveiled, though it is likely to go on sale in 2012 in Europe.

Topics:  drive ford motoring

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