Unbeknownst to most Americans, Ford sells a rather modern compact crossover overseas called the Kuga. We tired, poor, huddled masses yearned for more than the warmed-over Escape — slightly distinct from the original but still blocky enough to be regarded as ancient. That won’t be the case going forward.
Chief designer J Mays said the Vertrek “is not a production vehicle,” but it looks close to production ready. At a media briefing last month, Mays compared the concept to the current Kuga and Escape. At 73.8 inches wide and 178.5 inches long, the concept is a few inches longer and wider than both.
With a steeply raked windshield, thin lights and a rugged, high-fender stance, the Vertrek looks similar to Kia’s new Sportage. The headlights and taillights feature concentric pipes of light – very cool up close, but the sort of thing that probably won’t make it to production; the carbon-fiber accents atop the tailgate or the concept’s 21-inch wheels probably won’t make it, either.
Will the Vertrek concept, in its eventual production form, replace both the Escape and the Kuga? Given Mays’ talk of fusing American shoppers’ desires, like towing capacity, with the larger wants of a global consumer, the smart money says yes.
Given Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s penchant for keeping high-recognition nameplates around, we don’t expect the next Escape to adopt the Vertrek name.