Ford Vertrek Concept: 2011 Detroit Auto Show

January 13, 2011

Gotta love Motor City auto shows. It’s good to see virtually all the automakers coming back to Motown to give consumers a glimpse of what’s about to come out as well as show off their latest concept vehicles. Nothing against the Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Miami, et al. auto shows, but in January, Detroit’s where it’s at. Ford certainly thought so, using the venue to show off a number of vehicles – including the Vertrek Concept, a compact SUV.

The Vertrek certainly appears to be a stunner, and a sign of where Ford may be taking future compact SUV design. In fact, the automaker’s press release comes right out and says that the Vertrek concept “showcases key elements of the company’s evolving global kinetic design philosophy.” What is kinetic design, actually? According to Ford, kinetic design is all about a fun-to-drive experience, exquisite detailing, flowing lines, muscularity, and advanced technology. Who wouldn’t want that?

But it’s all about attracting new customers. As Martin Smith, Ford’s executive design director, says in the Ford press release, “Overall, the Vertrek concept is a sleeker, sportier and smarter representation of what customers want in a compact SUV.”

Key design elements

Going further into the design intent, Ford iterates the “aggressive lower grille treatment, faster roofline and rising beltline with rear kickup.” Specific design elements of the Vertrek Concept SUV which, by the way, was inspired by the European Ford Kuga crossover, include:

  • Lower trapezoidal grille – the three section grille identifies Vertrek as the latest Ford (the first such grille appeared on the Ford Focus)
  • Slimmer treatment of headlamps and taillamps – showcasing the advanced technology in the rest of the vehicle
  • Muscular hood – a sign that advanced powertrains hide beneath?
  • Faster roofline – for improved aerodynamics and better fuel economy
  • Rising beltline – the automaker says this signals Vertrek’s “dynamic presence”
  • Wheel arches – for a solid, athletic-looking stance
  • Wheels – that combine a sporty and lightweight look
  • Panoramic roof – which probably won’t make it into production because of stringent governmental roof crush standards

Interior Ford Vertrek Concept SUV

Interior Ford Vertrek Concept SUV

Little light on the details, but this is a concept SUV after all. Nothing about the powertrain or anticipated fuel economy, not even safety technology or too much about the high-tech features and options. Ford does say that Vertrek concept will have interior cargo volume comparable to the current Ford Escape. And the interior certainly has some nice touches…handcrafted woven-leather floor materials and such.

We’ll see what makes it to production. And, of course, Family Car Guide will be all over the Vertrek compact SUV when, and if, it comes out.

Be sure to check out Nelson Ireson’s story on Ford’s Vertrek Concept direct from the floor of the Detroit Auto Show.

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