New Ford Kuga previewed in Vertrek concept

The Vertrek concept looks almost production ready, offering more load space than the current Ford Kuga model by around 15 per cent.

The extra space comes despite the model being based on the same platform as the Kuga, although the dimensions are slightly larger than the car it is set to replace.

In terms of design, the new styling includes an all-new front end and dramatic, glass-laden roofline. The new design is not just for show, Ford claims it is more aerodynamic than the current Kuga and should help to squeeze more miles out of the engine.

The concept’s engine is the 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol unit, and although performance figures have not been revealed, CO2 emissions and fuel consumption is expected to be up to 15 per cent lower than the current generation.

The inclusion of an EcoBoost engine is in keeping with Ford’s plans to introduce an EcoBoost option to 80 per cent of its global vehicles. Currently the likes of the Ford C-Max, Grand C-Max and new 2011 Ford Focus all offer an EcoBoost derivative.

Ford’s 2.0-litre Duratorq TDCi engine has also been pinpointed as a possible engine for a production version of the Vertrek, and a choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions would be likely.

Ford has also showcased some of its more advanced technology in the concept, including active part assist, blind spot information systems and a push-button start.

A full production model, which will be named the Kuga for Europe and Escape for the US market, is expected to emerge later in the year.

In keeping with Ford’s global strategy, the next Ford Kuga will be designed for North American, Chinese and European markets, with very few differences to the model for each.