Future Ford Kuga concept voted best in Detroit

Beating a field of competition which included the futuristic Kia KV7 MPV concept and the three-door Hyundai Veloster concept, the Ford Vertrek impressed judges because the concept could pave the way for a production car in future.

"Ford has been so focused on serious stuff such as small cars and fine-tuning production models that it hasn’t had a lot of time to craft concepts capable of turning heads at auto shows," said the editors of AutoWeek.

"Enter the Vertrek. It blends European styling with the practical needs of Americans. The best part is that Ford design boss J Mays says this concept is very close to the look of the next Escape (the Escape is the US version of the Ford Kuga)."

The Ford Vertrek is a large SUV concept based on Ford’s new C-segment platform – the basis for the new Ford Focus and Ford C-Max MPV.

It is expected to use Ford’s EcoBoost family of low-CO2 petrol engines, but a diesel option will be available in a production version as well.

The Ford Vertrek concept is expected to heavily influence a new Ford Kuga in the UK, but it is not expected to arrive in dealerships until 2012 at the earliest, and is more likely to appear a year later.

A rumoured small SUV, Ford’s answer to the Nissan Juke crossover, is also rumoured to have been considered by Ford, although no official announcement has been made.

The current generation Ford Kuga, which is available as a 4×4 or in two-wheel drive configuration, starts from £20,995 and comes in a choice of entry-level Zetec or range-topping Titanium specification (from £22,995).