International Auto Show : New Kuga gets in Eshape crossover

International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford will take the wraps off of a thinly-veiled concept version of its next-generation Escape crossoverThis striking off-roader is the star of the blue oval’s Detroit Motor Show stand, and previews an upcoming replacement for the company’s Focus-based SUV.

International Auto Show : New Kuga gets in Eshape crossover

The car is called the Vertrek, and is only a concept for now – but design boss Martin Smith says it’s very close to the production version, which insiders are 
tipping for a mid-2012 UK launch. It’s said to be more versatile and cheaper to run than the present model, thanks 
to increased space and EcoBoost petrol turbos with stop-start. 

What’s more, Ford 
will sell it in the US and the rest of the world for the first time. As with the latest Fiesta, Focus and C-MAX, the new Kuga is a global car – which means it will replace the conservatively styled Escape in America, while also reaching markets as far afield as China. Ford believes converging worldwide tastes will ensure that 
the newcomer’s looks will prove a 
big hit all 
the planet. “It brings new 
excitement to the crossover 
and compact SUV arena, and is our vision of how kinetic design can redefine this growing market segment globally,” said styling boss J Mays. “The ‘Vertrek’ name signals versatility and capability, typifying the personality of the revolution in this market.”

Following owner criticism of the current Kuga’s limited load space and rear legroom, the car 
is 100mm longer – with 100mm more in the wheelbase – and 50mm wider. As a result, Ford says it’s more practical, offering up to 20 per cent extra space. So expect a load capacity of around 440 litres with the rear seats in place and a 1,600-litre maximum. 

If the Vertrek’s styling is carried through to production, the new Kuga should be a handsome machine. Its design evolves the current model’s look, dividing the lower trapezoidal grille into three (just like on the new Focus), with slimmer lights front and rear.

A fresh feature is the raised bonnet bulge, which carries through to the panoramic glass roof. The chunky wheelarches and steeply angled C-pillar are retained, and the muscular details are emphasised by striking Liquid Platinum paintwork.

“The building blocks of kinetic design are in line with what we believe customers want in future compact SUVs,” said executive design director Martin Smith. “They include defining the stance and how the body is set over the wheels; strong and precisely 
executed surfacing; dynamic, expressive lines; and a sleeker aerodynamic profile.” Inside, themes from the new Focus and C-MAX are evolved, with a bold, wing-like facia. This extends through the side glass into rear view cameras which replace 
traditional wing mirrors.

The instrument panel is wrapped in Dusk Grey leather, contrasted by satin materials on the console, while the four super-
slim seats are covered in tanned, velour leather, with the “robust quality of Bavarian Lederhosen”, according to Smith. Neon red-orange highlights contrast with these colours and materials.

While the concept has space for four, the production version will be a five-seater. There are rumours of a sportier three-door in future. The car will be stacked with kit, too, including Ford’s SYNC package – an infotainment system featuring a music hard drive and Internet access via any mobile device such as a smartphone. There will also be active parking, a blind spot alert and traffic sign recognition.

Under the bonnet, the Vertrek is powered by the latest 1.6-litre EcoBoost petrol turbo, with stop-start. Smart regenerative braking converts energy from the anchors to electrical energy in order to top up the battery and power 
various in-car functions.

New Kuga gets in Eshape crossover

The new Kuga will also come with Ford’s latest 2.0-litre TDCi diesel. But unlike in the C-MAX and Focus, Ford is hinting that 
it won’t be available with hybrid or electric power – bosses claim buyers will use their cars for ‘weekend getaways’, which makes motorway performance a priority. The Kuga replacement is tipped to get the same part-time 4WD as the current car, with a front-driven model available, too.

There’s more in store for Ford crossovers in the coming months, with the eagerly awaited Fiesta-based compact SUV – the B-MAX – due to debut at March’sGeneva Motor Show. And the Focus range is likely to be further boosted by a much-rumoured Focus Coupé later in the year.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...