At the 2011 Detroit auto show, Ford rolled out the new Vertrek concept, a small SUV built on the company's C platform, which also supports the Focus and C-Max. The Vertrek indicates the design direction for the new Ford Escape, which will be a radical change from the boxy car of past generations.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The hood of the Vertrek bulges up, probably more than needed for the turbocharged direct injection 1.6-liter Ecoboost engine specified for the car. The trapezoidal grille is a newish design element for Ford, seen previously on the Fiesta. Expect this grille treatment to become standard.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
LED headlights mark this car as a concept. Light pipes in the headlight casing handle turn signals, showing sequential lighting.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
Ford showcases its idle stop technology with the Vertrek, and although this is no hybrid, includes a regenerative braking system to keep the battery charged. This latter technology complements the former, due to the battery drain incurred during long traffic lights when the engine shuts itself down.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The back of the car is nearly vertical, maximizing cargo space. At the same time, Ford says the Vertrek is much more aerodynamic than the current Escape.

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The concept has bucket seats front and rear, but the eventual production Escape based on the Vertrek would probably have a rear bench to accommodate five passengers.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The steering wheel controls show a variation on the D-pad style of buttons seen on cars equipped with MyFord Touch.

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Although completely digital, the Vertrek's instrument cluster is surprisingly plain in monochrome. This design should help reduce distraction, as a driver's eyes will not be drawn to it.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The drive selector includes a power button in the middle, along with a dial that seems to be the shifter. The Vertrek would use a six-speed transmission.

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Photo by: Josh Miller/CNET
The center stack echoes the design of that in the Ford Fiesta, although in simplified form. The interface dial is similar to that used as the drive selector. The center LCD is small, probably indicating the economy nature of the car.

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Photo by: Ford
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