While the South is being slowly buried beneath snow this week, the Motor City is alive with the machinations of the 2011 Detroit Auto Show. Key among Ford's unveilings at the show is the new Vertrek Concept, intended as a preview of Ford's next-gen global compact SUV.

Building on the heritage of both the Escape and European-market Kuga, the Vertrek pairs a sleeker, more modern shape with a slightly larger size. Power from the company's four-cylinder EcoBoost lineup promises strong fuel efficiency, and recently-announced tech like automatic start-stop boosts that goal further.

Ford calls the design of the Vertrek an evolution of the "kinetic design" theme featured on its most recent generation of cars and crossovers. To achieve the desired stance, Ford's designers penned a "faster" roofline with a more sloped windshield angle for better aerodynamics; a lower trapezoidal grille more like that found on the new 2012 Focus; slim headlights and tail lights (likely a concept-only feature); a multi-surfaced hood to signal the EcoBoost living underneath; and of course the panoramic glass roof for a sense of openness.

The panoramic glass roof, at least as it's currently designed, is likely to stop with the concept, however, as it's unlikely to be able to withstand new federal roof-crush safety standards. A more conventional square-panel inset panoramic roof may take its place in the production model.

Inside, the design is even more concept-oriented, showcasing technology and futuristic design themes through the unique dash and thin, molded seats. The ambient highlighting neon, texture combinations, and color schemes could point toward the production model, however.

Built on Ford's global C-segment platform, the production model presaged by the Vertrek will move Ford closer toward its goal of unifying new-model design across its many markets, along with the U.S.-bound (nee Grand) C-Max and the Energi Plug-in and C-Max Hybrid concepts, also based on the C-segment platform.

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