Earlier today, Ford pulled the wraps off the production version of its Everest 4x4 wagon at the Beijing Auto Show. The proddie version stays true to the concept of last year and promises to be one of the most exciting 4x4 releases of 2015 when it’s launched here in the first half of 2015. It certainly should give the Prado something to think about.
What we know
The images from China show the styling takes its cues from the T6 Ranger ute, on which it is based and we expect the ute to adopt the Everest front sheet metal and interior changes when it’s updated later in 2015. Like the Ranger, the Everest was designed and engineered right here in Australia although it has undergone R&D worldwide as a global product. It will be built in Thailand alongside the Ranger.
The undercarriage photo reveals the much speculated rear suspension which retains a live axle but is suspended on coil springs and located with trailing arms and a Watts linkage similar to that seen in previous model Ford Falcons. The Watts link set-up should provide superior on-road dynamics to other live axle arrangements while the live axle should allow good wheel articulation.
Ford says that the Everest will be available with a choice of three engines depending on the market including a 2.0-litre, turbocharged ‘EcoBoost’ four-cylinder petrol unit but it’s believed that Australian models will stick to just the five-cylinder diesel engine as currently offered in Ranger. This will be backed by a six-speed automatic transmission and an on-demand 4x4 system that offers two and four-wheel drive plus 4x4 low range.
New Ford features
Everest will debut a host of new technologies for Ford in Australia, one of which is a Land Rover Terrain Response-like Terrain Management System (TMS). TMS offers modes for normal, sand, snow, grass, gravel and rock modes, and optimises calibrations of the throttle, transmission and transfer case clutch to suit the conditions. It also controls the rear diff lock which can be manually overridden for the best control. The TMS settings are selected using a dial beside the gear shifter and are displayed in the all new electronic dash cluster.
Ford is touting best in class off road dimensions with 225mm of ground clearance; 800mm wading depth; an approach angle of 29-degrees, 21-degree ramp-over angle and a 25-degree departure angle. The capacities read well too with 3000kg towing, 750kg payload and 100kg roof loading.
The press images show the new dash with a large central touch screen replacing the fiddly buttons of the Ranger dash and the new gauge cluster. The interior looks spacious and given the size of the Ranger, we expect it will offer plenty of room for a family. The second and third row seats are shown to fold totally flat in a very Discovery 3/4 way giving a long load area and 2010-litres of space.
A neat feature of the interior will be the active noise cancelation system which generates sound waves through the vehicle’s sound system that cancels out ambient noise to quieten the inside of the car.
The Everest will eventually replace the Territory as Ford Australia’s seven-seat SUV and the locally made wagon should have around 18-months left in it to sell alongside the new Thai-built 4x4. Everest is tipped to be joined by a new light duty SUV, most likely to be the new generation Ford Edge, to fill the void left by Territory.
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