Here’s the new Ford Everest. It’s the second generation of the Ranger-based 7-seater SUV from Ford and is set to raise the benchmark for ladder-frame SUVs to new heights. For those unfamiliar with the Everest nameplate, Ford have been selling the Ranger with a boot in Asia, Africa, and South America for over a decade. It’s proved popular in all the markets it’s sold. This new one coincides with the end of the Falcon-based Territory 7-seater SUV which is more car than truck. It should be interesting to see how the Everest compares.
It should be noted the Everest is not a direct replacement for the Territory. The launch of one just so happens to be spookily close to the end of the other. Not only are their names different but they’re different machines all together, the Everest being a rough and tough truck whereas the Territory is more a soft-roader. However, the Everest will take the Territory’s place as its top SUV in its New Zealand lineup sitting above the EcoSport and Kuga.
Where the Territory competed with other on-road focused SUVs such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Highlander, and Mazda CX-9, the Everest must take on slightly tougher competition such as the Holden Colorado 7, Isuzu Mu-X, and Mitsubishi Challenger. Toyota’s HiLux-based Fortuner is also a rival in other markets while Mazda and Volkswagen don’t offer any form of ute-based SUVs. Despite its less sophisticated rivals compared to those of the Territory, that hasn’t stopped Ford trying to add a touch of comfort to the new Everest.
Like its rivals it uses a body-on-frame chassis. Unlike the Ranger ute on which it’s based on, the Everest has a more sophisticated Watts linkage rear suspension set up in place of the old-fashioned leaf springs. This, plus Ford’s efforts to reduce NVH levels by incorporating noise-cancelling technology shows Ford trying to make the Everest appeal to a wider audience than some of its rivals. The exterior styling also shows Ford’s efforts to make the Everest look more road-going than river-crossing. It’s a mishmash of Ford America and Ford Australia’s current design theme, which I guess goes with the whole ‘One Ford’ philosophy.
Their efforts to mix utility and class translates to tech on board. The interior has been purposely styled to look different from the ute but it’s still no stately affair. It’s more Pyongyang than Ponsonby. However, that’s not to say it’s grey, dull, and everyone must have the same equipment. There are various interior colours including beige and there’s some segment-first tech too. The Everest features an 8-inch touchscreen with SYNC 2, adaptive cruise control, auto park, lane keep assist, forward alert with auto brakes, front and rear cameras and sensors, and a Land Rover-style Terrain Management System.
The TMS changes the car’s behaviour to adapt to its surroundings. Drivers chan choose from normal, snow/gravel/grass, sand, and rock settings. Ford claims the Everest has class-leading ground clearance an wading depth (225mm and 800mm respectively) and has a braked towing capacity of 3 tonnes. Quite impressive. The Everest promised to drive better than its rivals too. Ford vehicles tend to be slightly better to drive than its rivals.
The Everest will be available with a range of petrol and diesel engines. Making its debut is a new turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine. The diesel engines are carried over from the Ranger, meaning the same 150bhp/375NM 2.2-litre diesel and 200bhp/470NM 3.2-litre diesel make an appearance in the Everest. Like the Ranger, the Everest was heavily developed in Australia and will be built alongside it in Thailand. The Everest is due to go on sale sometime mid-next year. Prices are expected to be around the Territory range. Sherpas are not included.