Ford’s new Everest off-roader has been revealed, with a global unveiling in China this week.
Over a year has passed since the model was first previewed in concept form, but the final product has surprised no one by remaining true to the concept’s original design.
A teaser image earlier this month showed the chiselled, rugged look of the concept had been carried over into the road-going model, with styling that not only draws from the current Ford Ranger, but also previews a likely future update for the pickup.
Ford’s Everest is something of an Australian affair, with local designers and engineers featuring heavily in its development.
Throughout Everest’s ‘journey’, plenty of testing miles have been clocked up in the Australian Outback with Ford keen to develop the new model as a ‘true’ 4WD.
“The new Ford Everest is an exceptionally versatile vehicle, equally prepared for the everyday commute as it is for the most extreme off-road terrain,” Ford Asia Pacific President, Dave Schoch, said.
“The Everest’s unique blend of tough capability and exceptional comfort is going to resonate with drivers across Asia Pacific and around the world.”
The new model will be sold in nine Asia Pacific markets from 2015, along with parts of Africa.
The Everest will launch with a choice of three engines and two transmissions, with varying combinations available in different markets.
The sole petrol-powered option is a 2.0 litre four-cylinder twin-scroll turbocharged ‘EcoBoost’ unit, which makes its debut in the Asia Pacific region. Ford claims this engine offers “best in class” fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions.
A pair of turbo-diesel units familiar to Ford Ranger customers make up the remaining engine options, available in both four-cylinder 2.2 litre and five-cylinder 3.2 litre capacities.
Power outputs for all three engines are yet to be revealed, but the Ranger’s 110kW/375Nm (2.2 litre) and 147kW/470Nm (3.2 litre) diesel-engine outputs may be matched or bettered for the Australian market.
Fuel figures have not been announced, but Ford says its 3.2 litre diesel engine wears an updated exhaust gas recirculation system for improved efficiency.
All three engines can be matched with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions, depending on the market, and both rear- and four-wheel-drive configurations will be available.
Ford has emphasised the Everest’s focus on off-road ability, with the new model featuring a body-on-frame design, Terrain Management System and an active transfer case with Torque On Demand that can be locked in low range by the driver.
The Everest has a maximum wading depth of 800mm and 225mm of ground clearance, while the Terrain Management System offers settings for normal, snow/gravel/grass, sand and rock driving.
Underneath, the Everest sits on coil springs all ‘round with a Watt’s linkage on the rear axle.
Key to the Everest’s appeal among family buyers will be its seven-seat layout, which Ford says is capable of accommodating seven adults.
The interior also features a large moon roof, over 30 storage spaces, multiple power outlets for first and second row passengers and ‘Active Noise Cancellation’ - which works in a similar way to noise-cancelling headphones.
Both second and third row seats can be folded flat to increase cargo space.
There’s an eight-inch touchscreen with “colour-coded corners” for easier menu navigation, and Ford’s SYNC 2 system which allows multimedia, climate control and Bluetooth to be controlled by voice commands.
Safety features include seven airbags, lane departure warning with lane-keeping aid, blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control and cross-traffic alert.
Ford’s ‘Curve Control’ is also fitted, which helps drivers maintain control if they approach a corner with excessive enthusiasm, while roll stability control, Forward Alert with Collisions Mitigation and Active Park Assist are all standard.
The Everest will be built in Thailand with production also taking place in China, exclusively for the Chinese market.
Ford is yet to confirm features and specifications for the Australian market, and the carmaker’s only clue on pricing is an assurance the Everest will carry a “very attractive price”.
The 2015 Ford Everest is set for a local launch sometime next year. Stay tuned to TMR for more.