From next month Ford dealers will welcome a new member of the seven-seat Everest SUV family – the two-wheel-drive Everest Trend which is stickered at $55,990 (plus on-road costs).
Despite it listing the same 3,000kgs (braked) towing capacity, tyres and 225mm ride height, the well-equipped rear-drive Ford Everest undercuts its equivalently-specified all-wheel-drive sibling by $5,000.
And propulsion also comes from the venerable 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with 143kW/470Nm on-tap and driving through a six-speed automatic transmission.
Inside, as part of the 2017 model-year update, the Ford Everest Trend RWD gains the latest SYNC 3 infotainment system – an upgrade shared with Trend AWD and the range-topping Titanium grade - including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration plus compatible apps such as Spotify, Pandora and Google Maps+.
SYNC 3 brings to the table a new home screen with clearer layout and larger icons for easier operation, a new eight-inch touchscreen with capacitive touch operation for ‘pinch and swipe’ technology, more customization and easier-to-navigate settings.
And all 2017 model year Ford Everests pick-up two ISOFIX child seat anchorage points (outer seats in the second row).
While most would have the Ford Everest locked in a sales battle with the Toyota Fortuner (also made in Thailand), Ford Australia President Graeme Whickman doesn’t see it that way: “SUVs are the fastest-growing segment in Australia and the Everest Trend RWD will broaden our already impressive lineup of utility vehicles even further,” he explained. “The Everest RWD offers customers more choice than Toyota Prado, which does not offer a rear-wheel-drive variant.”
Year-to-date at the end of June, Toyota had sold 6,251 Klugers (10.5 per-cent market share) to Ford’s 1,892 Everests (3.2 per-cent-market share) so Everest sure has some ground to make-up.