The Ford Everest SUV may have been designed and engineered in Australia, but our spies have spotted a prototype version of the off-roader undergoing cold weather testing on the other side of the world ahead of its anticipated 2015 launch.
CarAdvice’s shooters snapped the Frankenstein-style test car, which combines the front end of a Ranger with the rear of a Territory, just outside of Arjeplog, Sweden, which is the world’s largest winter vehicle testing and development area.
Our spies tell us Ford was testing the Everest at a Bosch facility, indicating the engineering team was likely calibrating the ute-based SUV’s electronic stability control and ABS on snow and ice.
A CarAdvice reader spied a similar mule undergoing on-road testing in Melbourne in May.
The Ford Everest is an extension of the T6 project that initially created the Ranger ute that was released in 2011. An Everest concept was presented at Ford’s Go Further event in Sydney in August.
The Thai-built Everest will rival fellow ute-based SUVs, such as the Holden Colorado 7 (based on Colorado) and Isuzu MU-X (based on D-Max), though unlike those two models, the Ranger-based SUV will not be as closely related to its donor utility vehicle.
The spy shots reveal rear disc brakes on the Everest test car, replacing the ute’s drum brakes. The rear suspension is also expected to upgrade from the Ranger’s leaf springs to a more sophisticated independent or solid axle coil spring set-up for improved handling and ride comfort.
A covered dashboard suggests Ford is also designing a new interior to further distinguish the seven-seat Everest from the Ranger.
The Ford Everest is expected to go on sale in Australia in 2015, where it will join the EcoSport, Kuga and Territory in the brand’s SUV line-up. The Territory is expected to be replaced by the Canadian-built Edge when local production ceases in 2016.
Click the Photos tab for more Ford Everest test mule images.