The Ford Everest – the Ranger ute-based SUV designed and engineered in Australia – has been teased ahead of its official unveiling in China next week.
It’s expected to reach Australian showrooms around the middle of next year, when it will compete with other rough-and-ready, ute-based four-wheel drives such as the Holden Colorado 7 and Isuzu MU-X, as well as more upmarket offerings including the Toyota LandCruiser Prado.
The development of the Ford Everest was led by Ford’s Asia Pacific design and development team in Australia, in cooperation with colleagues from across Asia Pacific and around the world.
Melbourne-based Ford Design Centre director Todd Willing said the Everest was the culmination of years of work aligning Ford’s global design language and speaking with customers from every key market in which it will be sold.
“This is our vision of a large, seven-seat off-road vehicle that exemplifies how Ford’s ‘One Ford’ vehicle philosophy can apply for a vehicle created for Asia Pacific,” Willing said.
“The Everest is also further proof of the world-class design expertise here in Melbourne. Many of the talented team who worked on Everest – and continue to work on other Ford vehicles – have been educated right here in Victoria.”
“Everyone at Ford is very proud of this new SUV.”
The Ford Everest is part of the T6 project that originally created the Ranger that launched in 2011. The car maker has previously said the Everest “shares elements” with the Ranger but will have less in common with its ute donor than the likes of the Colorado 7 and MU-X.
It will inherit at least one diesel engine from the Ranger – the 3.2-litre five-cylinder – which Ford’s engineers have worked on to make more refined.
Spy shots of a half-Ranger, half-Territory mule testing in Sweden earlier this year revealed disc brakes and a solid axle coil spring suspension setup at the rear, suggesting the Everest will upgrade from the ute’s drum brakes and leaf springs, promising more sophisticated and car-like handling characteristics and ride comfort.
The single teaser image released today (pictured top) suggests the production version of the Everest will appear almost identical to the concept that was revealed in August 2013 (pictured second and third).
Sharply cut headlights join to its large chrome grille, which features a prominent Ford badge that straddles two strong crossbars.
Spy shots captured in July suggest its rear-end will also closely resemble that of the concept.
The Everest will join Ford Australia’s SUV line-up alongside the EcoSport, Kuga and Territory in 2015. The Territory is set to be replaced by the Canadian-built Edge when local production ceases in 2016.