The five-seater option will only be available on the base Ford Everest Ambiente, in both four-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive configurations, pointing to a focus on big fleets as well as “value conscious” buyers.
Given the current 4WD seven-seat Everest kicks off at $54,990 plus on-road costs, one might speculate that the new five-seater RWD option will take pricing below $50k for the first time.
The announcement of a new five-seat Everest derivative follows the recent news that Ford Australia would introduce the RWD drivetrain on the mid-spec Everest Trend in a few months time, with a $5000 price reduction over the 4WD at $55,990.
This all means that from around April/May next year, the Everest range will comprise the Ambiente five-seater RWD and 4WD, Ambiente seven-seater 4WD, Trend seven-seater RWD and 4WD and Titanium seven-seater 4WD.
All will offer the same 143kW/470Nm 3.2-litre TDCi engine, six-speed automatic transmission and 3000kg towing capability, and 225mm ride height.
As part of the flagged Everest update before the end of this year, the MY17 Everest will also get Sync 3 infotainment (8.0-inch screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, better voice control and integrated apps) on the Trend and Titanium.
Ford will also address a key issue for family buyers by adding a pair of ISOFIX child seat attachment points to the middle row of all Everest models, matching class leaders.
The broader 2017 Ford Everest line-up will almost certainly boost the Blue Oval’s sales in this fiercely fought hardcore SUV segment. The car’s half-yearly sales this year (its first year) were 1892 units - about half that of the cheaper Isuzu MU-X, and less than the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (2564) and Toyota Fortuner (2222).