Ford’s upcoming Everest won’t be on sale in Australia until October 2015, but it set to become the most expensive vehicle in Ford Australia’s line-up, which will see it square off against Toyota’s Prado Kakadu.
Based on the Ranger platform, the Everest is a seven-seat SUV which Ford will offer in three different model grades, priced from $54,990 to $76,990 plus on-road costs.
Ford Australia’s communications and public affairs director Wes Sherwood says will appeal to a broad customer base.
“We wouldn’t be going up against Prado if we didn’t have the goods,” Sherwood said. “We have the goods, and that’s the proposition we’ll put to consumers. Ultimately it’s them who are going to judge, and put down their hard-earned cash. We’re going to go after people who value our vehicles, and want to buy them, not [those] who are looking for the cheapest price or the latest incentive. That’s our strategy and it’s going to apply to Everest more than any other because we have a compelling package in the right segment. We’ve got some unique dynamics in the Australian market, and what Toyota has built-up as a brand is not something they did overnight, and it’s not something we’re going to do overnight. But we’re committed to building that foundation and that sustainability of sales that will make us a healthier business in the long-term. There is a reason we invested so heavily in engineering the Everest to be our most capable SUV ever. We didn’t do that by accident, and we absolutely see a reason to go out and target Prado buyers,” he said.
Sherwood also said, “The Everest is Australian-developed, right here, and so we think we’ve done the things for the Australian market specifically simply by having that development work done here. Capability is one of the most important drivers for our customers, as are fuel economy and safety; and it’s those areas that we are absolutely investing in to be leaders of. We have a good amount of capability more than Prado, but we’re still offering the same fuel economy. Being able to tow that much and still get comparable fuel economy, that’s a pretty compelling thing. And that may be something people haven’t expected from Ford before.”
Unfortunately for Ford, the Everest will also be going up against a range of utes like the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara and the Isuzu D-Max, plus seven-seat 4WD’s such as the and , such as the Colorado 7, Isuzu MU-X and the new Mitsubishi Challenger, which all kick-off at under $50,000.
When you compare the entry-level Everest with the bare-bones LandCruiser Prado GX automatic, the Prado is less powerful than the Everest (127kW vs 143kW), has less torque (410Nm v 470Nm) and tows less too (2500kg vs 3000kg). There are considerable specification differences here for a an almost insignificant price difference. Under the bonnet, the Everest will be available in Australia with one engine choice only, the same 3.2L Duratorq five-cylinder turbo-diesel found in the Ford Ranger. Toyota wins in this regard – offering both turbo-diesel and petrol engines in the Prado.
Despite being cheap, the entry-level Everest ($54,990) will include a four-mode electronic all-wheel drive controller known as the Terrain Management System (TMS), which incorporates Hill Descent Control, Hill Start Assist and an electronic locking rear differential. The Everest offers an 800mm wading depth and 225mm of ground clearance. It’ll come standard with seven seats, and is differentiated outwardly by 17-inch alloy wheels, black door handles and mirrors, and black roof rails. It will also feature a manual tailgate, mud flaps and front fog lights, single-zone climate control, cruise control, power windows and Ford’s active noise cancelling technology. A rear-view camera is also standard, as are rear parking sensors, seven airbags and Ford’s Wi-Fi enabled SYNC 2 infotainment array with voice recognition and 12-volt and 230-volt power outlets.
The next model up will be the Everest Trend ($60,990) adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a powered tailgate, chrome grille, running boards and body-coloured roof rails, door handles and wing mirrors. The Trend will also include projector style headlights with automatic high-beam control, dual-zone climate control, up-rated instrumentation, an electrochromatic rear-view mirror, a leather trimmed steering wheel, rear privacy glass, and rain-sensing wipers. The infotainment system is upgraded with DAB+ digital radio, a high resolution 8.0-inch touchscreen, two USB ports and Ford’s programmable MyKey technology. The model also adds additional safety equipment, including lane-keeping and lane-departure warning, front parking sensors and adaptive cruise control.
Sitting at the top of the tree will be the Everest Titanium ($76,990), with 20-inch alloys, metallic finish running boards, self-levelling HID headlights and LED daytime running lights. It’ll be equipped with a semi-automatic parking assistant, panoramic sunroof, powered leather seats (including a powered third row), satellite navigation and an ambient lighting pack that includes illuminated front scuff plates. Safety items are also extended via blind-spot monitoring and a tyre-pressure monitoring system.
The new Ford Everest will go on sale locally from October.