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Everest to be Ford’s flagship SUV

Mountain climber: The Everest was developed and engineered in Australia and will land in local dealerships next year.

Ford’s marketing boss says Everest won’t compete with Holden Colorado 7

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Ford logo27 Nov 2014

FORD Australia says Holden’s Colorado 7 is the not the target for its locally engineered Everest, and it will instead go up against more high-end offerings thanks to increased passenger comfort and more agile handling.

The Everest has been confirmed for a local launch in 2015, before the end of production of the Australian-built Territory SUV, and is set to take its place as the flagship offering in Ford’s SUV line-up.

During development the Ranger ute-based Everest had been described as a potential rival for utilitarian seven-seat four-wheel drives such as Holden’s Colorado 7 and the Mitsubishi Challenger.

However, Ford Australia marketing manager David Katic told GoAuto at the FG X Falcon launch that the Everest would be a more sophisticated offering, which could put it up against more expensive fare including the Toyota Prado.

“We think it’s a very different proposition to a Colorado 7,” he said. “We have invested very heavily in the product. It’s kind of our DNA, when you drive all of our products, we are very proud of our technology in our products and also our ride and handling. They are the things we like to communicate and we think Everest will deliver on that.”

Mr Katic explained that the Everest will function as an off-road capable vehicle for more adventurous buyers but will also offer more car-like handling than some of its competitors.

“When you go around the corner in an Everest, we don’t want it to be a boat because customers don’t like that. I think Everest will, in addition to all that, give us some serious off-road credentials.

“We are really happy with Territory but (unsure about) crossing the Simpson Desert, and Everest can be that product for that hardcore enthusiast. But heavily invested to bridge that crossover with off-road ability.”

Ford will be hoping to better the sales of the Colorado 7, which has failed to hit the right note in Australia, shifting just 1234 units so far this year, down nine per cent over the same period in 2013.

In stark contrast is the Toyota Prado, of which 13,615 have been sold to the end of October – an 11 per cent boost over last year – making it the second best selling sub-$70,000 large SUV in Australia behind the Jeep Grand Cherokee on 14,297.

The production version of the Everest was finally revealed earlier this month in China where it will be built for the domestic market, but the Australian spec seven-seater will be sourced from Rayong, Thailand.

Aussie-bound Everests are likely to get diesel power only, headlined by Ford’s 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi five cylinder, producing 147kW/470Nm under the bonnet of the mechanically related Ranger.

With body-on-frame construction and Ford’s Terrain Management and Intelligent Four Wheel Drive systems, the Everest has a 225mm ground clearance allowing water crossings up to 600mm in depth.

It will provide a further boost to Ford’s SUV line-up that includes the EcoSport crossover, compact Kuga and the larger Territory, that will be replaced by what is almost certain to be the Edge that has been developed as a global model under the One Ford strategy.

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