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Exclusive: Ford takes safe route with Everest

Forward vision: This Ford Everest engineering vehicle has anti-crash warning systems behind the windscreen.

Anti-crash technology in the engineering pipeline for Ford’s seven-seat Everest SUV

Ford logo12 Aug 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

TELLTALE lenses tucked behind the windscreen of Ford Everest test vehicles spotted in Victoria are evidence of high levels of safety being engineered into at least some variants of the Australian-developed, Thai-built SUV due in showrooms next year.

The forward-looking instruments, clustered around the rearvision mirror, indicate the Everest is being given the latest crash-warning and autonomous braking systems that are becoming must-have features in many markets as governments and consumers alike demand higher anti-crash technologies.

However, some test vehicles have been spotted without the equipment, perhaps indicating that only high-end variants will get the life-saving technology.

The seven-seat Everest is based on the Ford Ranger ute that was also designed and engineered by Ford’s Asia-Pacific vehicle development team in Australia, but it is set to get a number of car-like touches to improve ride, handling and comfort levels.

Coil rear springs in place of the truck-like rear leaf springs, self-levelling rear suspension and multi-mode all-wheel-drive terrain control for a variety of driving surfaces, including snow and mud, have all been noted on development vehicles.

Like the Ranger, the Everest is expected to be powered by a choice of TDCI diesel and 2.5-litre petrol powertrains, with the 147kW 3.2-litre five-cylinder diesel likely to be fitted to the range-topper.

Both vehicles will be built on the same production line at Ford’s Rayong factory in Thailand, with the Everest – due for release next year – going head-to-head with the likes of Holden’s Colorado 7, Mitsubishi’s Challenger, Toyota’s Fortuner and Isuzu’s MU-X.

The Everest was recently spotted undertaking high-altitude testing in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, raising speculation that the vehicle – primarily aimed at ASEAN nations, the Middle East and developing markets such as Brazil – might be considered for North America.

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