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Ford spills Everest details

Kit packed: Exact Australian equipment and powertrains are yet to be confirmed, but Ford says its new large SUV will be stuffed with class-leading equipment and performance.

Australian-developed Ford Everest to 'redefine' large SUV segment

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Ford logo14 Nov 2014

FORD says its Australian-developed Everest large SUV will redefine the segment, bringing class-leading fuel efficiency, true all-wheel drive off-road ability and up-to-the-minute technology for seven passengers.

Due to launch throughout Australia, Asia and Africa next year, the all-new Everest has already spent many hours treading Australian soil with its main engineering and design teams creating the vehicle between Ford Australia's Broadmeadows and You Yangs development centers.

As GoAuto has previously reported, the decision to head-up the Everest's development Down Under is the start of future global product design projects, taking the Blue Oval's Australian presence beyond the closure of local manufacturing in October 2016.

The new vehicle has had its covers ripped off in China, one of the countries where the big 4x4 will be produced, accompanied by details of the new model's technology, powerplants and equipment but exact Australian specifications are yet to be released.

Power and performance figures are also yet to be specified but Ford has revealed three engines will be on offer, depending on the region, with a choice of either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions for both diesels, and auto only for the petrol varieties.

At the top of the engine pile is Ford's 3.2-litre Duratorq TDCi five cylinder, which in Ford's current Ranger ute produces 147kW and 470Nm of torque.

Under the five cylinder sits a smaller 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel which develops 110kW/375Nm in Ranger applications, while a 2.0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder engine is the sole petrol offering, similar to the unit found in Ford's entry-level Falcon sedan.

Australian-spec Everests will be sourced from the Rayong, Thailand plant that also produces the Ranger, and the Blue Oval is expected to only offer the 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, leaving the petrol unit for the Chinese market.

With tried and tested body-on-frame construction and Ford's Terrain Management and Intelligent Four Wheel Drive systems, the Everest promises capable off-road potential with a 225mm ground clearance allowing water crossings up to 600mm in depth.

Its Active Transfer case offers high and low gear ratios combined with new torque management systems allowing drivers of the Everest to negotiate a variety of surfaces and gradients.

A locking rear differential extends the big SUV's ability off-road and the 4x4 system can be monitored through the vehicle display along with vehicle gradient, pitch and roll for drivers who want to track their progress.

But despite the Everest’s off-road credentials, Ford says its big SUV is at home on the road too, and its solid rear-axle with Watts-link combined with coil-spring suspension all round provides a comfortable ride for occupants, says Ford.

EPAS electric power steering and specially tuned suspension provides an effortless driving experience at low speeds, but a more enjoyable and involving ride when up to speed.

Loaded up, the Everest can lug up to 750kg on board or another 100kg on the roof and has a beefy towing capacity of 3000kg, with special vehicle stability management systems to prevent unwanted trailer movement.

The new Everest can accommodate up to seven occupants with reclining 60/40 split second-row seats and 50/50 split push-button folding third-row spots.

With the use of high-quality leather and plastics, Ford says the SUV's interior is more car-like than tough off-roader, with “one of the quietest cabins in its class,” aided by active noise cancellation and hydraulic engine mounts.

Occupants can watch the world go by through a large two-panel moon-roof and heating and ventilation is piped to all rows of seating, with heated and ventilated seats in the front row.

Thirty cubbies scattered about the interior provide 48-litres of storage space while the Everest's boot balloons to 2010-litres with all rear seats folded.

Electrical power for numerous devices is in no short supply with 12-volt sockets for front and second row seats, another in the boot area for equipment such as fridges and compressors, and a 240-volt socket in the second row.

Ford's SYNC2 connectivity system allows occupants to connect with the Everest via a central console screen and Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or USB ports.

Vehicle comfort, entertainment and information systems can be accessed through the 8.0-inch touchscreen, simplified push-button shortcuts or with simple voice controls, such as “I'm hungry”, which will prompt the Everest to look for restaurants.

Individual customisation of the system is possible with backdrops from uploaded pictures, as well as music which is played through the ten-speaker sound-system complete with subwoofer.

The new model also gets a good dusting of advanced safety technology with various environment monitoring and active safety systems available for the Everest.

Forward facing cameras and radar combine to protect occupants with a crash mitigation system that pre-charges the brakes and automatically starts braking as soon as the accelerator is released if a collision is detected.

The same hardware also allows the fitment of active cruise control, which matches the vehicle speed to leading cars if they are traveling slower than the set cruise limit.

An array of radar-sensors around the car allows blind-spot monitoring (BLIS) and cross-traffic monitoring with warnings issued to the driver if a white line is crossed without indicating or another vehicle approaches when manoeuvring out of a parking space.

The Everest's enhanced ESC system runs all the expected traction control and stability systems with added protection from roll-over detection to keep the vehicle upright when heavily loaded or negotiating uneven surfaces.

Its headlights combine HID and LED technology with auto high-beam and on/off functions, while energy efficient daytime running lights maximise the vehicles visibility to other road users under all conditions.

In a collision, occupants are protected by seven airbags including curtain and knee types, and both rear seat rows have child seat anchor points.

The SYNC connectivity system adds another level of occupant assistance in addition to the entertainment features and will contact emergency services with GPS coordinates if either an airbag or emergency fuel-pump shut off has been activated.

Active parking assistance helps drivers manoeuvre the big SUV in to parallel car parks and a speed limiter adds another element of safety to prevent overspeed on freeways of when descending hills.

For families wanting their younger and less experienced drivers to use the Everest, one ignition key can be programmed to prevent the vehicle exceeding a predetermined speed and blocks incoming calls to the SYNC system, which might distract the driver.

Font and rear cameras display high-resolution images in the dash-mounted screen for increased awareness of the vehicle's surroundings when manoeuvring, and a tyre monitoring system alerts the driver of fluctuating pressures.

Visually, Ford says the new Everest has a bold, rugged, powerful, refined and modern look, but in addition to aesthetic benefits offers a slippery aerodynamic design too, with a drag coefficient of 0.369.

The Victorian-based Australian design team reportedly penned the new SUV to imply its “ruggedness and capability” with a “strong presence on the road”.

Ford says the experience of the Australian design team in designing utes and SUVs benefited the Everest's looks – a sentiment backed up by exterior design manager David Dewitt.

“The new Everest’s exterior is a unique mixture of modern sensibility, functional design and classic Ford cues,” he said.

“Ford has been designing SUVs for nearly 50 years, so we were able to draw from that heritage and leverage our collective knowledge.

“Every line on the surface of the Everest visualizes its ruggedness and capability, while delivering a modern, sleek vehicle that is unmistakably a Ford.”

GoAuto will report exact Australian specifications and pricing of the new Everest as they are made available closer to its Down Under debut next year.

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