Lead from the rear

Ford de­liv­ers a 2WD Ever­est for families that tackle Mac­cas rather than moun­tain ranges

Herald Sun - Cars Guide - - FIRST DRIVE | FORD EVEREST - CRAIG DUFF craig.duff@news.com.au

FORD has launched a twowheel drive Ever­est for those folk who want the rugged looks with­out the rock-hop­ping offroad abil­i­ties.

The rear-drive model shares the 3.2-litre diesel with 4WD ver­sions but drops 98kg with the dele­tion of the low-range trans­fer case, front dif­fer­en­tial and prop-shafts.

That con­trib­utes to a $55,990 price for the RWD Trend against $60,990 for the 4WD.

The lighter weight brings a 0.1L im­prove­ment in of­fi­cial fuel use at 8.4L/100km.

The rear-drive isn’t the price leader in the range. The 4WD Ever­est Am­bi­ente costs $54,990. The prices across the range re­flect Ford’s de­ci­sion to di­rectly tar­get the Toy­ota Prado at the pre­mium end of the main­stream seven-seat SUV seg­ment.

Ford en­gi­neer Jeremy Welch says the move to a rear-drive lay­out re­flects the re­al­i­ties of the seg­ment, where 2WD SUVs ac­count for 28 per cent of sales.

Adds Ford boss Graeme Whick­man: “Rear-wheel drive will give Ever­est a wider lens.”

The fo­cal point of that lens doesn’t ex­tend to match­ing the im­pres­sive on-road man­ners of the ve­hi­cle it may re­place in some drive­ways, the Fal­con­based Ter­ri­tory.

Given the work­horse un­der­pin­nings of the Ever­est — it is based on the Ranger ute — Ford is try­ing to pull rab­bits out of old-fash­ioned hats.

The 2WD Ever­est in mi­dlevel Trend spec­i­fi­ca­tion has stan­dard dual-zone cli­mate con­trol and eight-inch colour touch­screen with Ap­ple CarPlay and An­droid Auto in­te­gra­tion via Ford’s lat­est in­fo­tain­ment soft­ware. It also comes with five-star crash rat­ing and seven airbags.

ON THE ROAD

The Ever­est was orig­i­nally pitched as a more ro­bust al­ter­na­tive to the Toy­ota Prado, which isn’t sold in 2WD guise. That brief has been ex­tended to cover the demise of the reardrive Ter­ri­tory.

It gets the job done with im­pres­sive com­po­sure, much as the Ranger pick-up man­ages to be best of breed.

The ride isn’t go­ing to earn cred­its for iron­ing out bumps —

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