Lead from the rear
Ford delivers a 2WD Everest for families that tackle Maccas rather than mountain ranges
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 —