Western Suburbs Weekly - - Driveway - Peter Barn­well

FORD'S climb back into the good books in Aus­tralia has been kick­started with the launch of the Ever­est 4x4 medium-large four­bie, a di­rect com­peti­tor for Holden's Colorado7 and other ute-based SUVs.

It hits dealer show­rooms this month.

Ford has spent quite a bit de­vel­op­ing the Thai-built Ever­est, which lobs in a three-model range start­ing in price at a hefty $54,990 ris­ing to $77,000.

They are boldly tar­get­ing the Toy­ota Prado with Ever­est, but Prado has a huge fol­low­ing in this coun­try, earned over years of re­li­able and ca­pa­ble run­ning and en­vi­able re­sale value.

In Ever­est's favour is lo­cal de­vel­op­ment in­put from Ford Aus­tralia, which could stand it in good stead against more es­tab­lished play­ers.

Ever­est will be sold glob­ally as it comes fully on-stream.

It's a seven-seat SUV based on the pop­u­lar Ranger one-tonne ute that com­bines a rugged look with broad ca­pa­bil­ity.

Ford says there are 10 key cus­tomer ben­e­fits 'avail­able' in the Ever­est range: a 3000kg tow­ing ca­pac­ity, emer­gency as­sis­tance, ac­tive noise can­cel­la­tion, SYNC with voice con­trol, Wi-Fi hotspot, auto high beam, ac­tive park as­sist in top-of-the-range Ti­ta­nium, lane-keep­ing sys­tem in Trend and Ti­ta­nium, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing in Ti­ta­nium and power lift tailgate in Trend and Ti­ta­nium.

The stan­dard 143kW TDCi diesel five-cylin­der en­gine de­liv­ers less power than the Ranger with­out af­fect­ing tow­ing or pay­load. It has a wa­ter-wad­ing abil­ity of 800mm, un­sur­passed by other SUVs.

Ever­est brings the latest Ford in-car tech­nol­ogy and ad­vanced driver as­sist fea­tures like the stan­dard four-mode Ter­rain Man­age­ment Sys­tem and a suite of new safety fea­tures.

It will head­line Ford's SUV port­fo­lio, which in­cludes the unattrac­tive EcoS­port tid­dler, the good Kuga and ven­er­a­ble Ter­ri­tory.

Ford is pitch­ing Ever­est at buy­ers who have been wait­ing for a 'smart and highly ca­pa­ble SUV' with the un­ex­pected ben­e­fit of a high level of tech­nol­ogy, stan­dard fea­tures and con­tem­po­rary de­sign.

The com­pany says it's built for ad­ven­ture and comes in Ever­est, Ever­est Trend and Ever­est Ti­ta­nium grades, all with that five-pot turbo-diesel en­gine driv­ing through a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion with sports shift mode.

The 3.2 five may have lost a few kWs com­pared to the Ranger ute, but torque re­mains the same at a ro­bust 470Nm.

Ford is claim­ing 8.5 litres/100km, giv­ing it a po­ten­tial range of up to 1100km on one tank.

The 4x4 sys­tem has the abil­ity to tackle con­di­tions as var­ied as the snowy high­lands to the rugged, dusty tracks of the out­back.

Avail­able set­tings are Nor­mal, Snow/Mud/Grass, Sand and Rock.

Each set­ting pro­vides the op­ti­mum trac­tion for the road con­di­tions.

Com­bined with an elec­tronic lock­ing rear dif­fer­en­tial and torque-on-de­mand via an ac­tive trans­fer case that de­tects wheel speeds with clutches con­trol­ling torque split front to rear, the Ever­est SUV should be right at home in the Aussie bush.

Aid­ing ve­hi­cle con­trol are Roll Sta­bil­ity Con­trol and Curve Con­trol sys­tems to keep it tidy when cor­ner­ing.

Hill De­scent Con­trol is part of the pack­age for tricky off-road trails. It au­to­mat­i­cally ap­plies the brakes to hold a con­trolled and stead­ied pace down a steep de­scent, al­low­ing the driver to fo­cus on steer­ing and as­sess­ing the ter­rain ahead.

Gen­er­ous ground clear­ance of 225mm, an ap­proach an­gle of 29 de­grees, ramp-over an­gle of 21 de­grees and de­par­ture an­gle of 25 de­grees stand Ever­est in good stead for bush-bash­ing.

Ford says it's a good thing in the city too – the Swiss Army Knife of SUVs?

There's a rear-view cam­era and five-star safety rat­ing for all mod­els.

Due in show­rooms this month: Ford's Ever­est.

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