From flames to glory, maybe they should have called it the Phoenix instead of the Everest?
It’s been a massive couple of weeks for Ford. A few days ago a motoring journalist was test driving a new Everest when it mysteriously caught fire and burned to the ground (Click here to read about it), now that very same car has been named 2015 Car of the Year by drive.com.au, while the Ranger XLT took out the gong for Best Ute – top results from the blue oval brand.
It hasn’t been all fun and games for Ford this year though. Apart from the aforementioned fire, it has recorded declining sales figures off the back of the announcement that it’ll be ceasing production in Australia in 2016 – which hasn’t been popular among media and customers alike. On the other hand, it’s hard to deny that the company has been significantly investing in updating its entire range, and it shows with the Thai-built Everest.
Despite the idea that it’s just a Ranger but with a wagon body, to Ford’s credit they’ve redesigned the rear leaf spring set-up found under the Ranger and rehung the solid rear axle from a Watts link and coil spring arrangement making ride comfort and handling much more appealing to those carrying a load of kids in the back. The Everest Trend also features plenty of interior upgrades over its ute-based cousin with plenty of comfort and gadgetry such as touch screen interfaces, adaptive cruise control, 10-speaker sound system, dual-zone air-con and electronic power steering to name just a few.
Off-road capability hasn’t been forgotten either, with a multi-mode terrain management system that allows the driver to set the all-wheel drive settings to suit the surface they’re driving over. Whether it’s as good as traditional low-range and cross axle differential locks remains to be seen, but it’s nice that they haven’t just wrapped an on-road car in a 4X4 body and called it good…
The fact that the Everest (and Ranger for that matter) were designed, engineered and tested right here in Australia is always a massive tick for us as let’s face it, if it can survive Aussie conditions it can survive anything. Although we can’t say we’re not a little alarmed about the fire incident. The Everest looks as though it’s going to be a good seller in the Aussie market (despite being easily the most expensive out of it’s rivals: the Colorado 7, the Fortuner and the Challenger) and from first look, appears as though it’s going to set the benchmark for future SUVs to try and beat.
What do you guys reckon, is the Everest going to take Australia by storm, or is it going to crash and (sorry for the pun) burn? Tell us below…