Follow by Email

Friday, November 14, 2014

Ford unveils the Everest, a truck-based SUV for the world outside America


Ford Everest
Outside of the auto industry, the term "crossover" to describe sport utility vehicles makes little sense. The term came into use in the early years of automakers building SUV bodies on unitized car chassis, instead of the body-on-frame designs of pickups.

 Today, thanks to fuel economy rules and customer preference, the body-on-frame SUV is an endangered species; outside of the Jeep Wrangler, Detroit only build full-size SUVs on truck frames, and the Japanese models still standing (Toyota 4Runner, Nissan Xterra) aren't that popular.

Yet in the rest of the world, a family-sized hauler with truck bones makes a great deal of sense — as demonstrated by the unveiling of the new Ford Everest, a vehicle Ford hopes to sell basically everywhere except the United States and Canada.

Based on the global Ford Ranger platform, the three-row Everest that will be built in Thailand and China will have all the typical first-world amenities — from Sync dash entertainment to terrain management for the four-wheel-drive system to cover snow or off-road terrain.

Given the generally higher cost of fuel elsewhere in the world, power choices include either a 2.2-liter four-cylinder or 3.2-liter five-cylinder 3.2-liter turbodiesel, or Ford's global 2-liter Ecoboost turbo four-cylinder gas engine. (Acutal output depends on which country it's tuned for.

While it's easy to imagine a sizable number of old-fashioned SUV fans wanting something like the Everest in this country, that's not going to happen. While Ford has been driven in recent years to design vehicles it can sell around the world with minimal changes, the truck lineup is an exception thanks to the F-150's dominance here.

 The T6 chassis would need major alterations to meet North American crash test standards, while the U.S. 25 percent tariff on imported trucks would cripple its value-for-money equation. Plus, the unibody Ford Explorer — an updated version of which arrives next week — has sold plently; the model had its best October results since 2004. Building a rugged, off-road friendly heir to the Bronco for Americans is a mountain that Ford isn't ready to scale just yet.