The Ford Everest might look like a relation of the all-American F150 utility – and without doubt the butch image is part of the new wagon's appeal – but it's actually an Aussie effort, designed and engineered in Melbourne.
The Everest is, in fact, related to the Aussie-developed Ranger ute, but with more road oriented suspension underpinnings, and loaded with standard convenience and safety equipment. It's also off-road-ready, with help from a multi-mode 4x4 system, 800mm wading depth, 225mm minimum ground clearance and generous approach, ramp-over and departure angles.
The new seven-seater SUV is named after the world's highest peak, but is firmly a product from Down Under, and the globally respected Ford Australia Engineering and Development team. Here's how it was born in Oz.
1. The Ford Everest was designed, engineered and tested in Australia by the engineering experts behind generations of Ford Falcon; the same crew that gave Australia the Territory SUV more than a decade ago. As part of a four-year development program, the Everest underwent design and development at Ford's Broadmeadows headquarters, which is soon-to-be-redeveloped as Ford's Asia-Pacific Product Development Centre. However, the facility - which employs 1100 engineering and development staff - has served this function for years, and will continue developing cars from the ground up for the region, and the rest of the world.
2. The Everest was put to the test at Ford's dedicated You Yangs Proving Ground, about 50km south-west of Melbourne. The 930-hectare facility nestled in the Western Basalt Plains Grassy Woodlands in Lara, Victoria, celebrated 50 years of service in 2015 and provides the setting for development, calibration, validation and sign-off, as well as durability and crash testing, engine emissions compliance and test roads that provide a variety of surfaces, corners and inclines.
3. The Victorian High Country provided the real roads in the engineering validation of the Ford Everest, and outback South Australia offered the rugged conditions to put its chassis and four-wheel-drive system to the test. This variety of road – and off-road – conditions, with our extremes of climate, Ford's world-class proving ground and our home-grown engineering talent, all contribute to a Ford Australia Engineering division that serves as a key resource in the brand's Asia-Pacific and global vehicle development portfolio.
4. Unlike some rivals, the Ford Everest is at home in the Aussie bush. The Everest uses a rugged separate chassis design like the Ranger utility, but with a different coil-spring rear suspension that provides greater comfort and road-manners suitable for a seven-seater family SUV. This, with a four-wheel-drive system that offers a mode for every surface and some thorough Aussie engineering, give the Everest greater off-road capability than many seven-seat rivals.
5. The Everest headlines the role of Ford in Australia beyond manufacturing as the brand transitions away from local car production. As the recipient of some of the $300 million spent by Ford on R&D in 2015, and as a global model destined to be sold in many markets, the Everest signals the direction for Ford's Australian operation as a heavy-hitter in the brand's global design and development operations. The Everest may be the new hero car, but in fact the strength of Ford's local engineering outfit is nothing new – it has been quietly achieving for decades, and the Everest is Ford Oz's second world-class SUV among many other vehicles developed (the first being the 2004-now Ford Territory).
This article is sponsored by Ford Australia.