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Everest to turn Ford’s SUV fortunes around

If ever there was an SUV that could put the Toyota’s Fortuner on its tyres, this must be it. Prior to this latest development, the latest Ford Ranger Pick-up has already been creeping up to the Toyota SUV’s Hilux rival on the sales charts of late and now Ford is hoping to pull a similar move in the ‘traditional SUV’ segment.

Though the rather rudimentary and current Everest has won few fans, the all-new Everest looks set to change Ford’s SUV fortunes around. It is based on the latest Ranger and on that fact alone we’d expect it to be a vast improvement, and then there’s that chunkier, more muscular design which will readily convince buyers to go for it.

Ford says discerning car shoppers should be prepared to see this new beast on local shores some time in 2015. The car’s Pick-up based architecture means it has a rugged body-on-frame structure, although Ford has installed a more car-like Watt’s linkage rear suspension to provide a better ride quality.

The seven-seat Everest will be available in rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive configurations. In addition to the expected hardware like a low-range transfer case, the Everest will stand apart from its rivals with sophisticated gadgets like its Terrain Management System and Torque on Demand system.

Although Nigeria’s engine line-up has yet to be confirmed, but international markets will have one petrol and two diesel choices, mated to six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes.

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The petrol option is an all-new 2-litre Ecoboost turbopetrol, while dieselheads will be offered upgraded versions of the 2.2-litre four-cylinder and 3.2-litre five-cylinder Duratorq turbodiesel engines found in the Ranger.

Yet the biggest technological strides are found in the cabin, where drivers will enjoy a whole raft of new gadgets. For starters, Everest is fitted with Ford’s latest-generation Sync 2 connectivity system, linked to an eight-inch touch-screen. Segment-first safety technologies include Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Alert with Collision Mitigation, Roll Stability Control and ESP.

For those that struggle in the urban jungle’s parking lots, the Everest also offers a hands-free Active Park Assist gadget.

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