PRETORIA, South Africa – The latest versions of Ford’s now venerable Ranger station-wagons are about to flood into dealer showrooms across South Africa and there will be no doubt about their identity.
The Corner thought you might like to get a close-up… well in advance.
The images show that Ford hasn’t let up on the muscular styling – or on its habit of adding the very latest of driving aids from road maps to a selection of on- off-road driving programmes.
Ford SA describes the whole as ”blending adventure-ready capability with exceptional comfort and customer-focused technology in a rugged, refined and fun-to-drive sport utility vehicle – OK up to a point but ”utility” it certainly ain’t.
”It’s been built for the adventurous,” the company says (though you can bet a fair number will be spotted at upmarket SA shopping malls and hair salons alongside wimpier wheels that wouldn’t last five minutes on the terrain for which this wagon was designed).
”The new Fords,” we’re told, ”were created to be quiet and refined sanctuaries for up to seven occupants (whether in safari suits, saris, or Dior miniskirts) with a penchant for the great outdoors while class-leading technology and safety make every journey more memorable.”
‘TOUGH AND CAPABLE”
Ian Foston, chief platform engineer for the Everest, explained: “When we started imagining the next Everest we started at the end – our customers. People who like adventure, recreation, and being with family and friends.
”We know that, whether conquering sand, rocks, or city crawl, they appreciate the utility, capability, and space of an SUV. So, armed with more customer input than ever before, the objective for the ‘sanctuary” was clear – tough on the outside, capability below.
”The result was an Everest trio: Sport, Titanium+, flagship Platinum – whose specs will be published closer to their launches.”
‘A PROPER SUV’
Externally, Ford says, the Everests’ wider track and longer wheelbase were emphasised with ”C-clamp” headlights and ”a strong, horizontal, upper grille bar.
Max Wolff, a Ford design director, pointed out: “Potential ‘test’-buyers loved how the blend of rugged design would promote off-road confidence – they said it looked like a proper SUV.
Wolff enlarged on that in the media pack sent to The Corner: “We’ve all seen multiple rows of seats to which front occupants must twist neck to talk to perhaps five people behind – perhaps even shout!
”We put a lot of thought into the cabin, taking inspiration from plush materials, premium finishes, and ambient lighting with amplication of the full-width instrument panel and centre console.”
ADJUSTABLE ‘MEMORY’ SEATS
More-expensive units will have wireless phone-charging, a leather-trimmed e-Shifter, and an electric parking brake. Depending on model, there will be heatable, ventilated, 10-way power-adjustable, memory seats are available for the driver and eight-way for the front passenger.
Seat heating will be available for other models – though surely unnecessary for South Africa…?
Access to the third-row has been made easier with sliding second-row seats and each passenger will, variously, have journey storage space, and device chargers, and the two rear seats will be electrically floor-foldable on the top models to haul long loads.
There will also be under-floor storage.
DIGITAL STUFF? OF COURSE THERE IS!…
…and it will come with 20 or 40cm digital instrument panels and even larger ‘portrait’ touchscreens with voice-activated communications, entertainment, and information. comunicating through an onboard modem.
FordPass allows remote start, vehicle status check, and remote lock/unlock via a cellphone. A while the giant portrait screen screen will take feed from a 360-degree camera with split-view display for easy parking a confined spaces.
External lighting is available – a boon for camping.
…BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ENGINES…?
Well, previous Everest owners, Ford told The Corner, wished for more power/torque for hauling stuff and off-roading so Ford’s proven three-litre turbodiesel V6 has, the automaker reported, been refined – just one of three engines specced.
“The three-lite six V6 really delivers,” Everest program manager Pritika Maharaj told The Corner. “It feels like it has endless power and torque but refined on the road.
There will be, however, be engines to suit lifestyles… Single- and Bi-Turbo 2.0 fours and a 2.3-litre EcoBoost petrol – the selection hooked to either a six-speed auto or10-speed SelectShift auto powering a choice of two all-wheel drive systems.
Depending on the market, Everests will be available with two-wheel drive.
A dedicated tow/haul drive mode has been tuned to optimise gearshift timing to maintain the best power delivery and engine braking and the Everest’s camera views help when towing and manoeuvring.
Roof-racks will be able to carry up to 350kg – bikes, canoes, cargo pod, roof-top tent. A universal mounting system will accept a range of accessories.
READ MANY MORE FORD features on Carman’s Corner
Collision protection stuff includes a clever innovation: a crash-bag between the driver and front passengert – depending on configuration the wagons will have up to nine injury-limiting bags.
Adaptive cruise control system (some models) will be available in three versions (market controlled) that can include lane maintenance and the ability to read and react to speed-limit signs.
Visit Ford SA’s YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/8bz6q8JnY3M to watch the global review of the upcoming Everests.