In October this year, Ford will stop making cars here and the Everest is part of its preparation.

It’s a very different seven-seater from the outgoing Territory, though it will mean there’s a seven-pew SUV in the Ford range going forward.

By Alex Forrest

Of course, the Everest is based on the major components of the Ranger four-wheel drive ute, with the key difference being Everest’s coil sprung rear suspension, where the Ranger has leaf springs.

Given its underpinnings, the Everest is a highly capable off-road vehicle. It has good ground clearance at 225mm and wheel articulation over the rough stuff is excellent, as we found in the bush near Albany.

However, that wasn’t really a surprise.

What was eye-opening was the excellent build quality and overall refinement given this is a vehicle made up predominantly of twin-cab ute bits.

The 3.2-litre, five-cylinder turbo diesel, which is also in the Mazda BT50, is an excellent match for this vehicle. In the Everest, the engine does have slightly different tuning (143kW in the Everest against 147kW in the Ranger), but torque outputs are the same at 470Nm.

That amount of torque puts the Everest near the top of its game (the Holden Colorado7 auto has 500Nm) – important given the Everest’s 3000kg braked towing capacity.

Ford has pitched the Everest as a rival for the Toyota Prado, not the other twin cab-based wagons mentioned above. That’s not a bad idea, because the Everest is expensive and on that front, closer to the Prado.

The top of the range Everest Titanium costs $85,180 drive away (gasp), although the mid-spec Everest is $67,500 while the entry level Everest Ambiente is $61,110.

The Everest gets selectable drive modes to suit varying terrains, and there’s a locking rear differential.

It also excels with its safety kit, offering lane-keeping and automatic emergency assistance in the event of a severe crash. Auto parking is also available, as is Ford’s excellent MyKey feature, which can limit the top speed for drivers using the specially programed ignition key.

Though generally well equipped, we were surprised that keyless entry wasn’t available, even on the Titanium variant.

2016 Ford Everest Specifications

Price: from $56,990 drive away
Engine: 3.2-litre five cylinder turbo diesel
Power: 143kW @ 3000rpm
Torque: 470Nm @1,750-2,500rpm
Claimed fuel economy: 8.5Litres/100km
ANCAP Rating: 5 stars
CO2 Emissions: 224g/km