FORD’S Australian-made Territory SUV appears to have been a key part of the development work for the upcoming Everest seven-seat off-roader – well, the back half of it at least judging by these spy images.
Sharp-eyed Wheels reader Soren Lund spotted this early left-hand-drive Ranger-based Everest mule driving through Melbourne this week, wearing the front cabin of the trade ute and an ill-fitting Ford Territory load space at the rear.
Few design clues come from this engineering evaluation vehicle. However, we’ve noticed that the black insert on the front guard carries a repeater lamp – something the near production-ready Everest concept car unveiled here in August last year, and more recently in Thailand where the Australian-developed SUV will be built.
The mule is yet to adopt the more angular front end – including the notched headlights to either side of the trapezoidal grille that separates the Everest from the more trade-friendly Ranger ute – while down the rear, the Territory’s squared-off proportions are a long way off the Everest concept’s softer, more sculpted lines.
The front doors already carry the deep scallops featured on the sides of the twin-cab Ranger, but on the concept car they do not extend into the front guards.
Much more advanced prototype versions of the Everest are already out in the wild, showing the road-going version will one day look a lot like the concept.
However, if you’re starting to like the looks of this Holden Colorado/Isuzu MU-X rival, don’t go rushing into showrooms just yet; the Ford-badged SUV is not expected to arrive in Australian showrooms until well into 2015.