Ford’s plans for the medium and large SUV segments have taken a little more shape with the confirmation that a rear-wheel drive version of its Toyota Prado-fighting Ford Everest model will be added to the range.
But the bigger news expected ‘imminently’ though, is confirmation that Ford’s Edge medium SUV will be coming to Australia later this year to replace the locally-built Territory – which ends production on October 7.
But with Edge only expected to be available in five-seat form, unlike the Ford Territory, offering a cheaper version of the seven seat Everest make sense. Only it kinda doesn’t…
That’s because Ford has decided to drop the front drive shafts out of the mid-spec $60,990 Trend rather than the entry-level $54,990 Ambiente.
Result? The new model has a manufacturer’s list price of $55,990 – $1000 more than the entry-level all-wheel drive Ambiente. Mind you Ford has sweetened the deal by upgrading 2017 Everest Trend and top-spec Titanium with the latest SYNC in-car infotainment system, which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Other spec of the Ford Ranger-based Aussie-developed SUV, like the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel, six-speed auto and 3000kg brakes towing capacity remains the same.
So why not offer a RWD Ambiente and push the pricing down to around $50,000?
“It was about what customers were telling us about where they felt 4x2 fitted,” Ford Australia president Graeme Whickman responded. “It’s also about where we are seeing the predominance of model sales as well.
“It seemed to be a natural start point.”
But the next point is Edge (does a point have an edge? Oh well). Once a left-hand drive only proposition, Edge is now a global model thanks to the One Ford product philosophy that has already brought Mustang to local showrooms.
Nearly 4.8m long and rolling on a 2.85m wheelbase, the Edge is offered with 2.0-litre turbo-petrol and diesel engines and 2.7- and 3.5-litre V6 turbo-petrol engines depending on the market.
“Territory replacement discussion is not far away,” a cautious Whickman conceded. “Imminent I would suggest … We have previously disclosed we would have a Territory replacement as early as late 2016.”
One thing Whickman did confirm was using the name Edge could be an issue in Australia because Toyota has the rights to the name and has used it for a series of limited editions.
“There is a bit of speculation around its name,” Whickman said. “I believe Toyota have the rights to the name Edge so we will work our way through some of the nomenclature in the background.”