Avatar photo

By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Ford Everest could go commercial as load-lugging panel van

Availability of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado as a van in select markets could convince Ford to do the same with the Everest.

Benchmarked against the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado rather than the Fortuner at the start of its development, a new suggestive report from Australia has alleged that Ford could be targeting the commercial version of the former with a van version of the Everest.

Nothing new

A segment the automaker dabbled in almost three decades ago with the European-market Maverick, then a rebadged three-or-five-door version of the Nissan Terrano II, the emergence of an Everest van reportedly not only stems from costs, but also popularity.

Report suggests Ford could introduce a van version of the Everest
Commercial version of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado has been a permanent fixture in the UK since the two generations ago J90 model. Image: Toyota UK.

In Europe, SUVs converted into vans have long been popular as evident not only by the Land Cruiser Prado Commercial, but also the Renault/Dacia Duster Commercial and the Land Rover Defender Hard-Top.

ALSO READ: Ford Everest evolves from humble beginnings to Prado rival

Three-years ago, Suzuki was left with no chance but to head the commercial route with the Jimny in Europe as a result of it not adhering to the Euro 7 emissions vehicles classified as workhorses or for commercial use are except form.

Ford Everest tipped to become a commercial van
Panel van SUV is nothing new for Ford as in the late 90s, it offered a commercial version of the Maverick in Europe, a model based on the Nissan Terrano II as part of joint venture the marques had at the time. Image: old-surrey-cars on Flickr.

Despite the Everest not being sold in Europe, Australia’s carsguide.com.au alleges that SUVs converted into commercial vehicles are also popular in certain Asian markets and Africa, the latter evident by the Land Cruiser 78 Troop Carrier, known better as the Troopy, which, since 2021, had been placed back on-sale as a “special order” only model by Toyota South Africa Motors.

Remember this?

With the exception of the Maverick, a more rugged Ford product won’t be unfamiliar to South Africans either as in 2014, the Blue Oval created a reinforced Ranger derivative called XL Plus aimed specifically at business owners and the mining industry.

Available as either a double cab or chassis cab in single and double cab bodystyles, the XL Plus lacked a number of features the “standard” XL sported, but came equipped as standard with side steps, a heavy duty second battery, vinyl floors, expanded wiring harnesses and what Ford called an “enhanced” frame still able to tow 3 500 kg.

Report suggests Ford could introduce a van version of the Everest
Ranger XL Plus premiered in 2014 as a rugged, heavy-duty version of the standard XL model. Image: Ford.

The back-to-basics philosophy stretched further as the XL Plus only had access to a six-speed manual gearbox and the now discontinued 2.2-litre Duratorq Puma turbodiesel engine.

Four-wheel-drive was, however, standard along with an electronically locking rear differential, while options included a heavy-duty steel bashplate, mudgaurds and a steel nudge bar.

Yeah or nay?

As it stands, the introduction of a less luxurious Everest with only two seats and panelled-up side windows hasn’t received approval from Dearborn, but according to CarsGuide, had been mentioned on a number of occasions in the past.

Ford Everest tipped to become a commercial van
Depicted interior of a Ranger XL will most likely be selected for the Everest van. Image: Ford.

Given South Africa’s preference for SUVs rather and vans as indicated by Hyundai introducing the Venue Cargo in February this year, Ford’s green lighting of an Everest van could prove beneficial, not only from a cost standpoint, but also customisation with regards to overlanding.

As mentioned though, nothing has been approved by Ford Motor Company South Africa, Ford’s head office in the United States or Ford Thailand were production of the Everest takes place.

ALSO READ: Attention! Toyota bring backs Troop carrying Land Cruiser 78

Read more on these topics

Ford Ford Everest Motoring News