With the all-new Ford Ranger, codenamed P703, due out next year, attention has shifted to the next generation Everest which seemingly will no longer ride on the pick-up’s body-on-frame platform. This, according to a series of new spy images published by China’s Auto Home, who snapped detailed exterior and under-the-skin images of a mystery prototype SUV rumoured to be the next generation Everest parked in a snow covered parking area.
Judging by the extensive layers of not only black masking, but also fake body panels, misplaced taillights and circular patterned black-and-white wrapping, the test mule appears to be in an advanced stage of development with the hiding of the door handles and the entire tailgate alluding to the possible presence of actual production parts.
The biggest centre of attention is to be found underneath the skin though where the mule comes equipped with a multi-link rear suspension, signalling a move to a unibody construction similar to the North American Explorer and Edge where comfort is favoured above off-road ability.
Just as noteworthy is the styling where the visible front facia sports a Hyundai inspired split-headlight design and honeycomb pattern grille similar to the Korean marque’s latest Cascading grille. A single shot of the interior sees a complete departure from the current Everest (main image) with a more car-like inside that bears close resemblance to that of the new Focus in the shape of the steering wheel, centre console and rotary gear selector. Also identifiable is an integrated infotainment display and what appears to be a digital instrument cluster given the lack of any dials.
Likely to keep its seven-seat configuration, the choice of engines will be different and despite the powerunit being pictured free of any covers, its displacement remains unknown. While the Ranger is anticipated to offer both four and six-cylinder petrol and diesel engines, Auto Home claims that a 2.0 EcoBoost will feature in the Everest, which, as evident by the interior shot, will be mated to an automatic transmission likely to be the ten-speed self-shifter co-developed with General Motors.
At present, it remains unknown as to when the Everest will make its debut, but according to a related report by motor1.com Brazil, is could theoretically