Drive Type: Automatic
Model: Model A
Southwest Iowa, United States
While the Explorer may have shifted from a truck-based sport-ute to a car-based crossover, Ford still offers buyers on the other side of the Pacific a Ranger-based SUV in the form of the Everest. And at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Beijing today, the Blue Oval revealed the all-new version you see here.
Previewed in concept form over a year ago and made specifically for the Asia-Pacific market, the new Ford Everest is designed to be more refined on the road and more capable off of it. Like the Explorer once was, the new Everest is based on a stretched version of the overseas Ford Ranger pickup. Depending on the specific market, Ford will offer the new Everest with a range of engines including a 2.0-liter EcoBoost turbo four and two Duratorq turbodiesels - a 2.2-liter four and a 3.2-liter inline-five - mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Earmarked to take on the likes of the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (known in these parts as the Lexus GX) and the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the new Everest promises rock-crawlers even better off-road capabilities. It's got nearly nine inches of ground clearance, over 30 inches of wading depth, a 29-degree approach and 25-degree departure angles and a set of features including on-the-fly adjustable four-wheel drive.
It's a fairly well known fact that removing weight from a car is essentially a panacea for many of the modern automobiles problems. Does it handle like crap? Remove weight. Underpowered? Don't add power; trim the fat. Need to improve fuel economy? It's diet time.
Actually executing a major weight reduction program, though, much like with human beings, is no easy task. Unlike you or I, where motivation is the issue, the prohibitive measure in trimming a car's waistline is money. Lightweight materials are expensive, with carbon fiber and carbon-fiber reinforced plastic still primarily in the domain of higher end vehicles. Even aluminum construction, pioneered on a mass-produced level by Audi and Jaguar, is only now starting to make its way into the mainstream, thanks to the upcoming Ford F-150.
With this concept, though, Ford is attempting to show that a mass-produced, lightweight vehicle isn't too far off. This is the Lightweight Concept, and while it may look like a Fusion, it weighs as much as a Fiesta. For reference, the lightest Fusion available to the public is the 3,323-pound, 2.5-liter model with a manual transmission. A manually equipped, 1.6-liter Fiesta, meanwhile, is just 2,537 pounds.
In the 1950s and early 60s, the dawn of nuclear power was supposed to lead to a limitless consumer culture, a world of flying cars and autonomous kitchens all powered by clean energy. In Europe, it offered the then-limping continent a cheap, inexhaustible supply of power after years of rationing and infrastructure damage brought on by two World Wars.
The development of nuclear-powered submarines and ships during the 1940s and 50s led car designers to begin conceptualizing atomic vehicles. Fueled by a consistent reaction, these cars would theoretically produce no harmful byproducts and rarely need to refuel. Combining these vehicles with the new interstate system presented amazing potential for American mobility.
But the fantasy soon faded. There were just too many problems with the realities of nuclear power. For starters, the powerplant would be too small to attain a reaction unless the car contained weapons-grade atomic materials. Doing so would mean every fender-bender could result in a minor nuclear holocaust. Additionally, many of the designers assumed a lightweight shielding material or even forcefields would eventually be invented (they still haven't) to protect passengers from harmful radiation. Analyses of the atomic car concept at the time determined that a 50-ton lead barrier would be necessary to prevent exposure.