A Truck Trend reader under the Twitter handle @GuyNamedBrett took some photos of a mysterious Ford SUV mule spotted near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. At first glance, it looks like an Explorer, but the mismatched rear doors and broken beltline, as well as the front fender vent and 6-lug wheels suggest it may be development mule for the upcoming Everest SUV sold in Asia-Pacific markets.
Although the Everest is similar in size and style to the North America-spec Explorer, it is a full body-on-frame SUV that shares most of its running gear with the T6 Ranger truck. The Everest will also replace the outgoing Ford Territory, an Australian-market SUV that will cease production at the end of 2016, along with the rest of Ford Australia’s manufacturing operations.
The next-generation Everest concept was unveiled at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show, but few mechanical details were included with its debut. The likely engine options are the 3.2L I-5 turbodiesel used in the T6 Ranger and offered as an option on the 2015 Ford Transit. A naturally aspirated 3.5L V-6 and possibly even the new 2.7L EcoBoost V-6 could be offered as well.
Foreign-market vehicles are often brought to the U.S. for testing, due to our broad range of climate conditions and altitudes, so just because this mule is seen driving on U.S. soil is no guarantee of its eventual sale here, but we can hope.
Photo Credit: @GuyNamedBrett via Twitter