All-new Ford Everest – A new high point in SUVs?

Last month we gave you a preview of the new Toyota Fortuner which is due out next year. Now Ford has released the long awaited all-new Ford Everest and we bring you all the details – and prices. Will the Everest capture the hearts of a motoring market that is crazy for SUVs? Based on the success of the Ford Ranger bakkie we think it has an excellent chance of doing so.

In a market that increasingly demands SUVs above all else, the two new releases from Ford and Toyota are going to be critical for both companies. While Toyota fans will have to wait until next year for the Fortuner, the Ford Everest is now out and its definitely going to generate some sleepless nights for Toyota execs.

Sturdy and muscular lines

Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder, but praise for the sturdy and muscular lines of the new Everest appears to be fairly consistent across the board.  Perhaps because it is such a vast leap forward compared to the previous Everest but it is hard to find anything to dislike about it.  

The new Everest has just the right amount of bling in the form of chrome accents and the shiny front grille with its big bash plate taps into the spirit of Ford’s legendary F-150 pick-up truck and certainly makes a tough and purposeful statement. In terms of styling we feel it compares favourably with the dead sexy new Jeep Grand Cherokee, a vehicle that has also become a popular choice among South African motorists seeking that all-purpose recreational and family vehicle.

Built for serious work – and play

But it’s not just a pretty face. The one thing that any serious outdoor adventure nut will be happy to hear is that the Everest is based on the Ranger chassis. In other words its built for serious off-road work. When combined with the intelligent four wheel drive system that Ford calls its Terrain Management System, the active transfer case with torque on demand, the 225mm ground clearance and 800mm water wading capability you can see that Ford have left nothing to chance, designing the Everest to take on pretty much any pathway you can find on your ramblings.

What exactly is an intelligent four wheel drive system? Basically it means Ford has taken some of the guesswork out of it by giving you four modes to choose from: Normal, Snow/Sand/Gravel/Grass, Sand and Rock. Depending on what you choose, the vehicle’s computer will re-map the throttle response, transmission shift points, torque spread and traction control to cater for the conditions.

You’ll also notice that it’s a pretty smooth ride, even when you hit the rough stuff, with much less body roll than you’d normally associate with this type of vehicle. This is due to the coil springs and Watts linkage, which we discussed in last month’s newsletter. Just because your vehicle can take on Sani Pass doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be comfortable on the road as well.

There is plenty of storage space with the boot offering 1,050 litres with the seats in the normal position. Fold the seats down and you’ll have a further 2,010 litres to play with.

One engine – torque aplenty!

At the moment you can choose from two options:  the XLT and the Limited. Both of these feature the same 3.2 litre 5 cylinder Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel engine, which shoves out 147kW and a massive 470Nm of torque between 1750 - 2500rpm. Once again, Ford has not skimped on the necessary power to ensure this vehicle can handle a steep climb or tow a heavy load (up to 3,000kgs to be precise).

Of course, more power means higher fuel consumption and Ford claims that the Everest will achieve 8,2 litres per 100kms should be taken with a pinch of salt. As always its best to do your own test drive under your specific conditions and see what figures you achieve. Bear in mind, the more you load the vehicle, the higher the fuel consumption will be.

The engine is paired to a six speed automatic transmission which features some very smooth gear changes for such a large vehicle. If that’s not enough fun for you, there is also a sport and manual mode available.

Two spec options – XLT and Limited

As far as spec options go, Ford has kept it simple with only two options to choose from: the XLT and the Limited.

The XLT features the Terrain Management System, seven airbags, driver assistance features such as an electronic stability programme with roll stability control, cruise control, rear park assist with rear view camera and 18 inch alloy wheels. You also get seating for seven people on leather-trimmed seats with folding second and third row seats, multiple power outlets and over 30 storage spaces including a glove box which is big enough to stash a laptop in. Oh and there’s a big glass roof to get even closer to the great outdoors (Limited version only).

In their advertising Ford has made a lot out of the power folding seats and the automatically activated tailgate. However, the catch is these desirable features are only available in the top spec Limited model, which costs R50,000 more.

Apart from these added touches to make life even more convenient, the Limited version also adds a number of high tech devices to improve driving safety, including a doodad that advises you when someone has entered your blind spot and active parallel parking. For the latter all you have to do is manipulate the brake and accelerator and the vehicle does the rest.

Infotainment is taken care of by virtue of the 8 inch touch screen which also controls the air conditioning and 10 speaker sound system with integrated sub-woofer. The Sync2 connectivity recognises over 10,000 possible voice instructions so you can drive without taking your hands off the steering wheel.

The Limited also features adaptive cruise control, auto high-beam control, tyre pressure monitoring, lane-keeping assist, 20 inch alloys high intensity discharge headlights and LED daytime running lights.

Too expensive for a Ford?

There is no doubt that the Everest is very well equipped and represents an excellent choice for those seeking an all-purpose seven seater family vehicle. However, it is not exactly cheap and there is plenty of competition at that price bracket, not only from the forthcoming Fortuner and current Toyota Prado but also the new Land Rover Discovery Sport.

But and this is a big BUT, although the Discovery Sport Pure is actually a bit cheaper at a starting point of around R550,000, bear in mind that’s for the 5 seat option. If you want seven seats, it will cost you a further R15,400, bringing it up to around R565,000. And that’s with a smaller 2,4 litre diesel engine, whereas the Everest has a 3,2 litre diesel engine. The Ford also has an overall length of 4892mm whereas the Discovery Sport is 4599mm. That extra 300mm or so will make a big difference to the back seat passengers.

However, the fact remains that the Discovery is still a fair bit cheaper than the Everest XLT. So has Ford priced itself out of the market? Early sales figures should give an indication of whether the Everest will be the new top of the heap or if it’s simply one peak too far for SA motorists.

The good news is that if you really fall in love with the Everest but simply can’t afford it, Ford is bringing out a version next year with a 2,2 litre engine which will presumably be a bit cheaper.

Ford Everest XLT - R593 900
Ford Everest Limited - R646 900

Includes a five year / 120 000km warranty and a four year / 100 000km service plan.

To test drive the Ford Everest, speak to a sales agent at McCarthy Ford Silver Lakes or McCarthy Ford The Glen:


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