Clash of the titans: Ford Everest Vs Toyota Fortuner!

Next year will witness an epic battle of the seven seater SUVs as an all-new version of Toyota’s much-loved Fortuner is launched just in time to fight off a challenge from a serious new contender – the all-new Ford Everest.

Ford has had a good run in the last few years, adding several new models to its line-up, and hitting the mark more often than not. Their Figo, EcoSport and Kuga models have all done well, but the Ford Ranger bakkie is the real success story - taking the lead as the best-selling all-purpose lifestyle vehicle in the land.

In fact, it’s so popular it has spawned a sub-culture of Ranger owners who try to outdo in each other in personalising their vehicles, pimping them out with various aftermarket accessories like fancy alloy wheels, bull and crash bars and other paraphernalia.

So competition between the two behemoth brands is definitely hotting up, which is great for consumers because healthy competition always leads to a better product. For Toyota SA, much is riding on the release of the new Fortuner and Hilux next year. So what can we look forward to? Previews of the new Fortuner reveal a bold new design with much to like.

Details are still scanty at this time but here’s a taster of what you can look forward to:

All-new engines – The diesel versions of the Fortuner are by far the most popular so it’s good to hear there will be TWO new diesel engines to choose from - a 2,4 litre and 2,8 litre turbodiesel. In keeping with the trend towards smaller, more efficient engines, these will apparently deliver increased low speed torque as well as improved fuel efficiency.

New transmissions – These will be either six speed auto gearboxes (the ratios have been revised for maximum performance) or manuals which will feature a rev-matching function.

New suspension – Engineers have looked to improve the ride comfort with a total redesign of the suspension, including a new double-wishbone front suspension and four-link rear setup. The frame is completely new, bolstered with strengthened cross members, side rails and suspension towers in order to enhance torsional and bending rigidity.

Total redesign inside and out  – After years of working with the same old look, the new Fortuner will be completely different, check out the pictures and see for yourself! The interior is also being overhauled, with faux leather upholstery, soft-touch finishes and chrome trim. Some new features include adjustable ambient lighting, with clear blue backlighting to brighten up the cabin. LED head and tail lights are standard.

Lots of cool features – The Fortuner is the jewel in Toyota’s crown in terms of sales, and they have made sure there are plenty of cool features to catch a discerning consumer’s eye, including 15 storage areas, keyless entry and start, seats that fold with one touch, hook release for the third row of seats and touch-sensitive infotainment screen that takes its design cues from tablets. The Australian model will have a reverse camera as standard so let’s hope that’s the case here too. From a more practical standpoint, a part time four wheel drive system will come standard, as will trailer sway control, technology that keeps your trailer pointed in the right direction in crosswinds or on bumpy roads.

Ford Everest – specced to impress

We now know enough about the new Ford Everest to indicate that it’s going to be a very tough battle indeed. The new Everest is packed with features and includes the following:

Built on the Ranger platform, it features an old school ladder chassis, still one of the best ways to build an all-terrain vehicle. It will also feature intelligent All-Wheel Drive, an uprated suspension and enough gizmos to make any gadget freak happy.

Engines will include two diesels: a four-cylinder 2.2-litre Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel, rated at 118kW and 385Nm; or a 3.2-litre five-cylinder, quoted at 147kW and 470Nm. These both feature an updated gas re-circulation system to increase efficiency. There’s also a petrol engine in the line-up - Ford’s new 2.0 litre EcoBoost turbopetrol.

Six speed auto or manual transmissions are available. All Wheel Drive models will have an active transfer case with Torque on Demand that can be manually locked into the lower range for especially demanding patches of rough.

A versatile suspension featuring a coil-over suspension system with a Watts linkage on the rear axle. According to Ford Chief Engineer Ian Foston, the Watts Linkage wasn’t a random decision but was specifically chosen because it allows for ‘the right balance between on-road dynamics, fun-to-drive performance, great body control but also ruggedness off-road as well’.  

Ground clearance at 225mm. For the true adventurer is that there is also 800mm of wading permitted due to exhaust and other ingress pipes being well tucked away.

Ford's Terrain Management System, a first in this class say Ford, gives drivers four options - Normal, Snow/Gravel/Grass, Sand and Rock – that will manage throttle response, transmission shift points, the All-Wheel Drive system and traction control to suit the terrain.

Tons of handy features to make daily use easier. The tailgate to access the cargo bay is power operated, and the third-row seats are also power operated. Fold-flat second-row seats allow for quick-change versatility. There are more than 30 stowage spaces around the cabin, as well as multiple 12V power sockets, seven airbags and a dual-panel moon roof as standard issue. There’s also active parking assist to help you with those tricky parallel parking situations.

Your on-board entertainment is well taken care of. A new version of Ford's Sync 2 connectivity set-up allows you to control the car's infotainment system, A/C settings and connected devices with voice commands. Not to mention an 8-inch touch-screen hooked up to a 10-speaker sound system with an integrated subwoofer.

Who will prevail?

So as you can see, the end user is the one who really benefits. Both vehicles are extremely capable and loaded with features. Who will prevail in the end? Whereas Ford are riding a strong wave of positivity around their rejuvenated brand and have the success of the Ranger to capitalise on, Toyota boast a strong legacy of brand value, not to mention an extensive network of dealers around the country for added convenience. They have also timed the release of the all-new and still very popular Toyota Hilux for next year so the buzz around the brand will be strong indeed.

Rest assured we will keep you appraised of developments as the big battle commences!

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