Having a vehicle that can handle the complexities of pot-hole ridden roads, smooth highways and inner-city travel, as well as the rough terrain of our cities’ outskirts is something quite rare.
While many SUVs tick one of these boxes, it’s somewhat difficult to find something that can provide the comfort of urban cruising while also straddling an intricate 4×4 track. Ford’s latest revamp of the beloved Everest is set to bring a multi-purpose SUV to South African drivers that can deliver on those needs, so we got our hands on the wheel and decided to put their promises to the test.
Regarding the car itself, the all-new Everest features a few different models to cater for different engine sizes and drive-trains (detailed below), with the entry-level model coming in at R552,500 and the high-end variant maxing out at R819,400.
While Ford’s other punchy bakkie alternative, the Ranger, features an interior based on practicality, the Everest aims to bring some sophistication and luxury to the 4×4 market thanks to leather-trimmed doors, gorgeous displays on the infotainment screens, and illuminated dials and features. It dances along the line of ‘spaceship’ qualities, but reminds you that it’s still a rugged 4×4 thanks to its grunt and power.
And that approach extends to its updated 2.0-litre BiTurbo 4-cylinder Turbodiesel engine, which is surprisingly quiet from the inside, but has some serious grunt in terms of power. Ford clearly wanted you to feel like you’re in the lap of luxury, while also knowing that you can climb any hill or tackle any dirt road if the moment presented itself.
And when those less-flat moment do arise, the vehicle’s impressive off-road credentials don’t disappoint. The Everest’s Terrain Management System offers drivers four settings – Normal, Snow/Gravel/Grass, Sand and Rock – that alter the vehicle’s throttle response, transmission, intelligent four-wheel drive system and traction control to confidently tackle any situation. Obviously, we weren’t encountering any tundra-swept locales, but we did try out the other options and the way in which it adapts the sensitivity and responsiveness of the Everest was impressive.
While approaching some steep declines, the Everest’s other attributes showcase themselves. A clever downhill assist helps ease the 3 ton Ford around just about anything you’ll ever encounter. You can literally take our foot off the brake and let the car do its thing. While strange, it’s a great safety feature that will prevent overbraking and sliding from a heavy-footed driver.
The Everest encounters no problems in navigating its way around tight yet scenic routes, and its turning-circle is suprisingly effecient for such a long chassis.
If that wasn’t enough, the vehicle also features semi-automated parallel parking assist; a collision mitigation system to warn you if you’re driving to close to another vehicle; a lane departure warning feature using the Everest’s cameras; and a blind-spot alert system, which all came into play while taking the vehicle into traffic-heavy areas.
And regarding space, the Everest is a big car, there’s no denying that. But, this makes it perfect for a larger family, especially one with kids. The three rows of seats (with the second and third rows able to fold flat) provide more than enough seating space (or storage) room for young ones, dogs, or that canoe you’ve had your eye on for quite some time.
Overall, we were extremely impressed with the value and extensive feature list on the Everest, while also nodding in approval with some of the offroad feats it achieved. All in all, it’s a solid vehicle that will provide drivers with those additional comforts while still being tough and gritty enough to tackle some trails.
- 2.2 TDCi XLS 6AT 4×2 — R552,500
- 2.0 SiT XLT 10AT 4×2 — R637,800
- 2.0 SiT XLT 10AT 4×4 — R679,400
- 2.0 BiT XLT 10AT 4×2 — R693,300
- 3.2 TDCi XLT 6AT 4×4 — R715,300
- 2.0 BiT XLT 10AT 4×4 — R744,500 (tested)
- 2.0 BiT Limited 10AT 4×4 — R819,400