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 new 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 two models – a 3.2 XLT and the 3.2 Everest Limited. The main differences being some snazzy bells and whistles (LED daytime running lights, interior LEDs, and 20-inch alloy wheels) on the Limited version. Both are built beautifully and convey that rough and tough American muscle-appeal thanks to a prominent chrome grill and strong elevation off the road.
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.
It all looked the part, but we needed to see it in action, so we took the Everest out from Cape Town to Stellenbosch, through to Gordon’s Bay and through to some pretty windy routes to a 4×4 track to see if the Everest lives up to its name.
The vehicle’s impressive off-road credentials definitely didn’t disappoint when things got a little less flat. The Everest’s new 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 on the 4×4 track, the Everest’s other attributes showed themselves. A clever downhill assist helped ease the 3 ton Ford around some pretty dicey parts of the track. We literally took 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 encountered no problems in navigating its way around the tight yet scenic course and demonstrated exactly why it’s the self-proclaimed toughest 4WD on the market.
— MenStuff (@MenStuffZA) September 29, 2015
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.
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.
The Ford Everest 3.2 XLT is priced at R593,900, while the Ford Everest 3.2 Limited starts from R646,900, with some added extras such as a spectacular Dual Moon Roof (only available on the Limited) optional extras.