Toyota look out!
“With the all-new Ford Everest, we’re launching an extremely capable and competitive premium SUV that performs equally well as a comfortable and refined family vehicle or taking on the roughest terrains.” These are the words of Tracey Delate, General Marketing Manager, Ford Motor Company Sub-Saharan Africa.
I would say that Tracey is spot on. Toyota has had to step up its game with the Hilux due to the success of the Ford Ranger, and now, Toyota may have to take a look in its rearview mirror as the new Ford Everest will soon take on the new Toyota Fortuner (due out next year).
We saw the previous Everest hit our shores back in 2009 and although not the most popular of vehicles, it was still very capable off-road. This new generation can now add refined quality and comfort to its CV, not forgetting good looks as well.
The all-new Ford Everest was designed from the ground up. Running boards and a chrome grille with matching handles are standard with the top spec Limited trim level gaining LED daytime running lights and 20-inch allow wheels. It’s striking, especially when it appears in your rear view mirror.
The interior feels sophisticated with more premium materials having been used throughout the cabin. What will come in handy, especially with a truck load of kids, is the 30 storage spaces throughout the vehicle. It also has multiple power outlets that will let you charge laptops and phones. The Limited model sees the third-row seats feature a power-fold function, a powered tailgate and an optional dual-panel moon roof.
Ford equipped the Everest with Active Noise Cancellation technology in addition to optimising cabin sealing and sound absorbing materials which is noticeable. It is a very quiet drive! Engine and road noise is minimal. But at cruising speed the wind noise can be rather intrusive.
The new Everest is initially only available with one engine and gearbox across two spec levels. This 4X4 is powered by a 3,2-litre engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. While the engine, which delivers 147 kW and 470 N.m of torque, has a pretty good track record and is more than capable, it’s the transmission that lets it down with noticeable lag.
Where the Everest makes up for this is off-road. It has a claimed ground clearance of 225 mm and with its new Terrain Management System which gives you four options – Normal, Snow/Gravel/Grass, Sand and Rock – that alters the vehicle’s throttle response, transmission, four-wheel drive system and traction control, the Everest is more than capable and we found this out along a breathtaking mountain near Franschhoek.
The list of safety features on the new Everest is impressive. It includes seven airbags, driver assist technologies such as Electronic Stability Program (ESP) with Roll Stability Control, cruise control, as well as rear park assist with rear view camera.
As the flagship of the all-new Everest range, the Limited model gains an extensive set of premium features including Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Auto High Beam Control, Blind Spot Monitoring with Cross Traffic Alert, Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist.
The only bump in what could be a successful road for the Everest could be its pricing. The Limited is priced at R646 900. Some of its competitors may have the upper hand here with the likes of the Land Rover Discovery Sport coming in at just under R550 000. It will be interesting to see what the new Toyota Fortuner comes in at. But we will have to wait till next year for that.