Ideal for get­ting away from the daily grind

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS - Mark Smyth

This week Toy­ota of­fi­cially closed its man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in Aus­tralia. At the same time, BMW an­nounced it was in­vest­ing an ad­di­tional R160m into its plant in Ross­lyn, SA to in­crease pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity for the new X3.

These are all ma­jor in­dus­try an­nounce­ments, but it is easy to for­get some­times that Ford man­u­fac­tur­ers the Ever­est SUV and ex­ports it from its plant in Sil­ver­ton. It adds to the ex­port num­bers for the Ranger bakkie, of course, and shows an in­dus­try that is con­tin­u­ing to be rather healthy — and there are high hopes for it to con­tinue in that way once ne­go­ti­a­tions for a new pol­icy frame­work post-2020 are com­pleted.

Over the past month our Ever­est 2.2 has been do­ing a lot more work both in town and get­ting away at the week­ends. It is hold­ing up well to the ur­ban com­mute and we are quite sure its Amer­i­can truck-like fa­cade has prob­a­bly made the oc­ca­sional minibus taxi driver think twice be­fore mess­ing with it.

The acres of space have been crammed with kids and all the para­pher­na­lia that has to travel with them, in­clud­ing bags, bug­gies and child seats. On a re­cent trip to the Vaal we packed the car and headed out — and it proved to be a great ve­hi­cle for the week­end ex­cur­sion. It can be a lit­tle bouncy, some­thing the wife is not happy about, but on a longer jour­ney along the high­way this was re­duced, al­low­ing the kids to sleep com­fort­ably.

A longer trip also en­abled us to get the con­sump­tion down a lit­tle, although not as much as we hoped. We are still sit­ting at 11.4l/100km which for a 2.2 diesel seems rather high. The fig­ure is mainly the re­sult of the Ever­est spend­ing most of its time in the ur­ban jun­gle where con­stant stop/start traf­fic is mak­ing the en­gine and gear­box work harder. The oc­ca­sional urge to switch the gear­box across into sport mode doesn’t help in the quest for lower con­sump­tion of course, but it def­i­nitely makes it eas­ier when you need to hus­tle slightly.

We are con­tin­u­ing to make the most of the great Sync in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem which au­to­mat­i­cally con­nects to my phone ev­ery time I get into the car. Stream­ing Spo­tify playlists makes the com­mute more bear­able and all the tracks dis­play on the touch­screen or, if I choose to, on one of the dig­i­tal screens in the in­stru­ment clus­ter.

That clus­ter also keeps a his­tory of our con­sump­tion fig­ures which helps us to see where the right foot has been a lit­tle heav­ier than usual too.

We still have a cou­ple of is­sues with the Ever­est, aside from the oc­ca­sion­ally choppy ride. There is nowhere to hide any­thing in the boot and we have taken to stash­ing the lap­top bag un­der the third row of seats and then chuck­ing stuff on top. It’s not ideal and Ford says it does not have a lug­gage cover avail­able at the mo­ment. This seems rather odd in a coun­try where crime is top of the minds of many peo­ple and Ford SA re­ally needs to ad­dress this.

Over­all though, the Ever­est has been work­ing well both in town and on the odd ex­cur­sion. It was in­ter­est­ing to jump from the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport into it when we had the Mitsu on test re­cently. The level of com­pe­ti­tion be­tween these two and the pop­u­lar For­tuner is heat­ing up and all three have some­thing dif­fer­ent to of­fer.

Ex­port of the Ford Ever­est con­tin­ues, left. The Sync in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem, be­low, is such a plea­sure to use, es­pe­cially in the daily com­mute.

The third row of seats have been used more for hid­ing things from pry­ing eyes in the ab­sence of a lug­gage cover.

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