Does the ex­panded Ever­est range have what it takes to turn the For­tuner’s ir­ri­ta­tion into a headache?

Car (South Africa) - - TEST -

R501 900

W14,06 sec 118 kw/385 N.m n/a HILE 2017 is gear­ing up to be the year of the dou­ble cab, an in­trigu­ing sub-plot in­volves the life­style ve­hi­cles that share their un­der­pin­nings (and, to a large ex­tent, rep­u­ta­tion) with their bakkie-based sib­lings. Based heav­ily on the Ranger dou­ble cab that con­tin­ues to pro­vide a monthly sales-chart ir­ri­ta­tion to the tra­di­tion­ally all-con­quer­ing Toy­ota Hilux, Ford’s re­cent ex­pan­sion of its pre­vi­ously lim­ited Ever­est range looks set to, by rep­u­ta­tion alone, chal­lenge the For­tuner’s mar­ket dom­i­nance.

In­tro­duced in 2015 in high-end XLT or full-house Lim­ited speci ca- 8,76 L/100 km 193 g/km tion, the orig­i­nal Ever­est was tted ex­clu­sively with a 3,2-litre ve-cylin­der en­gine mated with a six-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion and all-wheel-drive drivetrain. It im­pressed not only with its rugged looks, but also its pack­ag­ing and per­ceived build qual­ity. Less im­pres­sive, how­ever, was the ask­ing price associated with its fully loaded speci cations list, and the sum­mary of our De­cem­ber 2015 is­sue road test looked for­ward to the in­tro­duc­tion of a broader, more keenly priced range.

Now built in South Africa (ear­lier mod­els were im­ported from Thai­land), the Ever­est range has grown to in­clude two-wheel-driven de­riv­a­tives, as well as a 2,2-litre Du­ra­torq TDCI op­tion mated with ei­ther a six-speed man­ual or sixspeed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

While XLS speci ca­tion of­fers a well-priced en­try point into the range (start­ing at R460 968), XLT trim, as fea­tured here, gains ad­di­tional ex­te­rior styling cues, in­clud­ing a chromed grille with match­ing door han­dles and side mir­rors, and larger (18-inch) al­loys for added pres­ence. Al­though

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