Rating the Everest
The only thing Ford’s new sport ute ain’t, is cheap — until you compare its abilities to other automatic 4x4 sport utes competing in this range
THE man behind Ford’s new Everest, Ian Foston, is an engineer who officially drives a desk, but his wife and boy would have been fooled.
For during almost three million kilometres of testing the new Everest, Foston used every chance to get behind the wheel himself, in the process flying a million kilometres from his home base in Australia to drive all the setting options the little 4x4 knob gives you — from normal to slippery to steep rocks.
As Foston explained that knob: “It flatters the novice, and facilitates things for the expert.”
A 4x4 enthusiast, he nevertheless also spent a lot of time to refine two unique selling points in the Everest that I dare say now set the benchmark for the rest of the medium-sized utes.
There are three of these unique features, viz electric seats in the third row, each folds down with the press of a button; a Watts link on the diff that keeps the high, heavy cabin poised like a low sedan around hairpins; and the best sound system in a ute under R1 million. Wheels attended the very wet launch of the Everest in Cape Town, courtesy of Ford. After racing around passes and loving that Watts link, Ford decided wisdom as the better part of valor on a steep clay track that offered no traction for goats, never mind wheels. So bear with us as we arrange a 4x4 test to see if Ford’s latest sport ute will match its fantastic road holding around the wet curves of Franschoek Pass.
Ford thinks the Everest is a worthy contender of the Toyota Prado, but buyers, of course, compare what they can buy for more or less the same money.
Use the quick guide overleaf to see how the Everest 4x4 automatic stacks up in the SUV stable.
Ford Everest 3.2 TDCi 4x4 automatic. Price R646 900 Power 147 kW and 470 Nm between 1 750 and 2500 rpm. Selling points Watt’s link offer most stable ride among SUVs; more active driver assist systems than any other, including park assist; fantastic sound system, comfortable seats in third row, each of which folds down electrically.
Ian Foston clocked a million frequent flyer kilometres to help make the Everest the new benchmark among SUVs.