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 Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

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.

PHOTOS: SUPPLIED

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.

PHOTO: QUICK­PIC

Ian Fos­ton clocked a mil­lion fre­quent flyer kilo­me­tres to help make the Ever­est the new bench­mark among SUVs.

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