By Miles Downard
A little while back I attended the launch of the Ford Everest 2.2 turbo diesel. That launch saw the Everest range expand to include eight new derivatives available with three specification levels, manual and automatic transmissions, as well as the option of two or four-wheel drive.
Last week Ford were kind enough to let me get to know the baby to the range a little better. This one was a manual with 4×4 which is only available in XLS trim (more on this later).
What’s the new engine like?
Well it’s been in the Ranger for quite some time – and in fact is a favourite for the bakkie. It’s proven itself to be just as tough as the bigger 3.2 turbo diesel as well. In this form it produces 118kW and 385 torques; good enough for a 3 ton towing capacity as well. It’s not sprightly – and feels a little pap when overtaking at highway speeds, for example – but for most uses it’s perfectly comfortable.
How well spec’d is the XLS?
Very. There are safety and smart technology features including Rear Park Assist, Diff Lock with Terrain Management System, Hill Launch Assist, Hill Descent Control and Trailer Sway Control. Ford’s SYNC1 system covers in car entertainment, which is basic in its appearance with a modest 4 inch display but comes with Bluetooth with voice controls, plus mobile and multimedia device integration.
All well and good, but what’s it like to live with?
The lack of get up and go will be the dividing factor for this Everest. In the end the only way to determine if it’ll be a deal-breaker is to go and drive one as everyone will have a different opinion. What I can say is that there’s loads of interior space, remembering that 7 seats are on offer across the range in a neat fold-into-the-floor arrangement rather than upright stacking.
It’s an exceptionally comfortable and refined car with which to cover long distances. On the launch I drove for a solid 5 or 6 hours across varying terrain including dirt roads and I was exceptionally impressed by how quiet the cabin is.
The intelligent four-wheel drive system provides permanent drive to all four wheels, using an active transfer case with high and low range, a rear differential lock and ‘Torque on Demand’ to deliver optimum performance and traction in all conditions. This is bolstered by the 225mm ground clearance and substantial 800mm water wading depth. It’s an exceptionally capable system, trust me. There won’t be many situations which the Everest can’t master.
In essence what I’m getting at is that the Everest is the perfect go anywhere family car.
Right, the big one, what’s it all cost?
This 2.2 XLS manual 4×4 Everest will set you back R539,900. It comes with a 5 year/100,000km service plan. The obvious competitor is the Toyota Fortuner that comes with a 2.4 litre turbo diesel as its lower spec. Pricing there ranges from R454,000 to R472,000. Toyota will also sell you a 2.7 litre petrol version for R438,000. There’s no 4×4 version of the entry level Fortuner though, you’ll need to pay R600,000 for that honour. Ford wins on features across the range. All this means is near impossible to compare head to head, but I know which way I lean.