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Seven seats, yes please, we test the Ford EVEREST

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My experience in anything called a seven-seater is limited to non-existent. When Ford South Africa scheduled the EVEREST on test it was by far one of the most exciting moments I have experienced in 2020, all thanks to Covid-19. In all honesty test vehicles have been a very scarce commodity across the board with some journo’s waiting up to 6 months to receive that exciting call. Well as previously explained when I received that call, I was filled with elation, almost as much as how well the EVEREST fills a parking bay.

Aesthetics

The EVEREST is based on the ever-popular Ford Ranger, and this is not necessarily a bad thing, the exterior is tough yet subtle enough to trot along with the family without scaring fellow commuters. What makes you aware of its presence is its sheer size, the EVEREST is really not a small car, at times I often wondered if I was dead centre in my lane, not that this is a problem, however, when your daily commute is a Toyota Corolla things are quickly put into perspective.

The EVEREST’s interior is filled with a host of technology, particularly the SYNC®3 infotainment system, you are presented with several options that include the following.

  • Bluetooth integration
  • Voice command
  • Android Auto
  • Apple CarPlay
  • Climate control

During my test tenure, I was bombarded with questions like,

  • Isn’t the ride a little too stiff for a family car?
  • Is it comfortable?
  • Does it make sense?

My answers always remained the same, firstly, comfort can be compared to vehicles double its price and to top it off, their owners avoid pavements and going off-road like the plague. With the EVEREST, its utility is by far one of my top trump competitors, you can gladly take the road less travelled with a big smile knowing that you will not have any issues with rough terrain. Ford has also managed to incorporate a clever terrain management system that includes modes such as.

  • Normal – biases torque to the front wheels and sends it to the rear only as needed
  • Mud/Ruts – switches the throttle to a more aggressive mode, limits upshifting and desensitizes stability control, allowing the tires to spin as needed
  • Sand – the throttle throws maximum torque to the wheels, placing the transmission in lower gears for as long as possible, which allows the wheels to spin aggressively
  • Grass/Gravel/Snow – places the throttle in a setting to minimize wheel slip.

According to Ford the above modes can be selected on the fly and will provide you with the most amount of grip during any of those situations, I, unfortunately, did not meddle much with any of the modes, this is due to me being ultra-conservative with my attempts at off-roading.

Where the EVEREST shines is on the integration aspect, never at any moment will you struggle to navigate through the seemingly endless options you are presented with. The audio system is by far the best in all the utility vehicles I have tested, the sound system ensures that each and every single note is played with the highest clarity, but what really caught my attention was the integrated subwoofer, it is so close to perfect that I often asked why other manufacturers don’t place a priority on something that may seem meaningless but are often utilised on the initiation of your daily commute. Back to the integration, if you are experiencing a blisteringly hot day, and the dual-zone air-conditioned climate control is blowing at full power, if you receive or make a phone call,  the system will automatically reduce the fan speed to improve the audio being transmitted through the speakers, it deadens any ambient noises that could affect your communication. It’s these small things that entice one into selling their current daily driver and upgrading to the likes of the EVEREST.

Performance, fuel economy and safety features.

The EVEREST is powered by a familiar 2.0 BI-Turbo engine that produces 157 kW and 500 Nm of torque, the age-old argument that there is no replacement for displacement has somehow been thrown out into the weeds, the 2.0L engine managed to perform as well as the previous 3.2 L iteration of the EVEREST, however you get the added benefit of reduced fuel consumption on all accounts. Ford claims a combined consumption figure of 7.6 L/100 km but I was a tad over that figure, around 8.8 L/100 to be more precise, even with my spirited drives that consumption figure is far better than what I have experienced with other SUV’s,

The haloed sprint to 100 km/h is achieved without all the drama and stress of holding on for dear life, however, the EVEREST will glide smoothly through the 10-speed gearbox without fuss. The efforts Ford has put in, have definitely paid off, comfort is still one of the greatest highlights of this vehicle and they have ensured that you will feel refreshed during and at the end of your commute.

The EVEREST has managed to score very well on the NCAP safety tests, these tests include the following parameters.

  • Whiplash Protection
  • Side Impact
  • Frontal Offset
  • Seat Belt Reminders

In all the conducted tests the EVEREST scored on an average of more than 90 percent. Bearing in mind that the NCAP test is used as a benchmark for vehicle and pedestrian safety, the EVEREST is not only one of the safest vehicles on the road, it is also one of the highest-scoring vehicles in its segment. Features like dual frontal, side chest, side curtains and driver knee airbags come standard on the EVEREST, to top it off Ford has included technologies such as electronic brake force distribution, Emergency brake assist and anti-lock braking system to ensure that in the event of an emergency you will be able to bring the car to a halt in a safe and trouble-free manner.

Summary

Although 2020 has shaped the world to be a different place, the so-called “new norm” can easily be integrated into the Ford EVEREST, it manages to tick all the boxes whilst imposing a huge presence in any given situation. I have never been a fan of SUV’s due to the fact that sedans and hot hatches are more exciting, but in this case, I have no reason to fault the EVEREST, it manages to tow up to 3100 kg’s can seat seven or load up to 2010 litres of luggage. If I was given a choice between the EVERESTor a sportier hot hatch that has all the right sounds and the performance in the world. My experience with the EVEREST has certainly made that an easier choice. Unfortunately, you can’t put a price on practicality, comfort and utility, it’s almost impossible to negate the ample features SUV’s have these days, will I ever regret making this choice, no, not at this time and age, my needs are geared towards being comfortable and economic and the EVEREST does just that and a tad more.

Gottagged Rating

9.1 / 10

Pricing and options

EVEREST 2.0 BI TURBO XLT 10AT 4X4 

  • R744,500
  • Metallic Paint
  • Towbar
  • Audio Pack (SYNC3® with Navigation)
  • 18″ Alloy wheel
  • Bodyside LED stop taillamps
  • Power liftgate
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • 10 speakers; x2 USB 
  • Navigation

Warranty and service plans

Ford PROTECT offers a holistic suite of service, maintenance, warranty and roadside-assistance products aimed at keeping your new EVEREST in perfect working condition.

Every new EVEREST comes with a 4-yr/120 000km Comprehensive Warranty.

Every new EVEREST comes standard with a 6-yr/90 000km Service Plan, which covers all scheduled servicing except friction materials,

i.e. brake pads and wiper blades. (All new EVEREST derivatives purchased after 1 April 2018 will have service intervals of 12 months/15 000km, whichever comes first.

Corrosion Warranty – 5-yr/unlimited km cover.

Roadside Assistance – 3-yr/unlimited km cover for mechanical, electrical, flat tyres, batteries, medical emergencies and towing, if needed, to the nearest Ford dealership.

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