LONG-TERM UPDATE 2 | Our Ford Everest takes a trek to the Kruger in its stride
The second month with our long-term Ford Everest proved to be a busy one. Besides the daily grind it had to endure on the highways and byways of Gauteng, it also did a trip to the lowveld region and the Kruger National Park with a hefty load of people, video gear and luggage.
The Everest is an easy vehicle to live with. The interior is a pleasant place to be in, without being overly complicated or laden with buttons and overwhelming menus in the infotainment system, or on-board computer. Those leather seats offer great comfort, noted on this recent lengthy trek.
Automatic headlights and wipers work a charm, and are “set-and-forget” in nature. The cruise control functions on the steering wheel, along with phone and media controls, are intuitive to use and don't distract from the act of driving. The Android Auto functionality works flawlessly.
Its suspension offers a good balance between firm and compliant, and the ladder frame underpinnings becomes less obvious thanks to the use of coil springs in the rear along with a Watt’s linkage. The handling inspires confidence, though it isn’t sporty to any degree. It does, however, feel safe, and the Everest manages to navigate mountain passes with ease despite the high centre of gravity. In the park, the raised height proved to be a bonus for spotting animals.
During our trip to the lowveld, the open-road fuel consumption was impressive at 7.5l/100km from Johannesburg to Mbombela, fully laden. Cruise control was also employed for most of the trip and was set to around 120km/h throughout.
Overall, we managed to average 9.5l/100km (according to the on-board computer) over the 2,560km travelled in the month. Not bad at all for a vehicle of this size and with permanent four-wheel drive.
The 2.0 BiTurbo diesel engine is a bit of a let-down in terms of performance though. Ford claims that it produces 157kW and 500Nm, but it never feels like it has that kind of grunt. The 10-speed automatic gearbox is a treat, but the engine runs out of puff very easily on an uphill and there is no urgency in the acceleration. The claimed power just never seems to translate to the road — in town or on the open road. That would be our biggest gripe with the Ford, for the moment. It is something the new Everest will remedy with a six-cylinder option.
While the rear row of seats fold down to create cavernous loading space, the seats do not fold down completely flat — they sit at a slight angle. Our vehicle did not arrive with a boot cover for some reason, which means all cargo is visible when looking through the rear window.
Despite the overall size of the Everest, it is quite a nimble vehicle to into a parking space. With the help of light steering, a rear-view camera and park distance control on the front, it manages to belie its size. Minor complaints aside, a month with the Everest was thoroughly enjoyed by this tester.
UPDATE 2 NOTES:
Odometer on delivery: 7,256.8km
Odometer now: 9,817.7km
Praises: Good fuel consumption, ease of use for daily, no-fuss motoring.
Gripes: 2.0 BiTurbo engine not as powerful as claimed, boot cover missing, rear row of seats don’t fold down completely flat.