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LONG-TERM UPDATE 3 | Our Ford Everest has plenty of space for bass

22 June 2022 - 10:55
Our long-term Ford Everest looking moody somewhere in the small Karoo.
Our long-term Ford Everest looking moody somewhere in the small Karoo.
Image: Thomas Falkiner

My tenure behind the wheel of Sowetan Motoring’s long term Ford Everest BiT XLT couldn’t have started at a better time. I had agreed to DJ again at the annual Freemason’s Dinner Dance and this obviously necessitated the moving of hefty sound gear that would never in a million years squeeze inside my old six-cylinder Beetle.  

Even my recently flogged Fiat 500 would have struggled. The seven-seater Everest didn’t flinch. All I needed to do was fold flat the third row of seating and, boom, just like that I had a massive landing pad on which to park two large PA speakers, a heavy duty power amplifier and all the other requisite electronic paraphernalia needed to rock the cash bar.

The tailgate aperture has no annoying lip to impede the loading/unloading process while the rear and side windows are smoked, which apart from looking downright gangster certainly does help to better shield interior contents from prying eyes. All this makes the Ford Everest an exceptional load-lugger: a kind of super-sized station wagon capable of transporting your cargo pretty much anywhere.

After putting this machine’s interior real estate to the test it was time to see how the Everest coped with the rigours of the open road. I decided to put the Joburg skyline in my rearview mirror and head down the N1 highway for a week of remote working in the Mother City. The first thing that struck me was how refined this Ford is.

Comfortable seats and a refined cabin make the Ford Everest a fine long-distance cruiser.
Comfortable seats and a refined cabin make the Ford Everest a fine long-distance cruiser.
Image: Waldo Swiegers

Almost at odds with its rugged body-on-frame architecture, this monstrous SUV whispers along at the speed limit with hardly any road or wind noise to speak of – an impressive feat and one that helps to keep long distance driving fatigue to a minimum.

Adding to this Everest’s road tripping credentials are comfortable front seats, loads of useful storage binnacles, two USB ports as well as a generously sized touchscreen infotainment system that syncs with Apple CarPlay (or Android Auto if that’s your vibe) and comes wired to no less than 10 speakers. Other welcome features include cruise control and a pair of impressively bright LED headlamps.

Somewhat less impressive is the 2.0l four-cylinder bi-turbo diesel engine residing under the Everest’s bonnet. Ford claims this unit musters 157kW and 500Nm of torque, which on paper seems like a tidy upgrade over the 132kW and 420Nm punched out by its more affordable single-turbo sibling.

Unfortunately, on the roads of the real world, you don’t feel that much of a difference and not enough to justify the R71,500 price premium. Off the line acceleration remains tepid (I was beaten exiting the Vaal toll plaza by a Honda Jazz) while in-gear acceleration straddles a line between being barely adequate and barely inadequate.

Fold the rear seats flat and you'll find that the Everest offers masses of storage space.
Fold the rear seats flat and you'll find that the Everest offers masses of storage space.
Image: Supplied

The 10-speed automatic transmission doesn’t help matters much, with a rather slow and ponderous action that’s prone to hunting – particularly when it comes to downshifts. There are some positives though.

Despite its lack of vooma the bi-turbo unit operates smoothly and with little mechanical ruckus, which is another feather in its cap as far as long distance driving is concerned. It’s also frugal. On the Cape Town trek I managed to get the fuel consumption down to 7.3l/100km. That’s only 0.3l/100km more than the smaller, lighter and more aerodynamic Toyota Corolla 2.0 XR I took on the same drive this time last year.

Ride quality is, like the rest of the Everest package, pleasantly refined. Sure, scabby tracts of lonely rural bitumen affected by poor maintenance and too many toll-cheating trucks can leave it a bit flustered, but everywhere else this Ford soaks up bumps and undulations like a champion. I know I keep banging on about, it but the Everest is a hella comfortable machine.

With all the driving I have done in it so far, this Sea Grey Metallic example is due for its first 15,000km service. I’ll be booking it in at Blackheath’s Paul Maher Ford for a once over and some new filters and fluids. In the last few hundred kilometres I have been noticing a slight shimmy through the steering wheel when braking at speeds over 60km/h, so hopefully their technicians can see to that too.

On that note, stay tuned for next month’s update.

FORD EVEREST 2.0l BiT XLT 10AT 4WD: UPDATE 3

PRICE: R796,200

ODOMETER ON DELIVERY: 7,256km

CURRENT ODOMETER: 15,050km

AVERAGE CONSUMPTION: 7.8l/100km

PRAISES: A comfortable and relaxed long-distance cruiser with masses of interior space.

GRIPES: Bi-turbo engine is lazy — a V6 would be so much better.


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