The ‘refined’ Ford Everest is still solid as a rock
Buyers are not short of options for seven-seat SUVs based on pickup underpinnings.
Toyota offers the long-standing and popular Fortuner, Isuzu recently introduced anew MU-X, while Mitsubishi soldiers on with its Pajero Sport.
But many will argue it was Ford that elevated the stock of the genre when it released the Everest in 2015.
What made it such a hit was the car-like execution in terms of ride quality, comfort and overall usability. It disguised its heavy-duty, Ranger architecture with layers of refinement.
You can easily understand why families flocked to the model. Its cavernous boot is more than sufficient for any hauling applications, with a pair of smaller seats that fold into the floor. Its good road manners make for easy daily driving with a surprisingly light steering, commanding driving position and the sense that few obstacles would prove threatening to the overall welfare of the vehicle.
The current Everest is about to be put to pasture, but this version remains a compelling choice for those after excellent, pre-owned value. And who isn’t in these tough economic times? We’ve spent the past four months living with an Everest in 2.0 BiT guise, with higher grade XLT specification, four-wheel drive and an automatic transmission.
Our gripes were minor and eclipsed by the all-round, inherent goodness of the model. But let’s recap on some those.
First, our unit seems to have developed an annoying vibration from the left side headliner. It’s usually remedied for a while if you press a hand over the sun visor.
One also has to wonder: are 10 gears too much? The automatic transmission shifts smoothly, but there are occasions where it seems indecisive about which ratio it should be in.
Power from the 2.0l twin-turbocharged diesel is stout, at 157kW and 500Nm. Though diesel consumption, especially around town, prompts the notion that perhaps the single-turbocharged derivative is the one to have.
All things considered, an average of 10.7l/100km isn’t altogether terrible for such a large machine. On the open road you could easily get it down to 7.8l/100km.
We did a number of open road kilometres. This included a trip to Kruger National Park. Then, colleague Thomas Falkiner made two treks to and from Cape Town, a true test of the Ford’s cruising capabilities. He also loaded it with band equipment — no cymbal was left behind.
The odometer of our vehicle is on just more than 16,000km. Check out the classifieds and you can find equivalent models with similar mileage priced from R635,000. Quite a substantial saving off the R796,200 new list price.
Ford’s next Everest is imminent and it looks enticing on paper, with the prospect of slicker digital technologies in addition to a new six-cylinder engine option.
But for those sensible, value-driven and family-orientated buyers, the current example remains a top pick.