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Like a rhino – big, strong and rugged – meet Ford’s Everest.

Initially, the Everest was launched only in 3.2 guise and fully imported from Thailand. As of late last year, the Everest line-up was dramatically enhanced with an expanded model line-up comprising a total of eight derivatives available with two engine choices, three specification levels, manual and automatic transmissions, as well as the option of two or four-wheel drive.

Local is lekker – after a R2.5-billion investment in the Ford Silverton Assembly Plant in Pretoria, all eight of these models are now produced locally. This includes five all-new 2.2-litre versions in XLS or XLT trim, as well as the option of a new 3.2 XLT 4x2.

Previously, I reviewed the top of the range Everest, 3.2 TDCi LIMITED 6AT 4X4. A great 4X4, and good SUV, but at almost R700 000, it’s expensive – especially considering other options at that price. Having only the 3.2 in the range was a weak spot that Ford has corrected by adding the economical 2.2 model.

This time around I got my hands dirty with what could easily be considered the apple or sweet spot in the Everest range, the 2.2 TDCi XLS 6MT 4X4.  This model is great for owners that intend heading far off the beaten track. It is equipped with a manual transmission. 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.

Common to all 4x4 models is Ford’s innovative Terrain Management System that boasts four driving modes: Normal, Mud, Sand and Rock Crawl. These modes are easily selected via a convenient rotary dial adjacent to the gear lever. It adapts throttle response, gear shift patterns on the automatic models, the intelligent four-wheel drive system and traction control to confidently tackle any terrain.

Numerous other sophisticated technologies fitted as standard on the Ford Everest include Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) with Traction Control, Hill Launch Assist and Trailer Sway Control. Further safety features encompass dual front, side and full-length curtain airbags. A driver’s knee airbag is standard on the XLT and Limited and optional on the XLS.

All three specification grades include rear parking sensors linked to a full-colour rear view parking camera on the 4-inch display for the XLS or the 8-inch touch screen for XLT and Limited – the latter also featuring front parking sensors.

Load space is rated at 1 050 litres with the third-row seats folded, expanding to 2 010 litres with both second and third rows folded completely flat.

New to the Everest line-up is the refined and extremely capable 2.2-litre four-cylinder unit, which produces a maximum power output of 118kW at 3 700r/min, linked to a torque peak of 385Nm from 1 500 to 2 500r/min – thus ensuring impressive performance in all conditions.

The mighty 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel engine remains the range-topping choice, delivering 147kW and a massive 470Nm for superlative all-round performance.

Both versions are rated for a maximum towing capacity of 3 000kg, reinforcing the Everest’s exceptional all-round capabilities – particularly as a lifestyle vehicle.

 

PLUS +

Evelvated Ride height.

A good level of standard specification.

Rugged.

Do-all capabilities.

7 – Seater.

 

MINUS –

Build off Ranger’s platform making it feel bakkie-like vs. SUV orientated.

 

The competition

Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, KIA Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe and Land Rover Discovery Sport.

Pricing

Ford Everest 2.2 TDCi XLS 6MT 4X2 – R458 900

Ford Everest 2.2 TDCi XLS 6AT 4X2 –  R475 900

Ford Everest 2.2 TDCi XLS 6MT 4X4 – R536 900

Ford Everest 2.2 TDCi XLT 6MT 4X2 – R483 900

Ford Everest 2.2 TDCi XLT 6AT 4X2 –  R501 900

Ford Everest 3.2 TDCi XLT 6AT 4X2 –  R560 900

Ford Everest 3.2 TDCi XLT 6AT 4X4 –  R634 900

Ford Everest 3.2 TDCi LIMITED 6AT 4X4 – R698 900

 

Service and Warranty

All models come standard with Ford Protect, including a four-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, five-year/100 000km service plan, three-year/unlimited km roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty.

Service intervals are every 20 000km while 4x4 models include free 4x4 training.

 

My Choice

Ford Everest 2.2 TDCi XLS 6AT 4X2 – R475 900

www.ford.co.za

 

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