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New SA-bound Ford Everest tested in Botswana - new engines, enhanced tech

2019-07-05 09:16

Lance Branquinho

ford everest

Image: Quickpic

Ford has introduced the latest version of its Ranger-based SUV, the Everest, to South Africa. The large seven-seater SUV gains a similar portfolio of styling, equipment and specification upgrades which were introduced to Ford’s Ranger bakkie line-up little more than a month ago. 

What’s new in terms of design?

Distinguishing the new Everest is its bold three-bar grille and front bumper design. The largest wheel option remains 20" but the design now features ten-spokes. Everest’s colour palette has also been enhanced with an addition diffused silver finish, whilst the rim colours have been made a shade dimmer too.

Inside the darkened design theme continues, with touch surfaces and fascia trim a touch smokier then the pre-upgrade vehicles. A benefit of this darker cabin design is less ambient light reflection and glare off all plastic surfaces, if you are driving at a front-lit angle to the sun. 

ford everest

                                                            Image: Quickpic

Ford has championed on-trend Smartphone infotainment convergence with its bakkies and SUVs and the latest Everest features seamless Sync convergence. 

Active safety specification is comprehensive too, especially on the Limited derivative Everest. Cruise control is fully adaptive and also has integrated forward collision alert, which recognises pedestrians in the road. For those who get nervous when having to park a large SUV, semi-automatic parallel park assistance will be very useful when happening upon a small parking space, considering the Everest is nearly 5m in length. 

Is there still a 3.2?

Engines are the most notable aspect of Ford’s Everest upgrade, with the option of four different powerplants. Anchoring the range are single- and bi-turbo versions of Ford’s latest 2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine architecture. These engines produce 132kW and 420Nm when boosted by single turbine, and 157kW and 500Nm when powered-up by two turbochargers running in sequence. 

Extracting the best possible driveability and performance from Ford’s new 2-litre engines is a ten-speed transmission, which lowers fuel-consumption and increases throttle response. Everest followers who believe that there is no replacement-for-displacement still have option on the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbodiesel, paired with a six-speed automatic and selectable four-wheel drive.

ford everest

                                                              Image: Quickpic

Ford is also continuing to offer the 2.2-litre turbodiesel, boosting 118kW and 380Nm, as an affordable entry-level offering with new Everest, positioned just below the R500 000 price ceiling. 

There are only automatic transmissions available with new Everest and tow-ratings vary by only 100kg, depending on which engine and transmission combination you choose. All Everest models are rated for 3t of towing capacity, with the bi-turbo 2-litre engines upping that to 3.1t. 

Ten gears make a lot of sense – twenty even more so

Ford allowed us three days of all-terrain driving in Botswana, to evaluate the upgraded Everest and all the distance was covered in vehicles powered by the 2-litre bi-turbo engine. The ten-speed automatic transmission might sound needlessly complex but it is wonderfully intuitive in operation. Overtaking acceleration is impressive.

With a surplus of gears most overtaking is accomplished in seventh, with 500Nm enabling low-anxiety passing of heavy transport. Contrast that with the fact that Everest’s primary rival, Toyota’s Fortuner, only has six-gears – and you begin to understand how the flexibility of Ford’s ten-speed transmission is a noteworthy advantage. 

Another benefit of Ford’s ten-speed transmission is that on the four-wheel drive models it effectively has twenty-forward gears. That gives you more gradient climbing and terrain-conquering ratios than any other off-road vehicle on sale in South Africa at the moment. On punishing gravel roads, of which Botswana has plenty, the suspension upgrades applied to new Everest were obvious.

ford everest

                                                              Image: Quickpic

The front anti-roll bar has been reconfigured to allow for greater lateral rigidity, which in turn enabled Ford’s engineers to soften the vertical damper rates. What does that mean? More straight-line tracking stability and improved pothole-strike survivability. As a competitor comparison the Everest bi-turbo is a lot more powerful and has greater in-gear flexibility than Toyota’s Fortuner.

It also has 10mm greater ground clearance, but you sacrifice two-degree of approach angle. With a blend of proven 2.2- and 3.2-litre engines, joined by sophisticated new 2-litre options, Ford has an Everest range which offers customers a true seven-seater African all-terrain touring vehicle solution, in nearly any configuration they would require. 

2.2 TDCi XLS 6AT 4x2 R499 9002.0

SiT XLT 10AT 4x2 R584 900

2.0 BiT XLT 10AT 4x2 R624 100

3.2 TDCi XLT 6AT 4x4 R644 000

2.0 BiT XLT 10AT 4x4 R687 700

2.0 BiT Limited 10AT 4x4 R761 200

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