Ford Everest 2010


DO35_WR17_Everest_7

In answer to the Toyota Fortuner’s dominance of the SUV market, Ford recently released the new-ish Everest. Nadine Thomson asks if this new arrival has what it takes to level the playing field.

Six years after its overseas launch, the Everest has now been introduced locally as Ford’s premium SUV to fill the shoes of the discontinued Ford Territory.
Just like its direct competitor, the Fortuner, and more recently the Pajero Sport, the Everest essentially is a SUV built on a bakkie chassis.

Because it’s not nearly as good looking as its predecessor (or its opposition), the Everest is certainly not going to be turning any heads in a Sandton parking lot. But with the Ford Ranger’s proven off-road track record in its genes, it’s off to a good start at least.

Let’s look at how the Everest stacks up against the Fortuner and Pajero Sport:

  • Like the Pajero Sport, the Everest is only available in diesel, while the Fortuner is available in diesel and petrol;
  • The Everest has a 71-litre fuel tank, less than the Fortuner’s 80-litre and slightly more than the Pajero Sport’s 70-litre;
  • The Everest puts out 115 kW and 380 Nm.
    That’s less power than the Pajero Sport 3.2 Di-D and the Fortuner 3.0 D-4D’s 120 kW, but more torque than the Pajero Sport as well as the Fortuner’s 343 Nm;
  • While the Fortuner and the Pajero Sport have sedan-like suspension, the Everest still has rear leaf springs;
  • The Everest comes standard with a limited-slip diff, the Pajero Sport with a rear diff lock and lockable centre diff, and the Fortuner with a rear diff lock and lockable limited-slip centre diff. Low-range is standard on all;
  • The Fortuner and Everest are available in a manual and automatic; the Pajero Sport in automatic only; 
  • Each comes standard with ABS and EBD (electronic brake force distribution). The Fortuner also offers vehicle stability control, while the Everest offers a load-sensing proportioning valve that redistributes braking power according to load.

Braai fact:
The Everest was first launched in Thailand in March 2003 and is widely sold in Asia and Central America – even the Bahamas. In India it is sold as the Ford Endeavour.


Ford says…

Engine:
3.0 diesel with intercooler and turbo
Gearbox:
5-speed manual or automatic
Power:
115 kW @ 3 200 rpm
Torque:
380 Nm @ 1 800 rpm
Suspension:
Front: independent double wishbone with stabiliser and torsion bar; Back: leaf springs with stabiliser bars
Brakes:
Disc brakes front; brake drums rear
Ground clearance: 21 cm
Approach angle: 32º
Departure angle: 26º
Fuel tank: 71 litres
Fuel consumption:
Not available
Warranty/service plan:
4 year / 120 000 km (W);
5 year / 90 000 km (SP)
Service interval: 10 000 km
Models:
4×2 XLT (manual);
4×4 XLT (manual);
4×4 LTD (auto)
Price:
R324 990; R364 990; R382 990
What do I get?
Low-range, limited-slip diff, air-con, electric windows, remote central locking, power steering, leather upholstery, front and passenger airbags, radio-CD

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

  • It bears little resemblance to Ford’s very funky current portfolio – the designers probably fell asleep at the wheel.
  • Yes, it will create a small stir in your neighbourhood, but it’s a tad overpriced.

ON THE INSIDE

Comfort and space:
The beige leather cabin offers no frills to speak of and the sparse and plasticky interior may be a little too stingy for the price range.
On the back seats:
This seven seater with three rows of seats offers 10% more legroom than its competitors.
Child-friendly:
Well, there is nothing to break, but that said, beige and dirty fingers do not good bed-fellows make.
Load bay:
Ford claims that the Everest benefits from the “widest and tallest cargo area in its class”. The second row of seats folds away with a simple system, and the third row can be removed entirely, leaving a maximum 1 433 litres of loading space.
Safety:
Dual front- and side-impact airbags for the driver and front passenger
Built to last or not: In its simplicity, it will be tough to break.

ON THE ROAD

Driver position:
With no electronic wizardry, it takes a while to find the ideal seating position. However, seat comfort and support is good.
Road noise:
You certainly won’t miss the latest rugby score on the radio, if that’s what you’re worried about.
Road holding:
As it uses a Ranger chassis with Ranger rear leaf-spring suspension, it means you’re driving a top-heavy bakkie. And like most bakkies, if you load her up, the ride becomes substantially more stable.
There’s a fair degree of play on the steering, with a dead spot of around an inch and a half from centre.
In the city:
It’s nippier than you would expect from a vehicle this size.
Although the auto gearbox should have been preferential, the ratios proved a little short, leaving the gearbox continuously shifting between gears.
The manual proved smoother, more precise and far more enjoyable to drive.
On the open road:
Once at cruising speed, all is good with the world.
Electric windows, front and rear air-con, and numerous stowage compartments mean you should handle the long haul with great ease.
Gear change:
The auto and manual have a standard five-speed gearbox. The autobox’s ratios are a little short, but the manual is smoother and more precise.
Performance:
The TDCi engine is not the most refined powerplant yet, but it’s a proven and reliable choice.
A little flat up to just over 2 000 rpm, but once it’s in its power band, you should have no problem overtaking.
Brakes:
The brakes feel good, solid and reassuringly responsive, even with drums
at the back.


OFF-ROAD

This is what you get:
The 4×4 models come with low-range and a limited-slip diff.
On the auto, off-road mode is selected with an electronic engagement button with three settings: 2H, 4H and 4L.
The electronic shift-on-the-fly system allows you to shift from 2WD to 4WD at driving speeds of up to 100 km/h.
On the manual the off-road mode is selected by a second gear-lever – and yes, it works in the same old trusted way as your dad’s Ford bakkie did.
How does it fare on …
We didn’t have much opportunity to test the vehicle’s off-road capabilities, but if the Ranger is anything to go by, it should be competent.

  • Dirt: Comfortable and well-composed 
  • Sand: Sorry, never got to try it.
  • Rock: Reasonable ground clearance paired with an extremely torquey engine makes light work of all the tricky bits.

ong>Van Zyl’s Pass or not?
If you are experienced and you take it slow it may do it, but it would benefit from a rear diff lock.

HOW PRACTICAL

This works:
•    The back cargo door opens sideways and it comes loaded with an easily accessible full-sized spare wheel

But this grates:

•    The handbrake is one of those old-school pull-and-turn jobs next to the steering column. A conventional handbrake next to the gear lever would’ve been easier to use on hill starts.


VALUE FOR MONEY

THE WOW! FACTOR

We like …
•    Ford’s tried and trusted 3.0 TDCi diesel engine
•    With so little electronics, there’s not much left that can go wrong.
•    The fold-down, totally removable third row seats (pictured)

Yes, but …
•    Leaf springs + drum brakes = very old school for a “new” SUV
•    The 70-litre fuel tank is a little limited for any serious long-distance travel.
•    The plasticky and unwelcoming cabin (pictured)

Main competitors
•    Toyota Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4×4 (manual): R394 600
•    Pajero Sport 3.2 Di-D GLS: R414 000

Drive Out says: The Ford Everest is an honest, no-frills SUV that’s a little overpriced for what it offers.


Originally published in DO #35 | Feb-March 2010