AS Ford aims to go upscale with its seven-seat offering, the new Everest is no longer priced or positioned to compete with the Toyota Fortuner.
Recently, I was able to try the Everest in its Wildtrak incarnation.
The most recent iteration of the Everest is a handsome SUV that turns heads everywhere it travels, especially in Wildtrak trim and the eye-catching luxe yellow colour. Those, who lead busy lives, or those who like the appearance of the Wildtrak bakkie but prefer the SUV dimensions and practical concerns of the Everest, are the target audience.
The Wildtrak is the more rugged variant of the Everest, so it comes equipped with features like a 400-Watt inverter that can power larger devices, LED headlights and taillights, ambient lighting, and an electrically operated tailgate, as well as black leather seats with contrasting orange stitching.
Additionally, there are semi-autonomous driving aids like as Active Park 2.0, adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, pre-collision assist, forward collision warning, and a blind spot monitor. Similar to the last Everest I drove, this one had very noticeable rattles coming from the dashboard and the region around the big infotainment screen, suggesting poor interior fit and finish.
An optional 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster and a 12.0-inch centre screen run on the SYNC4 operating system, making the Infotainment system among the best in its class. FordPass is an app that gives you remote access to different facts about your car, including a 360-degree surround view camera and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto features.
From a functional standpoint, seven people can sit comfortably over three rows in the Everest, with the third row being ideal for those who are shorter.
The trunk has a capacity of 259 litres with all seats in their upright positions, 898 litres with the third row folded down, and 1 818 litres with the second and third rows folded down.
The device can pull 3 500 kilogrammes when braked, has a ground clearance of 220 millimetres, and can wade 800 millimetres deep.
The Ford Everest Wildtrak is powered by a 3-litre V6 turbodiesel engine, which generates 184kW of power and 600Nm of torque. The engine is paired with the company's standard 10-speed automatic transmission, which distributes power and torque to all four wheels at all times.
Choose from eco, normal, tow/haul, slippery, mud and ruts, and sand as your driving mode.
Despite the fact that my car is equipped with several off-road features, it rides on 20-inch wheels and tyres; nevertheless, 18-inch items with all-terrain rubber are also available for individuals, who value practicality and efficiency above flash.
The current generation of the Everest has fantastically tuned ride and handling, with a smooth ride quality that complements the seamless progress provided by the torquey V6 engine up front.
Even while you feel its massive weight and it does not turn or stop very well, the suspension and engine work in perfect harmony to make driving a giant SUV a pleasant experience.
A symptom of the sector, where vehicles are becoming larger with each generation, I found it cumbersome in daily use; nonetheless, it commands respect on the highway and is a blast to chew through miles in!
With scores of 86% for adult occupant safety, 93% for child occupant safety, 74% for pedestrian safety, and 86% for its safety assistance systems, the Everest series received a 5-Star certification from the ANCAP programme after undergoing crash testing in 2022.
Ford claims that the Wildtrak will use 8.5 litres of diesel per hundred kilometers, but in my short week with the model, I averaged 12.0 litres.
This is quite a bit more fuel consumption than I have seen in rivals like the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado and the Hyundai Santa Fe, which are admittedly less powerful.
At the time of publication, the Wildtrak trim of the Everest cost roughly US$8 000, making it costlier than the Toyota Fortuner by around US$500.
Now that it is moved down a price tier, the Everest is competitive with South Korean SUVs that are less competent but just as practical as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.
Despite a few annoying rattles and squeaks, the new Everest is an impressive product that has gained even wider appeal thanks to its availability in Wildtrak trim.
It is an excellent choice for families in the market for a spacious, well-equipped SUV, and it is a must-drive if you are in the market for a vehicle in this class.
CO2 emissions (average): 224 g/km
Cylinder layout and quantity: V6
Drive Type: 4XD
Engine capacity (litre): 3L
Engine detail: 3.0 turbo diesel
Fuel capacity: 76
Fuel Efficiency: 8.5L / 100km
Fuel range (average): 894 km
Fuel type: Diesel
Power maximum (detail): 184 kW
Safety: 5 Star (2022)
Torque maximum: 600 Nm