By Cari-Anne Jane
Ford’s latest Everest adds bad-ass looks to an already competent package.
Ford’s all-conquering Raptor really began the mine’s-lairier-than-yours trend in 4×4 one upmanship. Bigger, better, cooler, more individual – Raptor opened the floodgates of what manufacturers could do with their SUV and doublecabs. Cue the company’s Everest Sport, now a suitably hard-looking stablemate for the Ford Raptor and Thunder, attitude written all over it.
It’s all about the black
Sport, based on the Everest XLT specification (single turbo rather than the bi-turbo), gets myriad cosmetic enhancements to add impact. There are six colours available but the Agate Black is the one to go for, the pick of the options to enhance the Sport additions. That’s because the key exterior update is the lack of chromed anything, not the grille, not the skid plates, not the bonnet badging or even rims. It’s all black for the Everest Sport. A black honeycomb grille has replaced the usual horizontal-slatted grille, an improvement in our books. Gone are the silver roof rails, in their place – you guessed it – black roof rails, and there’s the new 3D Everest badging on the bonnet exclusive to the Sport model. Standard too, are black 20-inch wheels.
Inside it’s the same story – there’s Capital Blue contrast stitching throughout the spacious cabin and Sport decals to remind you of your chosen attitude. The dashboard is leather topped, adding a premium feel.
Under the skin
The Everest Sport is available either in 2WD or 4×4 guise, both powered by Ford’s popular and hard-working 2.0-litre 4-cylinder, single-turbo diesel producing 132kW and 420Nm, paired to Ford’s ridiculously good 10-speed auto gearbox. 340Nm of torque is available from as low as 1 250rpm, perfect for rock crawling.
Up through Swartberg Pass
So to that rock crawling. There’s nothing inherently new in the Sport’s base architecture, but a launch route through the Little Karoo gave us pause to remember how good Everest really is. The drive included the Swartberg Pass, beautiful and a mite tricky in the wet. No problem: Everest Sport 4×4 has an electronic locking rear-diff and Ford’s Terrain Management System, supported by Hill Descent Control. The on-the-fly switch control facilitates an easy transition between terrain options. We used sand mode as the day before it had been a little slippery from overnight rain. Easy-peasy. Not that it was needed, but wading depth for the Everest Sport remains at 800mm, ground clearance is 225mm, approach angle is 29.5-degrees, breakover is 21.5-degrees, and departure is 25-degrees.
Out on the national roads it’s easy to see why Everest has proved so popular. It’s quiet at speed, usefully responsive, comfortable even over the patchwork surfaces of the region’s barely tarred B-roads, and spacious. Seven seats means the family can come along, though the trailer may be needed (the towbar is a R4 300 extra) for the extra luggage.
That very cool connectivity
It’s worth mentioning Everest Sport’s SYNC®3 infotainment system here, which features a navigation system programmed with Tracks 4 Africa, that most useful of adventuring tools. The T4A maps are packed with info for the self-drive traveller, including where to eat, sleep, and the best alternative routes to get between places. Google, but way off-road. Other standard connectivity features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Two derivative options for the Everest Sport, either 2WD or 4×4, the only difference is one has the Terrain Manangement System and the other doesn’t.
The optional extras are limited to paying R1 260 for metallic paint, or R4 300 for a tow bar.
2.0 Single Turbo 10AT 4×2 R675 600
2.0 Single Turbo 10AT 4×4 R718 000
All Everest models come standard with Ford Protect, comprising a 4-year/120 000km comprehensive warranty, 3-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and 5-year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A six-year/90 000km service plan is included, with 15 000km service intervals.