Ford has finally taken the wraps off its all-new Everest and the first thing you’ll undoubtedly notice is that Ford has taken the new model in a completely different direction as far as styling is concerned.
We were expecting the front of the Ranger welded to an SUV body, but instead Ford revealed a vehicle that looks completely different than the bakkie it’s based on. It’s a bold move, but then again, bold moves are needed if you’re going to take on a dominant force like the Toyota Fortuner.
There’s no denying that the new Everest is a handsome vehicle. It looks very American, which means it has presence. It’s aggressive, slightly ostentatious, but falls just short of being offensive. We like the new design very, very much.
But a handsome body simply isn’t enough to draw people away from the Fortuner. In order to do that, Ford has had to ensure that it betters the Fortuner in every conceivable way, including power, economy, space, luxury, safety, off-road ability and price.
While details on the pricing are still a long way away, Ford seems to have, on paper at least, managed to better the Fortuner in every other department.
Take the interior for example. Compared to the current Everest, it’s a giant leap forward. The interior looks decidedly premium and will play host to Ford’s latest safety and infotainment gadgets. These include an upgraded version of the well-known SYNC system, an eight-inch touch-screen interface, Bluetooth connectivity and two USB ports.
As before, the Everest is a seven-seater, but the second and third row seats can be folded down to provide cavernous 2010 litres of space. Caravan enthusiasts and the like will also be happy to hear that the new Everest comes with a maximum tow rating of 3000kg, while an additional 100kg can be stowed on the roof.
Three engine options will be available and SA will likely receive all three.
The single petrol option is a 2,0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder unit. Ford has not revealed the details surrounding this engine’s power output yet, but based on the figures from other products in Ford’s line-up that make use this engine, it could produce up to 180kW and 350Nm of torque.
The two diesel options will be familiar to local Ford fans, as both have been serving in the Ranger since its launch two years ago.
The 2,2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel develops 110kW and 375Nm of torque, while the 3,2-litre five-cylinder turbocharged powertrain pushes out an impressive 147kW and 470Nm of torque. It’s worth mentioning that Ford did not supply power output details for the diesel models as well, so these familiar engines might even be slightly more powerful in the Everest.
Depending on which engine you go for, the Everest will be available with either a six-speed manual, or six-speed automatic gearbox.
As far as 4×4 ability is concerned, the new Everest will undoubtedly be setting a new standard in its segment. Ford claims a class-leading ground-clearance of 225mm and a wading depth of 800mm. Couple this to an approach angle of 29 degrees and a departure angle rated at 25 degrees and you’ve got yourself a seriously competent machine.
To ensure that owners make the most of the Everest’s impressive mechanicals, Ford has gone the Land Rover route and included what it calls a Terrain Management System, which is a first in this particular segment. This system allows the driver to select between one of four driving modes, which adapts the vehicle for whatever obstacle the driver is facing. The selectable modes include normal, snow/gravel/grass, sand and rock. The Everest’s off-road arsenal also includes hill ascent and descent control.
Another first for the segment is the adaptive cruise control, as well as the blind spot and cross traffic monitoring systems. These features, in addition to a number of airbags and all the obligatory active safety systems should ensure the Everest a class-leader badge in the safety department.
SA will be one of the first countries to receive the all-new Everest, along with China, New Zealand and India.
It’s scheduled to make its local debut in 2015.