Ford seems to have pulled out all the stops in planning the handsome, powerful all-new Everest.
Text: Gerhard Horn
Ford has took the wraps off its all-new Everest a little while ago and the first thing you will notice is that the new model has been taken in a completely different direction as far as styling is concerned.
We were expecting the front of the Ranger to be welded onto an SUV body, but instead Ford has revealed a vehicle that looks quite different from the bakkie it is based on.
This is a bold move, but then again, you need courage if you are going to take on a dominant force such as the Toyota Fortuner.
There’s no denying that the new Ford Everest is a handsome vehicle. It looks very American, which means it has presence. It’s aggressive and slightly ostentatious, but it falls just short of being offensive.
We like the new design very much, but a handsome body simply won’t be enough to draw people away from the Fortuner. In order to do that, Ford has 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 off, Ford seems – on paper at least – to have managed to trump the Fortuner in every other department.
Take the interior, for example. Compared to the current Everest, it’s a giant leap forward. The cabin looks decidedly premium and will feature 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 a cavernous 2010 litres of space.
Caravan enthusiasts will 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 is likely to get all three. The single petrol engine is a 2,0-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder unit. Ford has yet to reveal details about the power output, but based on the figures from other products 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 either, so these familiar engines may 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 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 of 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 the segment. This system allows the driver to select one of four driving modes, which adapt the vehicle for whatever obstacle presents itself. The modes are 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, and there are 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 of 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 the second half of 2015.