Looking for a tough and versatile overlander that can tackle anything you throw at it? The Ford Everest is a great all-rounder that’s competitively priced.
The SUV market is incredibly competitive, but with the 2.2-litre XLS Everest, Ford has created a vehicle that stands out from the crowd. Eschewing the current trend of SUVs that are well equipped but quite soft (often not even offering 4WD), the 2.2 XLS Everest is a basic but tough-as-nails 4×4. It is equipped with a 2.2-litre oilburner that develops 118kW of power and 385Nm of torque. These figures aren’t particularly impressive, sure, but the Everest isn’t built for straight-line performance. Instead, it is all about ruggedness and dependability. The engine feels bulletproof, as if it would survive a trip from Cape Town to Cairo. Peak torque also kicks in nice and low on the rev range (1 500r/min), which makes it feel more eager than the figures suggest, and provides great low-down grunt in an off-road environment.
Indeed, the off-road ability of the 2.2 XLS is one of its key selling points. Unlike the majority of SUVs these days, it can do 4×4. It’s got four-wheel drive, low-range gearing and a rear diff lock. It’s mated to a manual gearbox, which is something of a rarity these days, but gives you more control when dealing with tricky obstacles. It also has a terrain management system that boasts four driving modes: Normal, Mud, Sand and Rock Crawl. These modes are easily selected via a convenient rotary dial adjacent to the gear lever. It adapts throttle response, the intelligent four-wheel-drive system and traction control, to confidently tackle any terrain. Ground clearance is 225mm and wading depth is 800mm. Connecting the vehicle to the surface beneath are 17-inch rims shod with fairly chunky 265/65 R17 tyres (18-inch rims on the XLT).
If you want a 2.2-litre 4×4 Everest, you have no option but to opt for the XLS derivative. If you want one that’s a bit higher-spec and has an auto box, you can opt for the XLT, but this model is not available in 4×4. XLT spec definitely adds some nice-to-haves, specifically Ford’s excellent SYNC3 integrated communications and entertainment system with 10 speakers and USB ports for multimedia connectivity. The 4×4 XLS derivative has to make do with the SYNC1 system, which is simpler, but still offers Bluetooth with Voice Activation, plus mobile and multimedia device integration. The XLS is not as fancy as the XLT or Limited models, but one could hardly describe it as short on features. It has everything you could reasonably need, but still feels unfussy and practical; perfect for serious overlanding.
We didn’t do any serious off-roading during this journey, but the Everest 2.2 XLS still felt well suited to the trip. It is comfortable and quiet enough on tar, and there’s no reason to panic when you encounter a bad gravel road. Chances are, this bakkie-based SUV (it is based on the underpinnings of the Ranger) can handle any scenario you encounter. The 3.2 Limited version of the Everest is a great vehicle that boasts technology you wouldn’t expect to find outside a luxury SUV (such as Ford’s active noise cancellation technology that keeps the cabin whisper-quiet), but you pay for all that kit. At R537 900, the 2.2 XLS is great value for money. Searching for a new overlander that’s easy to live with on a daily basis? This SUV is worth a look.
Open-road rating 8 out of 10.
The good Tough and versatile. Competitively priced.
The bad A bit more power and refinement would be nice.
Specifications – Ford Everest 2.2 Xls 4wd M/T
Engine 2.2-Litre Turbodiesel
Power 118kw @ 3 700r/Min
Torque 385nm @ 1 500r/Min
Transmission Six-Speed Manual
4wd System Part-Time 4wd, Low Range, Diff Lock
Fuel Tank 80 Litres
Fuel Consumption 7.1 Litres Per 100km (Claimed)
Tyre Size 265/65 R17
Spare Yes (Full-Size)
Luggage Space Not Stated
Price R537 900