The MH Motoring Minute: Ford Everest Limited 3.2 4WD
Review: 5 day test
Engine: 3.2 litre 5 cylinder turbodiesel
Power: 147kW, 470Nm
Price: R751 900
You gotta love an underdog. It’s not about pitying them – it’s just rooting for the contender who’s up against the odds. And when it comes to odds, the Fortuner is the safest bookie’s pick in this bakkie-based SUV market, as it has dominated it for years – and for good reason. It’s a tough, reliable family car which can handle some rough stuff and really shines during weekend adventures. But the good news? The Everest has put up a good fight. Could this be the motoring equivalent of David versus Goliath?
Visually, it starts off strong. It has a modern, clean aesthetic with American Ford flavour. It looks tough and rugged, which is vital for this market, and even though it is a big, masculine-looking car which hunkers down on the larger-than-normal wheels – it’s a little more sophisticated than its Japanese opponent. Inside, it’s more of the same; simple but smart materials and pared-down features. It’s still not as good as the German interiors, but it edges the Fortuner on the inside. It’s functional too, offering a third row of seats, and comes with plenty of safety, comfort, and entertainment tech.
Related: The MH Motoring Minute: BMW X5 M50d
On the road, it drives well – even though we were disappointed with both the soft steering and the slight lag on take-off, the overall impression is one of refinement and a decent ride quality. It’s relatively quiet, and combined with the comfortable cabin and the Active Noise Cancellation Tech, you’ll almost forget you are in a big, high-riding SUV. It can tow up to 3 tons (and has Trailer Sway Control as standard), and it is impressive off-road thanks to a high ground clearance (225mm), decent approach, departure angles and wading depth (800mm); and electrically locking rear diff and low range mode which works within the clever Terrain Control system.
So, to sum up, this is a competent, versatile SUV which offers plenty and has an impressive features list (rain-sensing wipers, heated seats, rear-view park camera, dual-zone, adaptive cruise control and whole lot more) – but the biggest obstacle to its success: the hefty price tag. You can get cheaper, but very compelling options from some of the other brands – see the competitors below.
PROS: Good looks; Seven seat practicality with power-folding rear seats and an auto boot and tailgate; Plenty of space and storage options; Handy off-road ability; long list of features.
CONS: Expensive; Soft, feedback-free steering; Automatic box comes with a slight lag; Thirsty.
WHAT WE LOVE: The Everest 3.2 limited edition offers high levels of versatility and practicality both on and off road – but the price tag lets it down.
COMPETITORS: Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD6 4WD (R542 400), Mitsubishi Pajero Sport 2.4 D4 4X4 AT (R629 995), Isuzu MU-X 3L 4WD (R638 600),