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Sunday / 23 June 2024
HomeFeaturesNext-gen Ford Everest Sport Review – A comfortable city car and capable off-roader

Next-gen Ford Everest Sport Review – A comfortable city car and capable off-roader

South Africans love to have their cake and eat it. We love our bakkies and the appeal of the outdoors yet we are just as likely to want an eye-catching model that won’t look out of place when parked outside the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town or a five-star hotel in Sandton.

Having spent some time behind one of the blue oval’s latest creations, I think I can say that the new Ford Everest may just be the happy middle ground many are looking for.

In the city

Let’s start by addressing the elephant, I mean Everest, in the room. It’s a big car – measuring 4.9 metres in length, 2.2 metres in width, and 1.8 metres in height.

With dimensions like those you likely already have an idea of what it’s like to take it around town, but while the Everest is certainly not the easiest car to navigate tight spaces with, I was nonetheless impressed with how it behaved.

Starting with the worst – the sheer height and width of the SUV made it a mighty task to reach for tickets when arriving at a car park.

When it comes to parking the behemoth, the length also proved too much for many of the smaller parking bays I came across, leading to the rear noticeably sticking even when the face was practically kissing the concrete in front.

On that note, the Sport does come with front parking sensors, which are greatly appreciated, but the absence of a front camera was missed owing to how the large and angular bonnet can make it difficult to see what’s right in front.

But that’s where the major complaints end with regard to city life, as the Everest otherwise handled itself with a surprising amount of grace for the size that it is.

It’s no ballerina, but the turning circle is workable, the steering is light, and the engine and gearbox are appreciably smooth when crawling through heavy traffic.

The story gets even better on the highway, as the Sport is equipped with cruise control, blind spot monitors, speed limiter, and a lane-keep assist which you can adjust the intensity of – all of which made for effortless driving out on the open road.

Regarding fuel consumption, I averaged a thirsty 12.0l/100km, though in its defense a significant chunk of time was spent in atrocious Gauteng traffic conditions – a combination of rush hour, load shedding, flooding, and sinkholes that had closed off many roads.

Off the beaten path

If you’ve had the opportunity to drive the new Ranger recently then you’ll know what you’ll get from the Everest, as the bakkie and SUV share the same architecture. This means you can expect a well-kitted off-roader with an engine that’s more than up to any task you give it.

While the V6 seen on the Everest Platinum and Ranger Wildtrak may steal the spotlight, the 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel found on the Sport is still a fantastic powerplant, with a rated output of 154kW and 500Nm.

That’s a generous amount of power to be sure, but the Sport won’t blow you away out on the N1. Instead, it’s when you abandon the tarmac that those figures really come to the forefront.

A dial on the centre console lets you switch between high-range 2×4 and 4×4 settings on the fly, though you will need to stop and put the car in neutral before changing to the low-range 4×4.

Doing so will also bring up a selection screen on the digital driver display, letting you pick various driving modes and terrain responses for things like mud, sand, and slippery surfaces.

Selecting one of the off-road-oriented settings then changes what’s shown on both the infotainment and drivers’ screens, letting you keep track of things like the car’s tilt angles while also giving the option to lock the rear differential or engage the hill descent control.

You can also put the 10-speed automatic transmission into a manual mode for greater control, though it feels a bit clunky to change gears using the small button on the right side of the gearstick using your left thumb.

All of these features, combined with a ground clearance of 229mm and a wheelbase of 2,900mm, meant that going tearing through the mud in the Everest was much the same as it was in the Ranger – that is to say, without a hitch.

An interior for all seasons

The interior may well be the single most-improved aspect of Ford’s new model, as the cabin now has a premium look and feel to it that matches the rest of the vehicle’s refreshed look.

The centrepiece is of course the new vertical tablet-style infotainment screen running the brand’s latest Sync 4 operating system – which has a clean aesthetic, is easy-to-use, and has on-board navigation that works as well as anything you can expect from using Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.

You’ll still want to connect your phone, though, if only to take advantage of the excellent sound system, and Ford has also thankfully kept a set of physical dials for adjusting the climate control and didn’t fall into the trap of over digitalisation.

The cabin itself features lots of soft-textured surfaces, and the electric front seats in artificial leather are both comfortable and stylish with their Sport insignias.

The Everest is also a seven seater, but as is usually the case, they offer limited space and will be comfortable for children and maybe young teens. If they are not in use, the rear bench folds neatly into the floorboards and opens up a generous 898 litres of boot space.

Verdict

It’s hard to talk about the Everest without bringing up the price, as the new car is significantly more expensive than the old one with the Sport now retailing for close to R1 million.

It’s a big jump – one that has raised the benchmark as to what the car needs to do to be competitive at this price point – but I would say the new Ford reaches this milestone and then some.

The 2.0-litre powertrain delivers, the interior is a big step-up over its predecessor, and it’s a great-looking car to boot – one that had people coming over to ask me if they could take a closer look.

The end result is an SUV that I was equally happy with taking into the heart of Sandton as I was taking it through the mud in the middle of nowhere, and if that doesn’t sound like a South African’s car, I don’t know what does.


Ford Everest Sport


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