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For the 1st year Ford has had only the 3.2l Everest taking on the other major manufacturers of premium SUV’s. Seeing a gap in their range, they decided to put the ever-popular 2.2l diesel engine into the Everest and expand their range further.

Three new specification levels and eight separate derivatives are now available with the smaller engine size, and Ford has not held back on technology, shoehorning as much as they could into the new models as could be allowed, and pricing them accordingly.

Everest XLS

As the entry into the Everest range, the XLS offers more than you would expect from the base model. Available as a 4x2 manual or automatic or a 4x4 manual in the 2.2, the XLS offers the same trim levels that you will find in the XLS double cab. A cloth interior with Fords SYNC1 system, manual aircon and a new noise cancelling system make for a tidy entry into the model range.

Everest XLT

The mid-range offering in the XLT will see the interior trimmed out accordingly with leather seats, auto climate control, and SYNC 3 as standard. The XLT presents a good balance between affordability and luxury. Available as a 4x2 in manual or automatic, the XLT derivative has been set to take the fight to the other manufacturers.

Everest Limited

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Limited has been set to take on the likes of Chevrolet's Trailblazer and Toyota’s Prado. Kitted out with a long list of technology and luxury items, the Limited is the must-have.
It is still only supplied as a 3.2l with the well known 4x4.

Technology
 
The interiors of the Everest are equipped to suit their trim levels with comfort levels, well exceeding those found in the competitors. The addition of the noise cancelling system makes for an eerily quiet drive and at times you might find yourself turning down the volume of the entertainment system as it begins to seem too loud. The system works by cancelling out frequencies between 100 and 1000 Hertz.

Ford maintains that they have the only true seven-seater in the Everest, as the final row folds flat into the floor to maximize packing space.

Ford has now also introduced their SYNC 3 system and is fitted as standard in the XLT and Limited models while the XLS has SYNC 1 as standard.
The SYNC 3 system features an undated interface with new graphics but still remains extremely easy to use, while offering excellent playback through a 10-speaker audio system.

All three derivatives are fitted with a reverse camera with playback on the screens connected to the SYNC systems, while the Limited model gets front parking sensors fitted as standard.

Engine and Drivetrain

The locally-produced 2.2 Duratorq TDCi motor is shared with the Ford Ranger, and is now fitted to six-speed manual or six-speed Selectshift automatic.
The four-wheel drive system is Ford’s Terrain Management system that is controlled from inside the cabin by means of a rotary dial. Sand, Rock, Mud and Snow are all covered by the system that sends power to all four wheels continuously, and has high and low range to really tackle the toughest of terrains.

The 2.2 will deliver 118kW and 385Nm and you can expect realistic fuel consumption figures of 8.9l/100km on the combined cycle as we travelled across off-road terrain and freeway driving.

We found the 2.2l motor with the manual option to have excellent low down torque and it handled the off-road terrain very well. Switching over to the automatic version for the freeway driving left us a little cold, as the engine just did not seem to have enough for overtaking at freeway speed.

Verdict

The Everest has always been a rugged good-looking vehicle, and now being manufactured locally with a smaller engine, it is poised to take the fight for the consumers' cash to their opposition. For those who are expecting performance that you may have received from the likes of the Ranger with the same engine, you may be disappointed, as the Everest might just be a little overweight.

Although Everest might be a bit swollen, it hasn’t lost its shine, and with buyers counting their cents, having a good-looking vehicle packed with tech that has the right price tag, may just see Ford upsetting the podium of sales figures by the new year.

Published in News & Reviews

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