Impressive Everest a compelling alternative
Before we even bother about anything else, let’s get down to brass tacks. Ford has just completely rejuvenated its Everest SUV by adding this new 2-litre biturbodiesel engine and a state of the art new ten-speed automatic gearbox along with a whole lot of other under the skin enhancements.
The new SA-built engine packs a variable-vane high-pressure turbocharger along with a fixed low-pressure unit, which work together to deliver a broad wedge of output right across the range. The smaller turbo pumps harder at lower revs, building a Table Mountain curve from idle and on to lower engine speeds, by when the bigger snail is all spooled up to boost the relatively small capacity 2-litre lump all the way to the top end of its power delivery, all accompanied by a mellow and friendly mechanical thrum.
Now add Ford's new ten-speed autobox, which uses its broader spread of ratios and you have a creamy dollop of power quite literally right across the power band – wherever you need it, all the way from idle to limiter. That box packs many a trick, including real-time adaptive shift-scheduling to pick the optimal gear, whatever the demands and the ability to short-shift up and skip gears down the box.
So floor it and as that stout biturbo lump pulls hard, the autobox skips a few cogs down to precisely the right ratio for quickest acceleration to sit you back in your seat. In normal driving, it seamlessly engages the right gear for your current speed and throttle position too, secretly dropping a cog or two as the incline increases against you. Then it will quietly shift back up as the road levels or drops away, always in absolutely effortless comfort.
Everest is now much quicker thanks to this new get-up, rushing to 100km/h in just nine and a half seconds. That’s two whole seconds quicker than the old 3.2 six-hooker down our test strip by the way, never mind a good second and a half quicker and 8km/h faster quarter mile, and significantly improved overtaking acceleration too!
But that’s not all!
But that’s not all – on the open road, the new 2-litre sips in the sevens per hundred, where I know the old 3.2 would struggle to find the nines. But it’s the manner in which the biturbodiesel and ten-speed autobox bring an effortless, sophisticated and contemporary executive saloon simplicity to driving this SUV, that really makes the difference.
The enhanced Everest also brings significantly improved ride quality courtesy of a raft of chassis and suspension tweaks to make it even better both on and off the beaten track. Steering may feel a tad tight on the open road, but you soon put that in the back of your mind as habit takes over and Everest’s car-like handling comes to the fore – ride and feel is quiet and plush enough.
A newfound suppleness of ride comes to the fore on dirt roads and the new 10-speed box is armed with a low range, aided and abetted by a rear diff lock and throttle and brake responsive hill descent control to make for absolutely effortless 4x4 crawling. This Ford boasts an impressively tight turning circle for so large a SUV too.
Of course Everest continues to deliver levels of tech expected from an exec SUV, from HID LED daytime headlamps to Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision and Lane-Keeping Alerts, Auto High Beam. Add comprehensive Electronic Stability Control with Traction, Trailer Sway, Hill Descent and Adaptive Load Controls; Hill Start Assist and Roll Over Mitigation. Add Passive Entry and Start, a Category 1 alarm and even a spare wheel lock.
Everest’s still smart, upmarket and comfortable cockpit gains Ford’s latest SYNC infotainment tech that now adds gesture, voice or touch control for its Apple CarPlay Android Auto, Waze traffic and navigation, Bluetooth and USB, while Semi-Automatic Parallel Park Assist allows the big Ford to easily park itself.
All in all, the Ford Everest may indeed be coming long in the tooth as far as its lifecycle goes, but its good looks and aesthetics, comfort and all those little aspects that age may have an affect on, are still pretty sharp. This latest upgrade, a splendid new engine mated so well to a great gearbox and all the other fettling are however indeed a quantum shift forward.
A shift across
That’s a pretty good thing in this tough market. People are buying down more and more these days and this enhanced Everest opens a most interesting new door for Ford. It offers existing luxury brand SUV owners a most compelling opportunity to simply step sideways in brand, while still buying down on price… - Michele Lupini
Images - Michele Lupini
ROAD TESTED: Ford Everest 2.0Bi-Turbo 4WD XLT
Engine: 157kW 500Nm 2-litre biturbodiesel I4
Drive: 10-speed automatic 4x4
0-60km/h: 4.09 sec
0-100km/h: 9.63 sec
0-160km/h: 27.24 sec
400m: 16.8 sec @ 131 km/h
80-120km/h: 7.31 sec
120-160km/h: 13.44 sec
VMax: 190 km/h
Warranty/Service: 4y 120K/6y 90Kkm
LIST PRICE: R701K
Auto Bakkie Race has revised its Road Test Rating System to deliver a more versatile 1-10 score. Over the past few years, very few cars tested ever achieve less than 75% in our previous scoring system and hardly any more than 95%. The new ABR Rating works in a 1 to 10 basis, where 1 represents a traditional score of 75% or less and 10 is 95% or more.
Auto Bakkie Race road tests all cars using state of the art Racelogic VBox test equipment, both at coastal altitude or at the Reef. All cars are tested starting at the same point on the same test road in all tests. Reef tests are differentiated by (1500m ASL). Where we have tested both sides, both sets of figures are published. Coastal acceleration data most often delivers quicker results due to the higher oxygen content of air at lower altitudes.