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Juliet McGuire

New Everest makes a bold move

The new Ford Everest is not what you know it to be. Sure, it still retains its capability and practicality, but other than that, it is different in every way. Especially if you consider its hefty price tag. But the company will tell you that it is no longer here to take on the likes of the Toyota Fortuner, but rather its fancier sibling, the Prado. Bold move, right? Let me take you through it, shall I?

LET’S DELVE INTO THE NEW EVEREST

Before we look forward, let’s take a sneak peak at the past. It was in 2009 that we saw the first generation Everest. In 2015, the second generation made its debut with the 2.0 Bi-Turbo and 10-speed auto making an entrance in 2019. In 2021 the Everest Sport was launched and became so popular that it became a standard derivative offering. But now, the big and beastly third generation has landed on South Africa soil and I could not be more excited.

It is the best looking Everest by a country mile. The local launch took place in Mpumalanga and as we entered the Kruger National Park, it must have looked like the Kardashians were arriving. Or even a presidential entourage. I looked back at the Everests in convoy and it was a sight to behold. Wait, let me show you. I stuck half of my body out of the sunroof and risked being eaten by a lion to take these pics for you.

WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT?

Let’s not beat around the bush here (yoh, great pun!). The new Everest offers more comfort and more features than ever before. Speaking of comfort, I was a little let down by the seats. They are not as comfy as I would have liked them to be. I tried to have a nap at one point (which is always my gauge for road trip comfort), but couldn’t get comfortable (this could also be blamed on my colleague’s driving though). But back to what’s new in the zoo.

The big news is probably that of the beastly V6 now on offer. Customers will be able to choose between the Sport, which has the 2.0-litre Bi-turbo powering it (154 kW/500 Nm), or the Platinum, which boasts a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel (184 kW/600 Nm) under the bonnet. Both engines are mated to the 10-speed auto. The V6 is everything you want for Everest. Power delivery is smooth, it is refined, it is punchy, it is beastly. It doesn’t exactly throw your head back when you put your foot flat, but it is no slouch! Bearing in mind this is one heavy bugger. Nonetheless, overtaking is effortless. It just feels like a different car overall. It no longer simmers with that bakkie feel (something the Fortuner really needs to kick). It is certainly more premium.

There was a bit of wind noise that whistled through the cabin when we were at highway speeds, and it would annoy the hell out of me, but overall, the cabin is pretty well insulated from any tyre or road and engine noise. Drown out the wind noise with some good music and away you go.

LEADING THE PACK

The interior of this third generation Everest is like nothing else in its segment. It is super modern! It has a huge 12-inch portrait-orientated touchscreen dominating the cabin with the latest Ford SYNC4 system which is all kinds of comprehensive. So much so that it can feel somewhat overwhelming. But once you’ve got the hang of it, it will be a breeze to operate…even if I wish we still had traditional buttons and would do away with touchscreens altogether, buuuut that’s just me.

The Platinum model is jam-packed with standard features. On top of what the Sport model offers, it boasts wireless charging, a 12.4-inch digital instrument cluster (the Sport has an eight-inch), heated/ventilated 10-way adjustable front seats with memory function, second row seat heating, power outlets for all three rows, and a 360-degree camera.

PRICING OF THE NEW EVEREST

Everest Sport 2.0L BiT 4WD 10AT                R965 400
Everest Platinum 3.0L V6 AWD 10AT           R1 113 100

A four-year/120 000km warranty, four-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty come standard. Service plan is optional.

It’s quite a risky to move the goal posts on a car that has seen such success as the Everest. Especially when you consider that customers are going to compare it to its arch nemesis, the Fortuner, because this is what has always been done. And then when you consider that the current top of the range Fortuner comes in at around R871 000, customers might not be able to wrap their heads around the price tag of the new Everest that comes in at just under a million rand. Look, it is certainly a more premium model all round. It is better in every way than its predecessor and better than the current Fortuner. I just wonder how long it will take for customers minds to catch up to what could be considered a completely new adventure SUV. Balls in your court Fortuner…

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