Sporty touches make this seven-seater a very attractive offering.
Jaco van der MerweSporty touches make this seven-seater a very attractive offering.Based on the XLT, the Everest Sport's differences are easily noticeableIn the Everest Sport, Ford might have just found the perfect recipe to help it gain some ground on the local market leader, the Toyota Fortuner. Numbers indicate that the Fortuner leads the seven-seater SUV pack in South Africa by an impressive margin. In the first three months of 2021, 2 494 new Fortuners were sold compared to the 554 Everests that found new homes. This means that for every five Fortuners that Toyota sells, Ford only manage to offload one Everest. But there is a massive discord, somewhat inexplicable to a certain extent, between these numbers and the actual...
Numbers indicate that the Fortuner leads the seven-seater SUV pack in South Africa by an impressive margin. In the first three months of 2021, 2 494 new Fortuners were sold compared to the 554 Everests that found new homes. This means that for every five Fortuners that Toyota sells, Ford only manage to offload one Everest.
But there is a massive discord, somewhat inexplicable to a certain extent, between these numbers and the actual products. This is one instance where the old adage of looking at the scoreboard isn’t giving you a true reflection of the quality of the game. headtopics.com
The Everest in its current state matches the Fortuner blow for blow on most grounds, if not leading on a few fronts. Unlike its Ranger sibling though, which has taken the fight to the Toyota by outselling the Hilux in double cab guise in recent years, the Fortuner’s is not going to be knocked off its perch any time soon.
Sexy suitBut if a sturdy pedigree alone isn’t enough to convince the majority of the SUV-buying public, then a striking visual presentation can do no harm. And that is exactly what Ford has done in the case of the Everest Sport.Using the XLT in 2.0-litre single turbo guise, the Blue Oval has added a host of aesthetic enhancements to create something quite special. And more importantly, something that doesn’t have a direct rival in the Toyota stable.
Changes less prominent viewed from the rearPriced at R675 600 in 4×2 guise and R718 000 for the four-wheel-drive derivative, the Everest Sport slots somewhere in between the Fortuner’s 2.4-litre and 2.8-litre offerings in terms of hardware.Under the bonnet
Where the two Fortuner powerplants offer 110kW/400Nm and 150kW/500Nm respectively, the Everest Sport’s 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel produces 132kW/420Nm. This is mated to a ten-speed automatic transmission, compared to the Fortuner’s six-speed auto. headtopics.com
While there might be more powerful engine options in the Everest range in the form of the 147kW/470Nm 3.2-litre TDCi and the 157kW/500Nm 2.0-litre bi-turbo, the single turbo is actually pretty damn impressive. In fact, as we realised during our first impressions of long-term Ranger FX4 featuring the same engine, the engine almost seems more in tune with the transmission than the bi-turbo does. Its power delivery is smooth and efficient with up to 340 Nm available from just 1 250 rpm.
Dressed upOn the outside, Ford has done a superb job with the Everest Sport’s styling. It’s enough to differentiate it from its siblings, but not over the top. These enhancements include 20-inch black alloy rims, a unique Everest 3D bonnet badge, black body accents which includes the mesh front grille, front bumper chin, rear valance, side mirrors and door handles as well as ebony roof rails. It also has daytime running LED headlights, which previously only featured on the flagship Limited derivative.
Sport badge at the base of the rear doorThe six body colours on offer are Diffused Silver, Frozen White, Agate Black, Moondust Silver, Sea Grey and Copper Red. Judged purely on the extreme contrast it creates, we have to admit that the Frozen White finish complements the black detailing the best out of the lot.
In the driver’s seatThe changes are less dramatic inside the cabin, where you get a choice of seven leather trim seats and leather dashboard topper to go with the model-unique Capital Blue stitching, while the front seats feature embossed Sport logos. headtopics.com
The four-way manually adjustable driver’s seat found in XLT derivatives makes way for an eight-way power seat. The rest of the XLT’s already impressive list of features are all included in Sport trim.These include the SYNC3 system which includes Bluetooth connectivity with voice control and navigation, front and rear parking sensors, rear view parking camera, rain-sensing wipers, cruise control with speed limiter, dual zone temperature control and four 12-volt power sockets.
Changes to the interior are more subtle than the exteriorOn the safety front, the Everest Sport features ABS with EBD, ESP with traction control, seven airbags, roll over mitigation, emergency brake warning, curve control, hill descent control and ISOFIX child seat anchorage points.
The Terrain Management System on the four-wheel-drive derivative allows the driver to manually choose the terrain, while it also features a selectable low range setting.Not just a pretty faceWe already knew what the Everest was capable of on and off the road, but our recent launch drive in the Southern Cape featuring some serious twisty roads going over the Swartberg and Outeniqua Passes on both gravel and tarmac reiterated what a fine vehicle it really is.
These roads were never going to test the Everest Sport’s capabilities to the extreme, but what they did do is illustrate how well the car handles and how planted it feels around corners despite being a seven-seater weighing almost 2.5 tons.While traditional beliefs and badge power might result in many not even bothering with stopping at a Ford dealership on their way to Toyota, it will be foolish of any potential buyer to ignore the Everest Sport. It’s not only a very good vehicle, but also a very attractive one, as those who choose to ignore will soon enough discover in their rear view mirrors.Read more: The Citizen News »
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