Friday, June 2, 2017

Bucket Seat: Ford Everest 2.2 4WD

When Ford launched their Everest in SA about 2 years ago, it wasn't going to take the market by storm, not because it isn't a good vehicle, but because of its price tag. The launch edition only featured the 3.2 Diesel engine, whilst it is a great engine it did make the SUV damn expensive! So it was with great joy to many when Ford launched the 2.2 variants late last year. While you still get the great vehicle, but with a power train that is smaller but still capable to lug this rather large car around. A few weeks back I spent a week with the Ford Everest 2.2 AWD 4X4 and put it through some tests that I didn't even imagine I would had to! All in all it was great fun as you will soon find out. 


The model I had was the XLS 4WD which sits one below the XLT,  it still had the great look of the Everest, and it was just accentuated with the Ocean Blue colour that it came with. You did miss those minor touches from the LTD that make it look the part though, for example, the daytime running LED lights on the front headlamps and the chromed out front grille and the larger rims, this one did  come with 17" wheels but looked rather small on it. Other than that, the car still has a great presence on the road, I mean it is probably one of the biggest SUV's available on the market, size wise and in height. Interior was pretty plain but then with an entry level variant you wouldn't expect it to have everything in it. 


If anyone has seen or been in an Everest you will know how big this car is and why I keep mentioning it so with the smaller engine, I was a bit optimistic on how it would cope. Credit to the engineers at Ford though, the engine did deliver plenty in-terms of power and torque, the 6 speed manual transmission I had also played a part in this. Also with the 2,2 ltr diesel engine, I did notice a significant economy difference to the 3.2 engine, Ford claims it can do 7.1L per the 100km which I struggled to get near but then again I was to blame for that, it was just so much fun testing the torque on take off all the time! 


The Everest is a full 7 seater SUV, and its capable of carrying 7 adults more than comfortably, yes we put this to the test but bare in mind when using all 7 seats it doesn't leave much boot space. The versatility of the Everest is just great, the seats are so easy to move and drop that even a child could do them. You can have them set up in multiple configurations to suit you. Even if you have to carry an extra large item, just fold down all the seats and be amazed at how much can actually fit inside this behemoth. The cabin air is controlled by climate control and has vents throughout the cabin with the option to switch off the rear cabin AC if there is no one there. 


Whats the point in having a 4X4 if you aren't going to take it off roading right? Well that was my point exactly with the Everest, while it did a great job on my daily commute to work and back, scaring taxi's and other idiot drivers off the fast lane on the highway, it was off track where I really wanted to experience it. That weekend, some of the first snow falls were reported in the Southern end of Drakensberg and Lesotho, it was the perfect opportunity to go looking for snow with the Everest. I rang up a few mates, and we were off early Saturday morning, on the road to find the snow. We had a snow tracker, scouring the internet to see where snow sightings were, most of which were deep in Lesotho which was a bit far for our liking but the closest area with reported snow fall was Sani Pass. A route we conquered many a time in the past, so off we went!

As we got closer, we could definitely feel the snow was not too far off with the temperature dropping from 11 degrees to 3 degrees in a matter of kilometers. We didn't have our passports with us so we couldn't actually head up the pass but thought we would drive to the border and see what we could find. The short gravel road to the border is only 13 km or so but it normally is a hard gravel road that isn't as easy as it sounds. Much to our bad luck as we began our trek on this road, it began to bucket down, making the gravel turn into thick mud, almost clay which saw a number of vehicles in front of us get bogged down, eventually forcing us to turn around. We did get close enough to see the snow from a distance though, we flew our drone blindly to capture it but only ended up capturing the grass below it....suffice to say it proved to be a handy lesson in drone flying!

Heading back I decided to take the "short cut" to Nottingham Road, a popular spot in the midlands meander to have a spot of lunch. Little did I know what this shortcut had in store for us. It needed us to navigate our selves though a long gravel route, which much like the Sani Pass Road turned into a rive of mud. Thankfully the Everest off road settings came into play with us making use of majority of the settings, ice and snow mode for the icey parts, rock crawl mode for navigating around tricky escarpments and towards the end of the route, there was a pass with loose sand in which we had to manoeuvre down. Although hair raising for myself and my occupants, the Everest did manage it quite well. There were no "lets do it again" chants though once we eventually got down.                    


Suffice to say I put the Everest through it's paces in all types of terrain and it came out with flying colours but it again, it all boils down to the price and the value you getting with the Everest, there's still a number of things I would like to see in the car that it doesn't have. It still comes with one of those wap ariels, the car is so damn high as it is, this just makes it taller so I found myself get into a panic every time it hit something! Also while I understand it's an entry level variant, we going to need that full touch screen display, the small screen this particular model came with was so small that my cell phone screen was bigger than it. Hopefully now with SYNC 3 out, Ford would consider adopting this in most of their Everest models. Another grip is the key, it's nice but I would expect for a vehicle like the Everest to have the smart keyless system like the Mustang and Fusion come with but that's just me. It is on the whole an extremely good vehicle, while it doesn't have all the bells and whistles I might be looking for, it's more than capable of the job it has to do. It's big, spacious and fun to drive, and very versatile which just ticks all the boxes that people check when buying an SUV.


 2.2 litre Diesel 4 cylinder
 Gear Box
 6 speed manual
Fuel Economy
Fuel Tank
 R 539,000

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