Just about 13 years ago, the Ford Everest was rolled out for the first time in South Africa.
Already into its second facelift after making its international debut in 2003, the body on frame seven-seater SUV was not the most eye-catching vehicle around.
It looked like the very squarish Ranger bakkie at the time with a steel canopy welded on top of the loadbin.
Distinctive mountain peaks depicting the nomenclature were etched on the spare wheel cover mounted to the barndoor tailgate.
Carried over the Mazda-based Ranger, the Everest was powered by the 3.0-litre Duratorq TDCi turbodiesel engine that punched out the princely sum of 115 kW of power along with 380 Nm of torque.
The mill was mated to five-speed automatic transmission in the range-topping Limited 4×4 model, which was priced at R382 990.
Ford Everest scaling new heights
How things have changed. After a very healthy jump from the first to the second-generation Ford Everest that could at the very least rival its arch-enemy the Toyota Fortuner in terms of looks, the third generation has moved the goalposts even further.
Today the range-topping Everest Platinum sports appealing and authoritative American truck-like styling, it is powered by a beast of a 184 kW/600 Nm 3.0-litre V6 engine mated to a 10-speed gearbox and costs a whopping R1 113 100.
Also, according to Ford, it has moved up a league. Where it used to compete with the Fortuner, the Blue Oval now considers it a direct rival to the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado.
It is quite an interesting development, as Toyota themselves has said that the Prado has not really had a direct local rival up until now.
Quite ironically, the Ford Everest has since done away with the barndoor on the tailgate which Ford back in 2009 labelled as a “first for the class and immensely practical”, while the Prado still features the side-hinged tailgate.
Jack of all trades
After driving the Everest on its launch late last year in Mpumalanga, having it as a house guest over the festive season and pitting it against the clock in a high-performance test at Gerotek, we believe that its price tag and Prado-rivalling credentials are fully justified.
The Ford Everest has genuinely evolved not only in terms of styling, but performance, comfort, capabilities, tech and safety. At the same time, it has kept its core virtues, which is being a spacious seven-seater and tough-as-nails off-road customer despite all the new flashy exterior finishes.
ALSO READ: First drive: All-new Ford Everest lives up to the hype
While the Everest Platinum will not win too many dices at the red lights, as the test results will indicate, it packs a punch when on the move. Its power delivery is smooth and handling so solid at higher speeds that it’s very tempting to exceed the national limit when you’ve found the right stretch of open road.
While the 10-speed automatic transmission was introduced with the single and biturbo engines on the second generation, the box feels better calibrated to the mill on the third generation.
Together with the refined 3.0-litre V6 engine, the powertrain is really a standout feature of the Platinum, which costs R137k more than the 2.0-litre bi-turbo Ford Everest Sport.
ALSO READ: Patent leak suggests Ford could introduce Everest Wildtrak
Watch Ford Everest in action
Spent some time testing the all-new Ford Everest Sport #fyp #foryou #carsoftiktok #thecitizennews #thecitizenmotoring #ford #fordeverest2022 #fordeverestsport @jacovanderm
♬ original sound – The Citizen
A bit heavy on the juice
Like The Citizen Motoring Road Test Editor Mark Jones mentioned in his driving impression last month, our biggest gripe with the Everest Platinum is still its fuel consumption.
While you could, with a restrained right foot, achieve a number of less than 10 L/100 km on the open road, it’s far from frugal in bumper-to-bumper everyday city traffic.
Even after making a conscience effort to operate it as economically as we could, it’s hard to keep the number under 13-litres per 100 km on daily commuting.
You could argue that buyers with the means to foot its sticker won’t be too bothered about the consumption. But then again, there are other heavy SUV with more horses that are easier on the juice out there.
However, the consumption is not really a big enough blotch on the overall picture. It outshines the Prado on most fronts in terms of technology and safety specifications, although loyal Toyota owners will point out that the Prado is over a decade old and an all-new model is due by the end of the year.
All Ford needs to do now is secure enough stock of the new Thailand-built Everest, something that has been a challenge ever since it made it first appearance.
Ford Everest road test data
|Odometer||3 082 km|
|Test temperature||20 Degrees|
|Engine capacity||3.0-litre V6|
|Power||184 kW @ 3 250 rpm|
|Torque||600 Nm @ 2 500 rpm|
|Licensing mass||2 487 kg|
|Power to weight||74 kW / Ton|
|Power to capacity||61 kW / Litre|
|0-100 km/h||10.07 seconds|
|1/4 Mile time||17.39 seconds|
|1/4 Speed||133.33 km/h|
|1/2 Mile time||27.20 seconds|
|1/2 Speed||159.59 km/h|
|1 km time||31.50 seconds|
|1 km speed||166.75 km/h|
|Top speed (Claimed)||180 km/h|
|60-100 km/h||5.51 seconds|
|80-120 km/h||7.36 seconds|
|60-140 km/h||14.71 seconds|
|FUEL CONSUMPTION DATA|
|Claimed fuel economy||8.5 litres / 100 km|
|Test average||12.5 litres / 100 km|
|Tank size||80 litres|
|Range claimed||941 km|
|Range test||640 km|
|CO2 emissions||224 g/km|
|Make||Goodyear Wrangler HT|
|Price at test||R1 113 100|
|Warranty||4-Year/120 000 km|