The Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) is currently the most popular type of vehicle in the world; no less so in South Africa where SUV’s have taken over the roads. Having spent a great deal of time reviewing vehicles in the SUV segment, I have reviewed my way through the majority of leading SUV brands in the country. I waited a long time to review the Ford Everest, as its reputation preceded it. Everest, like the legendary mountain, has a reputation for being the pinnacle of vehicles in it’s class and I couldn’t wait to see if this was in fact the case.
Located in Boksburg, Consolidated Auto is a familiar site to locals who have become accustomed to the reputable Dealership where Ford products and services are proudly offered; under the experienced leadership of Dealer Principal Neil Boonzaier, Consolidated Auto presents the full package to customers, including both new and used car sales, financing and an adept team managing After Care services.
Spending some time with Gerald Parker, veteran sales executive in the New Sales Department , I learn he has a whopping 39 years of experience in the Motoring Industry, all of them – barring one – dedicated to Ford, I was thrilled to finally get to experience the Everest for myself under the expert guidance of someone as knowledgeable and dedicated as Gerald. Releasing the Everest 2.2 XLT 4×2 Automatic to me, Gerald stated with confidence that he firmly believes the Everest is the best SUV in it’s segment at present.
With an impressive ground clearance of 240 mm and a wading depth of 800 mm, the Everest is seemingly built for taking on challenges. It has an assertive, proud stance and a distinctive no-nonsense appearance. The interior is unbelievably luxurious, with high-quality finishes and a classy feel. The cabin is spacious and (much to the delight of my children) there seems to be cup-holders all over the show. There are also two USB ports and climate control in the front and rear, and a very nice, crystal clear touchscreen through which a comprehensive infotainment system is run.
Two unique features to the Everest that I particularly liked, include the microphones in the ceiling panel that pick up road noise and actively dampen it through white noise, as well as the fact that the infotainment system is functional for one hour after taking the key out of the ignition. A host of electronic programmes (including Trailer Sway Control and Rear Park Assist) contribute to the vehicles high safety ratings. Although the seats and their adjustments are all manual (which I would have liked to be electronic in this segment), the incredibly silent start up takes my mind off the negative and I cruise away with a ease.
The powerful engine in the Everest (2.2 litre diesel) kicks out 385 Nm torque and 118 kW of power, yet handles like a smooth sedan. The power steering is also adaptive, meaning that the faster you drive, the “heavier” the steering becomes in order to help the driver maintain control and avoid fly-away, hair-trigger responses. With clients citing fuel consumption as low as 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres, the Everest seems to be getting better with each new kilometre I drive. Even more so to hear that the bonnet, lifted by two hydraulic struts, is easy to open (which is important for a lady like me), although the tailgate by contrast is quite heavy (and not automated).
With a starting price of R509 900, this variant is incredibly well priced for all the bells and whistles on board, the superb luxury in the cabin, and the excellent driving experience. Gerald also notes that this is a characteristic of Ford – to produce high quality vehicles that can compete with all the top brands, but beat them hands down with pricing. This is one of the features of the brand that Gerald loves, which he has served loyally for almost four decades.
Back on home turf at Consolidated Auto, I learn that this remarkable dealership has customers that travel from Delmas, Randfontein, and even Vereeniging for service and products; thanks to a long history of exceptional customer service and a wealth of knowledge, Consolidated Auto has built up a solid client base and boasts many repeat customers who have become part of the Ford family over the years. Being well-known in the area, the dealership is also a proud supporter of the Lions Rugby club, and provided me with a truly welcoming, and knowledgeable experience.
With all it’s exceptional features (and equally impressive price), the Everest was truly worth waiting for.
By Desh Bechan