It may be getting on a bit, but old Ford Everest is still fit for purpose

Is no secret that the Ford Everest is about to be replaced. Still, while the new one will be improved in so many areas, the basic hardware across the lion’s share of the range will remain unchanged. This flagship 4×4’ Limited’s 157 kW 500 Nm 2-litre Gqeberha-built biturbo diesel four pot should continue unchanged. Its 10-speed automatic is likely to gain an upgrade, but driving it will be pretty much the same. So there’s no harm in reporting how this fine fully laden SUV pulled our race car, well back to Gqeberha, and back.

A Load Had to Be Shifted

The occasion was the previous round of the Compcare Polo Cup and we decided that rather than freight it, we’d tug our Bullion IT Racing Polo up to Aldo Scribante. We collected our silver grey Everest Limited on the rainy Wednesday before and ran sone chores around town. Later we hitched our trusty trailer bearing that Polo burden to the fully loaded Ford. Then four of us hopped in and we drove to PE.

The race car normally weighs over 1300 kg in race spec, but add another 300 kilos for all the wheels, tools and pit kit we gently load into it. The trailer is another 900 kilos so that’s two and a half tonnes that the Everest had to lug. No problem, it’s rated to pull 3.1 tonnes. Remember however, that the boot was also packed full and we travelled four adults up, so we were pretty close to the combination’s maximum permitted load.

Not that Everest noticed. A strong competitor in the super-competitive South African bakkie-based ladder chassis sport utility vehicle market, it has to be good. Rivals include . the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi’s Pajero Sport and the new Isuzu MU-X. Never mind the plethora of slightly smaller and slightly larger, if slightly softer SUV rivals out there too. Everest sits right in the middle of all that.

Everest is Still Very Popular in SA

The Everest has proven popular right throughout its reign in South Africa, so it was also a good opportunity to say goodbye to it as a new car. It tows very well too. That Gqeberha-built lump grumbles quietly in the distance. Its ten-speed automatic is always busy. But you must watch the tachometer to notice that, as it consistently seeks out the best cog for the moment to spread that creamy dollop of diesl power wide.

Continually searching for that plum cog for what you’re up to at the moment, may get your goat in normal driving. But its actually quite heartening as you tow. Kind of like your Everest has got you. Floor it and the trailer hitch gently clunks on the ball as that stout turbo lump pulls hard. The autobox skips a few cogs down to precisely the right ratio. And then it will quietly shift back up as the road levels or drops away. Always in effortless comfort.

We have heard that that this box has been brittle on occasion, but the new one will likely be upgraded anyway. Ride quality is a tad agricultural and we anticipate discovering how all those updates will work in the new one. But as a towing tool as we used it, it was comfy and gentle, handled well and pulled as hard as we ever needed when tugging past the occasional truck en route. Armed with a low range, a rear diff lock and the rest, Everest is also effortless way off the road. And even indulge in 4×4 crawling.

Everest is Well Equipped to Tow Strong

Getting back to towing, this Ford also boasts an impressively tight turning circle for a large SUV. That and its front and rear park sensors with a rear-view camera certainly eased backing up and loading the tailer. And navigating a packed paddock complete with loaded trailer after the races. Driving into the evening, Everest’s standard HID LED head and daytime running lights were good enough, although we’ve seen brighter in some rivals. That said, its Auto High Beam is a treat and works well too.

The cabin is comfy, although the seats look a little last season. Packing Ford’s latest CarPlay, Auto, Waze traffic and navigation gizmos, it’s well stacked too. Some of it may be a bit complex to operate, among the buttons are hard to read and not as ergonomic as we have come to expect in 2022. That said, we trust that the new one’s tablet system will ease some of the frustration. This olde one still has it all, from Bluetooth to USB-rich SYNC infotainment with gesture, voice or touch control.

Indeed, the Ford Everest may well be long in the tooth. It certainly still does the job well enogh to consider a good used one. When they start looking for new owners after being dropped for the new one. Which we now even more eagerly anticipate! Bring it on!… – Michele Lupini

Images & Test Data: Giordano Lupini

TOW TESTED: Ford Everest 2.0Bi-Turbo 4WD Limited
Engine: 157 kW 500 Nm 2-litre biturbodiesel I4
Drive: 10-speed automatic 4x4
Braked trailer:   3,100 kg
Load Capacity:    1050-2010 litres
0-60km/h:         4.09 sec
0-100km/h:        9.63 sec
0-160km/h:        27.24 sec
400m:             16.8 sec @ 131 km/h
80-120km/h:       7.31 sec
120-160km/h:      13.44 sec
VMax:             190 km/h
Fuel:             7.6 l/100km
CO2:              201 g/km
Warranty/Service: 4y 120K/6y 90K km
LIST PRICE:       R877K
RATED:            7
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