Wildtrak brings fresh Everest allure as quality improves

Launched alongside a new XLT model to broaden the Everest’s range and appeal, Ford promises that this more athletic, sportier, and rugged Wildtrak captures the essence of what has made that badge so popular in the Ranger bakkie over the years.

The bakkie’s new stepsister is pretty much the same car as the Everest Platinum we drove a few moths back. Which means a comfortable, safe, quiet, tech-rich, and refined sanctuary for up to seven travellers in premium environment. Like the Platinum, Everest Wildtrak is powered by a Ford’s JLR-shared 3-litre turbodiesel V6 with a 10-speed automatic transmission and permanent all-wheel drive. Let’s take a closer look.



Set apart by a Land Rover style Wildtrak name emblazoned across the leading edge of the bonnet, there’s also an exclusive bold grey specific horizontal bar and mesh grille between those C-shape DRLs. The grey theme continues on as an accent colour on our grey car’s unique bumper design above a so-called ‘Super Alloy’ bash plate. That’s rich with dual recovery points and extra 4×4 underbody protection.

That grey also pops up on the wing mirror housings, rear bumper and Wildtrak and 4×4 font on the rear tailgate. Add bright-finish side steps, stand-off roof rails and privacy glass. Striking face machined black 20-inch alloy wheels come standard with 255/55 R20 rubber. Dirtier owners can specify their Wildtrak with 18-inchers and 255/65 R18 all-terrain tyres.

Wildtrak gains yellow contrast stitch eight-way power-adjustable front premium leather seats, steering wheel, gear lever as well as on the soft the dash top. Wildtrak badges are spread generously throughout the cabin under a dark roof lining around a neat dual panel power moon roof.



Already aided by the Ranger’s wider track and longer wheelbase thanks to its sister’s swell, Everest Wildtrak is a giant step forward over the previous model. It’s a quiet, plush, and functional premium finished space with high tech 12.4-inch digital dials and a high-resolution large-format portrait 12-inch touchscreen infotainment base.

The voice-activated Ford Sync system packs CarPlay, Auto, wireless charging, and the rest. There’s a screen-mounted USB, as well as both Type A and C ports, plus convenient 12-volt sockets up and even a 400-Watt inverter to power laptops and other hungry devices. Everest Wildtrak also gets FordPass for optimised mobile device accessibility.

The tech is great. Both screens are crisp and have good depth. They may not be the most responsive, but we’d expect that Ford will optimise this as time goes on. We would however prefer a landscape centre screen higher up on the dash than this portrait solution. That’s better for keeping your eyes on the road. Never mind, the tall, narrow screen makes the car feel narrower than it really is. We’d also prefer a few more buttons and knobs for the vital audio, climate and control functions. They’d do a better job than just the touchscreen.



Cupholders abound, in the centre console, popping out of the dash and there’s more storage space throughout. Add a ‘svelte new leather trimmed e-shifter’ and electric parking brake. That overkill gear lever is however a great big downside. Flimsy and terribly uncomfortable, its horrible to use. Lose it, Ford!

We’ve complained about build quality inside both the new Everest and the Ranger. Earlier cars we had were somewhat underwhelming in fit and finish, too plasticky, flimsy and poorly put together. Happily, both this car and its lederhosen toting German second cousin Amarok we have more recently tested, appear to have made good quality progress as production has ramped up in Pretoria.

The centre console seems better anchored, so bends and shifts less when you lean or push against it, while several other aspects that were just poor on the earlier run cars also appear to have been addressed. And some of Wildtrak’s upscaled trim also helps make it feel a bit better in there too. It not yet 100 percent, but it seems those early run glitches are being ironed out.



Fire the 184 kW 600 Nm turbodiesel 3-litre up and you may not realise that it’s a V6. It’s so quiet that you must floor it to figure that one out. Its lusty from there, drives effortlessly, rides comfortably and possesses confidence inspiring steering response and feel.

Interestingly, this Wildtrak was also a bit faster than the Platinum we tested a few month back. But it still seemed a little heavier on gas then we’d expect. The big turbodiesel V6 engine works very well with the 10 speed auto and sits surefooted and planted on the gravel. From a short sojourn on the tougher bits, the AWD gubbins also seem pretty solid.

The Ford Everest Wildtrak 3.0 V6 AWD does not come cheap. At R1,1-million, also competes with used premier division SUVs, so it has to be right. Happily then, Wildtrak is now closer to Fords is premium crafted Everest claims to now complete that huge step up. It’s a compelling, capable, and sporty SUV alternative that may very well surprise you. – Michele Lupini

Images & Data: Giordano Lupini

ROAD TESTED: Ford Everest Wildtrak 3.0 V6 AWD
Engine: 184 kW 600 Nm 3-litre turbodiesel V6
Drive: 10-speed automatic AWD
Max Braked Trailer 3,500 kg
0-60 km/h:        3.97 sec
0-100 km/h:       8.79 sec
0-120 km/h:       12.41 sec
0-160 km/h:       23.18 sec
400m:             16.3 sec @ 139 km/h
80-120 km/h:      6.34 sec
120-160 km/h:     10.77 sec
VMax:             200 km/h
Fuel:             8.5 l/100 km
CO2:              224 g/km
Range:            890 km
Warranty/Service: 4y 120K/8y 150K km*
LIST PRICE:       R1.11M
RATED:            8
Dunlop Grandtrek
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