The words “next generation” are thrown around all over the place when it comes to motor manufacturers trying to explain just how far their new offerings have come.
At times, this is not entirely true. There might be vast improvements over the old, but this is not something that can be accurately described as “next generation”. But in the case of the new top spec Ford Everest Platinum that I spent the December holidays with, next generation it is!
It is longer and wider than before, and rides on huge 21-inch alloys as standard. More rugged 18-inch wheels are available if you want get quite serious about going off-road, or simply playing dodge with all the potholes we have on our roads today.
Ford Everest looks like a truck
I don’t have to waste any more time telling you that from the outside how different it is, the pictures clearly show Ford’s global design DNA in the C-clamp headlamps and upper grill bar at the front.
The interest in this new Everest wherever I went during my December travels was off the chart. It now looks like the Ford trucks that you get in the US and we South Africans love us things that come from the land of the free. And the home of the brave, although it is made in Thailand, just like Apple is made in China.
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Moving inside is where the “next generation” title is truly earned. You can immediately feel the space, and once settled, you will notice the premium look and feel of the finishes, while the large instrument panel and infotainment screen commands your attention.
Comfort and convenience come in the form of Ford’s SYNC 4A infotainment system that incorporates wireless charging and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, as well as an embedded factory-fitted modem that allows you to connect to your Everest via the FordPass App.
You also benefit from heated and ventilated 10-way power adjustable front seats, while the second-row seats offer Type A and Type C USB charging ports, 12-volts sockets up front, in the back and in the luggage compartment.
Plus you get a 400-Watt inverter that can be used for powering laptops and other devices. While massively useful to many I am sure, this functionality was not used by me as I dug a hole in my yard and buried my laptop in order to escape it over the holidays.
The third row of seats can be folded by a touch of a button, and both them and the second row of seats can fold flat, and this opens up a huge amount of cargo space.
I know just how valuable this proved to be when I decided to clear out my garage and found out that over the years, somehow my dear wife had managed to store a complete second home in there.
I honestly thought it would be multiple trips to clear this all up, but the Everest swallowed container after container, and the trailer took care of the rest in one go.
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Towing of course is a non-issue with the Everest. When it comes to bakkies and SUVs, we always want more power, and the Platinum spec comes with the tried and tested 10-speed auto box, and a new 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine that offers 184 kW of power and a chunky 600 Nm slice of torque.
Ford Everest makes towing easy
Braked towing capacity has been increased by 400kg to a hefty 3 500kg, and when I had to go do some track testing, the Everest didn’t even feel my race car on the back.
Did I test the Everest’s off-road ability? No. Unless you count a muddy gravel road on the way back from mountain biking as extreme.
But this flagship model offers permanent all-wheel drive with 2H, 4H, 4L and 4A, and six drive modes, Normal, Eco, Tow/Haul, Slippery, Mud & Ruts, and Sand, for when you are too lazy to figure out the terrain and grip on offer around you. I have absolutely no doubt the Everest will go anywhere you want it to go on and off-road.
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Included in the recommended selling price, Ford Protect comprising a four-year/120 000km warranty, four-year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and five-year/unlimited distance corrosion warranty is offered as standard.
Then if you want you have the option of purchasing service or maintenance plans up to eight years or 135 000km. The warranty can be extended up to seven years or 200 000km, while the roadside assistance can be extended for an additional one or two years.
Is there anything to whine about when living with this R1 113 100 SUV. Sure. It enjoys a healthy helping of diesel when only used around town, and that number that came in at 13.8-litres per 100km.
But throw in some decent open road driving and this number drops to an average of 12.5-litres per 100km and even less the longer you stayed on the freeways.
Oh, and then there is the problem of buying one. Thanks to global supply chain issues that affect anybody trying to import cars into the country, frustratingly, you are going to have wait a bit before you can get your hands on one. But pop past your local Ford dealer and get your name on the test drive list in the mean time.