A brave move by Ford – introduce an all-new SUV into a crowded market segment. Has it paid off? We managed to score an Everest for a few days. With the popularity of the new model, just getting our hands on one for a short few days was like climbing Mount Everest. That might sound corny, but it was the Ford dealer’s own words. This is a big SUV that is making moves on the showroom floor, so Ford must be doing something right with the Everest.
Since I had tested the new Toyota Prado diesel not long ago, it was a good time to make a comparison. It is amazing just how similar these two wagons are, and I guess that’s what Ford was going for.
Adapted from the Ranger ute and fitted with a slightly modified (and slightly less powerful) 3.2-litre, 5-cylinder turbo diesel, this is a pretty big wagon.
Does the Everest look better than the Prado? In my eyes yes, but that may just be a personal preference. Also, since the Everest is a brand new model, perhaps it’s because it’s a new and unseen design (although you can certainly see the Ford influence). We’ve had the current shape Prado for a while now.
This is a big, wide wagon to drive about, but it doesn’t actually feel that big driving it. Having Parking Assist helped here. I consider myself a pretty advanced parallel parker, but I managed to get the Everest into some spots I would not have attempted, and using the Park Assist feature proved its worth. Hands off the wheel and let it do its thing.
I found it a little strange that in this $88,000 top-spec model, you still have an old fashioned ignition key – no keyless entry/start here – bonus points to the Prado here. You do get a huge panoramic sunroof with an electric blind though, along with 20” alloys, electric tailgate and electric-folding third row of seats, a 3,000kg braked towing capacity and apparently some amazing off-road technology.
One thing that the Prado wins on is the interior plastics. Most of the doors and the lower half of the dash are grey plastic that could have come out of the base model Ranger ute. It just looks a bit cheap, in this top-spec car. The top half of the dash looks classy and expensive and the rest looks grey. It was unexpected.
On the sound front, both the Trend and Titanium models (there are only two models) have Active Noise Cancellation. At first I thought, “Here we go, another gimmick”. But it works. There are a series of microphones in the cabin which take noise and attempt to cancel it out. While it doesn’t seem to do too much on the engine noise front, noise from outside the car are kept to a minimum. At one point I opened the window and heard a skillsaw going – but I couldn’t hear it inside the car. It’s an almost surreal experience at times, and makes talking to passengers a breeze. Everest wins points against the Prado on this one.
The car is fitted with the Ranger’s 6-speed automatic transmission, which isn’t a bad thing. Great transmission and one of those things that after driving it for a few days, you realise that there are still some automatics out there that aren’t cutting it, even in 2015. How hard can it be?
This wasn’t a car review. I had the Prado for two weeks, but I only had the Everest for a few days. Sure, a trip to Manfield and back was a test of sorts, but it wasn’t exactly the demanding type of testing for this class of vehicle. Once we get an Everest for a decent amount of time, we will take it through its paces, and would make sure that included some off-road testing.
Performance from the Ranger diesel was a mixed bag. Low-end torque was excellent as you would expect, but I did find that when passing a bus and two cars on SH1, the Everest seemed to run out of push in the midrange, even with its 479Nm of torque and 143Kw of power. No real drama, but certainly not what I was expecting. The Prado with its 2.8 diesel felt like it had more oomph in the midrange, and that was on a ski trip with 6 people and gear on board. Only a longer test would prove this one way or the other. The diesel is relatively quiet (Noise Cancellation helping some), but when you hear it, it’s a good man-diesel sound (if there is such a thing). You know what I mean.
My time with the Everest coincided with a trip to Manfeild. Having adaptive cruise control is the best thing ever. Ever. The Everest is also fitted with Lane Departure Warning, so if you veer out of your lane you get an alert. That’s fine, but the spooky thing with the Everest is that it will, in the end, try and steer you back into your lane. Weird feeling or what?! But then it does work. If your concentration lapses a bit, it’s a system that could prevent a crash. In saying that, if you try to change lanes on the motorway without indicating, the Everest will try and push you back into your lane. Since most of New Zealand drivers don’t indicate (ever) then I suspect many people will just turn this feature off. What a shame.
On this 300km open-road trip, fuel consumption was a rock-steady 11L/100km. With a stated combined figure of 8.5L/100km, this was disappointing. Interestingly I had the same experience with the Prado.
Recently I reviewed the Subaru Forester, which has 18 buttons on the steering wheel. I thought that was a lot. The Everest has 22, and yet it actually works even better than the Forester.
When using manual mode for the transmission, the driver’s digital display automatically brings up the rev counter. A nice touch. The Titanium models also come with the Traffic Channel, which alerts you to up and coming traffic problems. I thought it would be a waste of time, but the Satnav ended up changing my route if I wanted it to, to avoid traffic jams or accidents.
So what’s the verdict?
When I dropped the Everest off, I told the guys at Capitol City Motors it had a lot going for it – and it really does. I struggled to find things that I didn’t like. Yes, the boot area is extremely shallow, but so is the Prado. The Prado has a monstrous amount of rear legroom, however the space behind the third row of seats is ridiculously small. The Everest has less legroom (still very good though), but much more usable space after the third row. In the looks department, I prefer the Everest then perhaps that’s just because it’s new and fresh, and we’ve had the current Prado shape for a few years now. Yes, the price is well up there knocking on the door of $90K – and so is the Prado. So if they are that similar, which is better?
There was my problem: how would you choose? Brand?
I started off by saying it was a brave move by Ford. Will buyers move to the Everest, instead of a Prado? I’m still going to say we need to test one for longer, but I’ll put my cards on the table right now: I think if a buyer drove them back-to-back and then compared equipment levels for almost the same price, my money would be on the Everest.
Mission Accomplished, Ford New Zealand.
Thanks to Capitol City Motors for the loan of the new Ford Everest
Read more about the Ford Everest on the Ford New Zealand website.
(no Chevron rating for the Everest until a full review is carried out)
What it’s up against
|Brand / Model||Engine||Power Kw/Torque Nm||Fuel L/100km
|Price Highest to Lowest|
|Volkswagen Touareg TDI BlueMotion||3.0 litre, 6-cyl, DOHC diesel turbo||150/400||7.4||$89,990|
|Toyota Prado VX||2.8 litre, 4-cyl, DOHC diesel turbo||130/450||8.0||$88,490|
|Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited||3.0 litre, 4-cyl, DOHC diesel turbo||184/570||7.5||$87.990|
|Ford Everest Titanium||3.2 litre, 5-cyl, DOHC diesel turbo||143/470||8.5||$87.990|
|Mitsubishi Pajero exceed||3.2 litre, 5-cyl, DOHC diesel turbo||150/448||9.2||$87,590|
The good and the bad.
|Vehicle Type||4wd, full-size SUV|
|Engine||3.2-litre 5-cylinder diesel DOHC turbo|
|0 – 100 kph||13 seconds|
|Kerb Weight||2495 Kg|
|Length x Width x Height||4892x1860x1837|
|Cargo Capacity||450 litres – behind 3rd row
1050 litres – 3rd row down
2010 litres – 2nd and 3rd row down
|Fuel Tank||80 litres|
|NCAP Safety Ratings||5 star|
|Warranty||3 year/100,000km with roadside assistance.
5-year corrosion warranty