Melbourne - Are we looking at the new king of adventure SUVs? With its butch new design and significantly modernised cabin the next-generation Ford Everest aims to be an even bigger thorn in the side of its formidable rival, the top-selling Toyota Fortuner.
Revealed to the world on Tuesday, the redesigned Ford Everest takes all the goodness found in the new Ranger and applies it into a more upmarket seven-seat SUV format.
Of course, the new locally-built 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine will also be offered in the Everest, Ford has confirmed, although the company has yet to tell us how powerful this new motor is. It’ll be sold alongside single-turbo and twin-turbo 2.0-litre turbodiesels and some markets (but likely not South Africa) will also get the option of a 2.3-litre V6 turbopetrol.
The new Ford Everest will be available with two distinct four-wheel drive systems. For traditionalists, there’s the familiar part-time 4x4 set-up with a two-speed transfer case, but on some models Ford will also be offering a permanent 4WD system that uses an electronically controlled on-demand two-speed electromechanical transfer case with selectable drive modes. Rear-wheel drive variants will also be offered in some markets.
Depending on the model, the new Everest will be packed with new driver assist features, including adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane centring and speed sign recognition. Also on offer is a new lane-keeping system with road-edge detection, evasive steer assist, blind spot information system with trailer coverage and enhanced pre-collision assist with intersection functionality.
The new Everest will also be available with up to nine airbags, including bags for the driver and passenger knees and one between the front seats.
Prospective owners will also be pleased to know that when it comes to cabin electronics, the new Ford Everest follows the latest Ranger’s script rather closely. The SUV will be available with a digital instrument cluster measuring up to 12.4 inches as well as portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment systems up to 12 inches across.
The large vertical screen houses Ford’s latest Sync 4A operating system, which includes a factory-fitted modem and a 360-degree camera with split-view display. The functionality of the Ford Pass app has been further enhanced and will now allow owners to control the new exterior zone lighting system.
As with the current Everest, the new model offers seating for up to seven occupants and in some models the 50:50-split third row can now be folded at the touch of a button. Access to the back row has been improved too, thanks to the 60:40 split third row being able to slide further forward than before. Those in the back will also find it easier to charge their devices now as some of the models also come with power outlets for all three seating rows.
The new SUV is also notably quiet, says design director Max Wolff.
“One of the first things you’ll notice when you get into a new Everest is how quiet it is,” Wolff said. “We’ve all been in vehicles with multiple rows of seats, where you have to twist your head around and almost shout to be heard by passengers in the second or third rows. That’s an issue we wanted to solve for Everest, so the interior would be a quiet place in which you can easily talk to your family or friends and enjoy the journey together.”
South African prices and specifications will be released closer to launch. Reservations for the new model will open during the second quarter of 2022, with final launch timing yet to be confirmed, Ford SA says.