I drove the new Everest over 3 days in Botswana with Ford South Africa at the media launch last week. It was a unique trip that allowed me to see beautiful landscapes in Botswana, which is home to one of the largest salt pans in world. We drove here to catch the sunset and it was so epic.

Ford Everest in Botswana

A quick overview of our trip: we landed in Maun, and took a 20 minute charter flight to Khwai. We headed out in the new Everest on a game drive, took a ride in a mokoro, and finished off with an overnight stay at Khwai tented camps. The next day we drove long stretches, had launch in Maun, and ended up in Gweta, by the salt pans where we stayed another night. The next morning we drove back to Maun to catch a flight back to Johannesburg.

Ford Everest Sunset

We put the new Everest through its paces over three days, covering various terrain, and lots of potholes. As seen on the new Rangers, it is powered by the same 2L bi-turbo engine, with a 10 speed automatic transmission. The Everest is also built in South Africa since 2016, and exported to 22 markets. Just like the new Ranger, it is now keyless, on the XLT and Limited models.

The drive was comfortable, not terribly bumpy during our game drive, thanks to the smart suspension. We waded through water twice at Moremi Wildlife Reserve and it was nothing out of the ordinary for the Everest. There was also rocky terrain, dirt roads, potholes, and everything you can think of besides snow and rain that we experienced. 

Ford Everest in water

In this post I’m going to share 5 things about the new Everest that you should know.

1. Who would buy this vehicle?

The Everest is a variant of the Ranger, but it falls under the SUV category. It’s more sophisticated, upmarket and with a range of style and feature upgrades, it’s not aimed at the same person who drives a bakkie, like the Ranger. In the words of Ford South Africa, it’s a ‘soccer mom’ vehicle. Basically, it’s a versatile family vehicle that suits an active lifestyle. It has plenty of space for whatever you want to throw into it with a big boot. I’d say it’s comfortably suited for a large family who like going off-roading, the outdoors or camping. 

2. What are the noteworthy specs?

The new Everest comes in a 2L bi-turbo or single-turbo engines variants, paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission, which Ford says improves efficiency, fuel-economy and all-round performance. The bi-turbo engine has an output of 157kW with 500Nm of torque, and according to the company has low levels of noise, vibration and harshness. Definitely felt this on our drive, that’s why it was so comfortable. It’s available in the XLT 4×2 and 4×4 models, and the high-end Limited. The single-turbo engine has an output of 118kW with 420Nm of torque (with up to 320Nm available from 1250 r/min). This option is offered on the XLT 4×2 model. The Everest also has Passive Entry, which is a keyless entry so can keep the key in your pocket or bag and still get into the vehicle. Nifty if your hands are full (of shopping bags!). 

3. What about CarPlay and Android Auto?

Ford’s infotainment system Sync 3 is available on certain models in the Everest line-up. It is the newest version, however, I first saw it at Mobile World Congress in 2016 so it is a bit ‘dated’. While the interface as a whole could do with an upgrade as it doesn’t look modern, I love that it was one of the first systems to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. I paired my smartphone with a cable to the Everest, and in no time had my playlists on Spotify available on the dashboard in a familiar interface. Unless you’re changing settings like the aircon or other stuff, you really don’t need to switch back to the main UI. Your Google Maps etc are all accessible from CarPlay. Side note: The XLS model is only compatible with Sync 1.

4. Is it big enough for my family?

I did mention earlier that is suited for a large family. To show you what I mean, the Everest is actually a seven seater. If you’ve got a big family and love going on road trips or visiting neighbouring countries, the Everest is ideal for this. 

Everest 7 seater

The third row of seats are folded down by default and part of the boot space so if you want to use it, simply press the button at the back and it automatically opens and closes. Before we get into that, as you can see from the above image, it’s not suited for an adult of my height (1.7m). I can’t sit with my legs straight, however, I did not look if the seat is adjustable. But essentially, this is where you put the little ones. Here’s how quickly it folds, not sped up:

 

5. What does it cost?

The Ford Everest 2L XLT 10 speed auto 4×2 model starts at R584 900, however there is a 2.2L XLS 6 speed auto 4×2 model at R499 900. It goes all the way up to R741 100 for the Limited 4×4 variant. All models come with a 4 year/120 000km warranty, 3 year/unlimited distance roadside assistance and 5 year/unlimited km corrosion warranty. A 6 year/90 000km service plan is also included, with 15 000km service intervals.

Ford Everest Nafisa

I felt safe and comfortable driving through the northern parts of Botswana in the Everest. Visiting the Makgadikgadi Pans was really special, I didn’t know such beauty existed. Driving there in time for the sunset was epic. We also saw loads of animals throughout out time here, including an elephant eating right outside my tent at 1am! The are no fences anywhere, animals roam freely, including into Zimbabwe. This trip reminded me how much I want to see more of Africa <3

Thank you Ford South Africa. 

PICS FROM MY PHONE

Our 8 seater charter flight from Maun to Khwai.

My tent with private bathroom. Visited by an elephant at 1am.

On the Okavango Delta in a mokoro

A herd of buffalos making a dash.

Hippos chilling.

Lunch stop in Maun.

Ahead of our mokoro tour

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