Export of the Ford Everest continues. Picture: QUICKPIC
Export of the Ford Everest continues. Picture: QUICKPIC

This week Toyota officially closed its manufacturing facility in Australia. At the same time, BMW announced it was investing an additional R160m into its plant in Rosslyn, SA to increase production capacity for the new X3.

These are all major industry announcements, but it is easy to forget sometimes that Ford manufacturers the Everest SUV and exports it from its plant in Silverton. It adds to the export numbers for the Ranger bakkie, of course, and shows an industry that is continuing to be rather healthy — and there are high hopes for it to continue in that way once negotiations for a new policy framework post-2020 are completed.

Over the past month our Everest 2.2 has been doing a lot more work both in town and getting away at the weekends. It is holding up well to the urban commute and we are quite sure its American truck-like facade has probably made the occasional minibus taxi driver think twice before messing with it.

The acres of space have been crammed with kids and all the paraphernalia that has to travel with them, including bags, buggies and child seats. On a recent trip to the Vaal we packed the car and headed out — and it proved to be a great vehicle for the weekend excursion. It can be a little bouncy, something the wife is not happy about, but on a longer journey along the highway this was reduced, allowing the kids to sleep comfortably.

The Sync infotainment system is such a pleasure to use, especially in the daily commute. Picture: QUICKPIC
The Sync infotainment system is such a pleasure to use, especially in the daily commute. Picture: QUICKPIC

A longer trip also enabled us to get the consumption down a little, although not as much as we hoped. We are still sitting at 11.4l/100km which for a 2.2 diesel seems rather high. The figure is mainly the result of the Everest spending most of its time in the urban jungle where constant stop/start traffic is making the engine and gearbox work harder. The occasional urge to switch the gearbox across into sport mode doesn’t help in the quest for lower consumption of course, but it definitely makes it easier when you need to hustle slightly.

We are continuing to make the most of the great Sync infotainment system which automatically connects to my phone every time I get into the car. Streaming Spotify playlists makes the commute more bearable and all the tracks display on the touchscreen or, if I choose to, on one of the digital screens in the instrument cluster.

That cluster also keeps a history of our consumption figures which helps us to see where the right foot has been a little heavier than usual too.

The third row of seats have been used more for hiding things from prying eyes in the absence of a luggage cover. Picture: QUICKPIC
The third row of seats have been used more for hiding things from prying eyes in the absence of a luggage cover. Picture: QUICKPIC

We still have a couple of issues with the Everest, aside from the occasionally choppy ride. There is nowhere to hide anything in the boot and we have taken to stashing the laptop bag under the third row of seats and then chucking stuff on top. It’s not ideal and Ford says it does not have a luggage cover available at the moment. This seems rather odd in a country where crime is top of the minds of many people and Ford SA really needs to address this.

Overall though, the Everest has been working well both in town and on the odd excursion. It was interesting to jump from the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport into it when we had the Mitsu on test recently. The level of competition between these two and the popular Fortuner is heating up and all three have something different to offer.

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