Ford Everest XLT. Picture: Ford SA.
Ford Everest XLT. Picture: Ford SA.
The rate at which South African new-car prices are rising is bordering on the ridiculous. Enter the Ford Everest XLT, the Blue Oval’s solution for cash-strapped motorists looking to stay in a top-tier vehicle without paying Premier League prices.
Don’t think the Ford Everest XLT has thrown the baby out with the bathwater, mind you. Specification wise, as you’ll soon see, the XLT remains relevant to cash-conscious buyers and will keep the diehards coming back for more. Beneath the bonnet is Ford’s familiar 2.0-litre Bi-Turbo diesel, and it comes in both 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains. We’re testing the latter, sneaking under the R900 000 radar at R896 300.
As mentioned, we tested the Ford Everest Sport not too long ago, and the firm has not lost the essence of its genius with the pared-down XLT version. Far from it. Frankly, it’s hard to see what they left in the Silverton parts bin when you take it all in for the first time. The XLT boasts: LED headlamps with daytime running lights, partial leather trim, 8-inch digital instrument cluster, 12-inch vertical infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB-A, USB-C connectivity with wireless charging.
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Safety-wise, you’ve got the full gamut of airbags, ESP, Pre-Collision Assist with Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping System, Blind Spot Information Monitoring (with Cross Traffic Alert and Trailer Coverage), front and rear parking sensors with a rear camera, and Hill Descent Control on our 4×4 model.
Just shake the Ford Everest tree and see what falls out. The result is an Everest without all the look-at-me black detailing of the Sport. In the cabin you get the same exceptional 12-inch tablet-screen infotainment. Likewise, the 8-inch digital cluster in front of the driver. Partial leather is hardly a big step down from the Sport or top-of-the-range Platinum models. The driver’s seat still features eight-way power adjustment.
Like any Ranger/Everest product out of Silverton these days, perceived quality is excellent and a premium ambience is rubber-stamped by excellent noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) suppression. As we noted in our Everest Sport review, the flat-folding rear seats enable easy access to the boot, and the ability to transport long objects like our favourite surfboards. You get 295, 898 and 1 818 litres of utility space in seven-, five- and two-seat layouts respectively. A wide opening rear tailgate and doors, and an abundance of storage compartments inside, means there is no practical challenge the Ford Everest XL does not ace.
Powering our Ford Everest XLT test unit is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder twin-turbodiesel engine producing 154 kW and 500 Nm. It’s a unit we’re very familiar with in Ranger and Everest offerings. Even though it’s a smaller engine than many might anticipate for the size of the vehicle, its 10-speed automatic covers any shortfalls in performance.
With our test gear strapped in, acceleration was brisk rather than fast. The twin-turbo oil-burner manages to shift the Everest’s hefty bulk from zero to 100 km/h in 8.97 seconds. The braking performance was adequate when we tested it. 100 km/h to zero in 3.43 seconds in a distance of 38 metres.
As verified by these figures, and our impressions during testing, the Ford Everest XLT may be a daily family runaround, but its smooth 10-speed automatic imbues it with competency in urban and extra-urban driving that you cannot help be impressed by. Even with two turbochargers throttle response is exemplary, and the whole package feels quicker than the performance figures suggest.
If you want a seven-seater SUV that’s as practical as a Tourneo van, excellent on road and equally at home off it, look no further than the Ford Everest XLT. The relatively frugal 2.0-litre and 10-speed auto makes for a compelling combo that provides satisfying performance and drivability. Better still, the XLT is more affordable, and who doesn’t want to know they got a great deal on the car parked in their driveway!?
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