The formula is simple: take a bakkie, stick a roof on with some gaffer tape, add coil springs and seven seats. Voila! An SUV. Well, that’s the theory, anyway; one adopted by Toyota, Mitsubishi, Chevrolet and Ford for years – until now. It’s no secret that Ford needed a fresh start, since its last attempt at a ‘bakkiebased SUV’ – the previous-generation Everest – was far from brilliant on the road.
Sales tapered steeply from launch in 2009, and struggled along at 1000 units or so a year until run-out in August 2014, while Toyota’s Fortuner continued to rack up over 10 000 units a year. Clearly, a complete re-think of the design was needed, and that’s what Ford has done.
Leaving rivals to fight amongst themselves, the 2015 Everest enters a white space in the market: a vehicle that is not only a ladder-frame bushwhacker with a solid rear axle and 225mm of clearance, but a luxury tarmac traveller as well. The new Everest fills a gap between more agricultural brutes like the Fortuner, and high-ticket items such as the Prado. It’s priced accordingly, at a happy medium.