Few things give you a sense of status or power on the road than a massive car!
You don’t have to drain your bank account just to make your presence known on the road. At least, this is how I felt when I had the opportunity to test drive the entry-level, seven-seater XLT Ford Everest. I even took a nap in it, it’s that spacious and comfortable! The exterior looks like a modern Bakkie SUV and, at a glance, you might even mistake the Everest for its big brother, the Ford Ranger.
What better way to test drive a vehicle than to drive a distance? Curious how the Everest feels on the road, I took it on a day trip for breakfast at French Toast in Hartbeespoort along with two friends of mine. For a big car like this one, I was a bit disappointed that it doesn’t have the start-stop button like its cousin, the Ford Fiesta, but I wasn’t going to let this spoil the fun.
I inserted the key into the ignition and off we went! Although I felt very small inside the car, the size of the Everest made me feel like king of the road and my two friends helped somewhat to fill up that empty gap. The Everest is not only a smooth drive, but also a comfortable one with plenty of head and leg room in the first two rows of seats. The third row is big enough for the younger/smaller members of the family or can be reclined to create extra luggage space.
The interior is neat and functional and the SYNC 2 Infotainment System complete with two USB slots allowed us to listen to our smartphone playlists via Bluetooth and 10 powerful speakers. Voice control commands meant a hands-free environment that let me focus on the business at hand – driving. It was a little disappointing that the large touchscreen interface did not sport satellite navigation, but we used our phones to find our way to our destination.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take the Everest off-road to test its impressive safey feature, the Terrain Management System, which allows you to select the relevant mode (normal, mud, sand and rock crawl) and let the car do the rest. More protection is offered by the driver and passenger airbags and seat-mounted side airbags. Side-curtain airbags protect everyone in the front and back and there’s even an airbag for the driver’s knees. The touchscreen also features a rearview camera for simpler, safer reversing as well as a sensor to prevent you from getting too close to another object. The auto lights and auto wipers function is a valuable one when visibility is compromised by poor light or weather conditions.
Our trip to French Toast was smooth sailing. We enjoyed the party bus vibe created by the excellent sound and ate up every comfortable kilometre with the fuel-efficient diesel engine.
Image: Ford South Africa