Everest aims to mount great heights

WHEN you get an invitation to a new car launch, expectations can become high.

WHEN you get an invitation to a new car launch, expectations can become high.

Especially if it's a reputable manufacturer. Sometimes these expectations can be met, while at times it is the opposite.

This happened when I was among the scribes who were flown to Overberg for the launch of the new Ford Everest.

According to Ford SA, the Everest replaces the Territory which was launched here in 2005.

But this made me wonder, why Ford would replace a perfectly good-looking, functional car with one that does not look like any of their products?

Based on the Ford Ranger platform, the Thai-built Everest is aimed at competing with the likes of Toyota Fortuner and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.

But are these ambitions realistic? Not in my opinion.

The Everest is not necessarily a bad car, but its looks and build quality are poor.

The launch itself was exciting and full of activity, with Ford trying to demonstrate what one can do driving the Everest.

The front of the Everest looks great by the standards of this segment. I, however, have serious issues with the rear of this car. It looks like a cheap Chinese product.

Surely Ford should know better - the recipe they used in the Fiesta should have been applied when producing the Everest.

With the Fiesta doing so well, it was rather disappointing to look at the Everest.

On the route from Arniston to Cape Town International Airport, besides the steering wheel play on gravel roads, the Everest demonstrated some good driving qualities.

The Ford Everest was launched in one engine model, the 3,0-litre diesel in three derivatives, the 4x2 manual transmission, 4x4 manual transmission and 4x4 auto transmission.

Named after the highest peak on Earth, I am not sure the Everest will live up to its name.

But the American carmaker is adamant that the it is a better alternative to its competitors.

According to Ford marketing manager Ben Pillay, the Everest is the ultimate family adventure tool.

The Everest is at the top with the leaders when it comes to safety. It comes with ABS with EBD and dual front airbags.