Everest, Prado & Pajero
As we reported yesterday, Ford Motors has introduced what ranks as a true competitor in the corporate SUV space - the New Ford Everest 2016.
While the Everest is not a new contender by any means, it has finally ditched its utilitarian cloak and taken up what should be its rightful place amongst the elites of the Senior and executive management cadre in corporate Nigeria.
Up till the introduction of the new Everest, there were only 2 serious vehicles in the Premium SUV (read suave semi-luxury 4x4) category - the Toyota Land cruiser Prado, and the Mitsubishi Pajero, with the former holding fort as number one.
These 2 vehicles have dominated their category with little or competition for decades. And rightly so. Both vehicles have earned the right to their domination with an unbeatable mix of ruggedness, reliability and ageless good looks.
While most other manufacturers shied away from full on 4x4s (not to be mistaken with AWD, more on this distinction in one of our next articles), Toyota and Mitsubishi have stayed true to the cause with their frame on chassis SUV's and have reaped the benefits with sustained world-wide sales and greatly improved reputations. A case in point - during the development of the Lekki Expressway in Lagos, which forced many drivers literally offroad, virtually all other pretenders were found "stuck in the mud" almost on a daily basis while the 2 kings of the offroad blazed tracks for every other car mark.
But make no mistake, the Ford Everest comes from a strong heritage of "offroadability" not to be sneered at by either Toyota or Mitsubishi. Of the 3, it may be argued that the Mitsubishi has the strongest pedigree with the iconic Mitsubishi Lancer's phenomenal success at World Rally championships, and the Pajero's repeated successes at the Paris-Dakar races.
Yet, the Ford makes a strong showing with the very successful very competent Ford Ranger pickup truck, and the all-American, go-anywhere Ford F150, the best selling vehicle in America several years in a row, 2014 no exception.
In fact, all three vehicles are genetically identical to their stablemate pickup trucks. So, in many ways, the Prado is really a hyped Hilux, the Pajero a treated Triton, and the Everest, a wrapped up Ranger. But they work beautifully in their nicely segmented markets; we must however keep an eye on the Ford's reliability, the likely Achilles heel of the Everest, especially going up against the very definitions of dependability - Toyota, and Mitsubishi (Honda has no contender in this category, as the new Honda Pilot is really a soft-roader, AWD).
So far, there has been no news from the Ford dealers in Nigeria as to when the new Everest will be hitting our shores. And while the SUV has been unveiled in South Africa, it is difficult to assume that the specs in SA will be the same sold in Nigeria.
Whichever versions of the new Everest do show up in Nigeria, it will be a most welcome addition to the field, and no doubt a veritable option to the existing class leaders. As with most markets, it is hoped that the new competition will ultimately be to the benefit of the buying public.
Ifeanyi Maduka for car.com.ng