Ford introduced the Everest at the end of 2015, essentially turning the rugged design principles of the Ranger utility into a family wagon. Yet, while the principal design is similar, Everest targets a different market; it’s more refined and it employs many different chassis and suspension features.
There are three four-wheel-drive Everest models – Ambiente, Trend and Titanium – along with a recently introduced rear-wheel-drive Trend. 4WD prices start at $54,990 plus on-road costs, with the top model listed from $76,705.
All Everests are powered by a 3.2-litre five-cylinder intercooled common-rail turbo-diesel engine and with a six-speed automatic. Everest is principally a seven-seater. An entry-level five-seater RWD was added in April 2017.
Everest employs constant 4WD with an electronically selectable terrain management system, which allows the driver to dial up one of four road/off-road settings.
Both vehicles deliver strong performance from their respective 3.2-litre diesel engines, and while each copes well in all situations, Everest has a modest but clearly discernible advantage. More torque produced slightly lower in the rev range and a six-speed automatic against the Pajero’s five means that Everest feels sharper and livelier in its acceleration and pickup response.
Everest also delivers a clear advantage in overall fuel economy, despite Pajero’s ability to manually select 2WD. On average our 4WD Everest Trend used 1.0L/100km less than Pajero regardless of the driving conditions, and Pajero needed its larger fuel tank capacity to achieve the same touring range.
In showroom specification there’s little to separate these vehicles’ off-road capabilities, Pajero gaining 10mm in ground clearance against Everest’s 100mm substantially deeper fording depth. Beyond that, the two are identically matched in maximum towing capacity and roof rack load, as well as tyre size, including a full-size alloy spare wheel.
Pajero’s traditional 4WD selection lever may be viewed as more simple and robust in extreme off-road conditions, however Everest’s constant 4WD and electronic range selection also enables features such as hill descent control and trailer sway control to be employed. Everest also has standard lane-keeping assistance, front parking sensors, driver fatigue alert, adaptive headlights and a 230-volt power inverter. The older Pajero leans towards easy-to-install upgrades such as electrically adjusted and heated front seats. Cabin presentation and practicality are, however, where Pajero is starting to show its age.
In overall cabin space, Pajero remains competitive despite Everest having a 70mm longer wheelbase. More headroom, cabin width and a larger rear-door opening appear to suggest better accommodation in Pajero, but dated design features hand the cabin comfort and liveability accolades to Everest. From the awkward and impractical side-hinged rear door which also carries the spare wheel, to the poorly thought-out rear seat assembly and childseat anchorage points which are mounted on the floor, Pajero is a frustrating seven-seater. The second seat row tip-folds, which significantly limits potential load space, it doesn’t offer travel adjustment to aid leg space and these seats lack contour and support. Up front, a traditionally high seating position ensures good all-round vision but there’s a distinct feeling of sitting on the seats rather than in them, and the dash just looks dated.
By contrast, Everest has a much more thoughtful seven-seater cabin. With significant front and second-row seat travel adjustment, along with better seat shaping and neat folding of both rear rows, there is a more satisfying blend of space, comfort and adaptability. Notable are childseat anchorages on the seat backs for all five rear positions, good third-row seat width and easy access via the stand-under tailgate. Both vehicles have ISOFIX childseat mounting points.
The Everest cabin benefits from being significantly newer in design and presentation, particularly up front where occupants will also feel more snug and tucked into the vehicle.
Both vehicles carry five-star ANCAP safety ratings, with Everest providing an additional airbag to protect the driver’s knee. Manual seat positioning is a cost saver on Everest, while both vehicles lack steering reach adjustment.
Pajero feels right at home on corrugated dirt roads. Its heavy-duty, well-insulated suspension, combined with a slower steering ratio, does a good job of isolating the cabin and its occupants from road shock. It is, however, firmer than Everest, which cossets its occupants a little more.
On the bitumen Pajero has the expected high-riding 4WD feel while Everest, despite its off-road ruggedness, has a more refined and comfortable suspension set-up, making it feel more like a large stationwagon.
And although Pajero lacks some of the Everest’s sophistication, it is marginally better priced and has the advantage of the Mitsubishi five-year new-vehicle warranty.
Both Mitsubishi Pajero and Ford Everest will take you and the family almost anywhere you want to go. The fundamental difference is Everest’s greater comfort and fuel economy against Pajero’s long- standing ruggedness and its much longer warranty.