In many ways, the comparison of the Ford Everest vs Toyota Kluger is a comparison between the competing heritages of SUVs, crossover SUVs and crossover utility vehicles (CUVs). Although the terms are used interchangeably, there are two distinct types of SUVs - those that share a platform with utility vehicles and those that share a platform with a car.
The Ford Everest has a utility vehicle pedigree, sharing many similarities with the Ranger UTE. In contrast, the Kluger is based on a RAV4, suitably extended and modified to fit the large SUV market. This makes for significant differences between the two, providing an intriguing contrast.
The Ford Everest is coming to the end of its current incarnation. The second generation was launched in 2015, so six years on it's interesting to see how well the vehicle is holding its own. The Everest is a large, diesel engine with highly rated off-road capabilities. It's a seven-seater people mover that is suitable for a fair amount of off-road driving.
The Toyota Kluger has undergone a significant overhaul for 2021. It benefits from a hybrid powertrain available, as well as some updated styling and the addition of some fresh features. Available in several different variants, it's received plenty of praise for its light, smooth handling and fuel economy.
Both vehicles feature modern interiors that are light, airy and spacious. The Everest decor includes light-coloured plastics and metal look-alike accents. Some reviewers aren't particularly enthusiastic about the Kluger's interior. They claim that heavy reliance on faux materials (leatherette and fake wood, for example), gives it a dated feel.
Features are roughly comparable between the two vehicles. They both vehicles have 8" infotainment systems that are compatible with Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Features include keyless entry, a tailgate lift, dual climate control and autonomous safety.
The interiors are more than adequate for 21st Century driving, but there are other vehicles in the same class (the comparable Mazda CX-9, for example, boasts a stunning interior) that are probably a better choice.
In terms of passenger space, both have cramped third-row seats, which is common across the class. The Kluger has a slight edge for second-row comfort. There is more space available and vents to facilitate temperature control in the rear of the vehicle.
Luggage capability is adequate in both. Note that as the spec of the Everest increases, the weight limit for the luggage it can carry diminishes!
The Kluger has received a bit of a makeover in 2021, with fresh styling apparently taking inspiration from the James Bond films. How far inspiration has translated into reality remains a matter of debate. The Kluger's LED headlights and reshaped front and the rear end result in a practical, functional look that will be appealing to most people.
The Ford Everest has an unashamedly rugged vibe which is likely to appeal to anyone who's a UTE driver at heart.
Reviewers rate both vehicles highly, albeit for different reasons. The Everest is billed as a driver's car. Steering is quite heavy, which appeals to some potential owners. Handling and comfort have also been reviewed positively. The Everest excels in the off-road environment, despite the absence of dual-range gearing. Available in both 4WD and rear-wheel drive, there's a choice of two diesel engines.
For drivers who crave fuel economy and a less intense driving experience, the Kluger may be worth a second look. The hybrid engine option does bring down the l/km. Some critics argue that the limited electrical input means the vehicle doesn't have the best green credentials in the class.
Reviewers praise its light, easy handling and rear-view camera, which makes parking a doddle.
Ford Everest Highlights
- Excellent off-road capabilities
- Comfortable ride
- Positively reviewed handling
Toyota Kluger Highlights
- Hybrid engine
- Plenty of cabin space
- Upgraded safety features
Who Should buy the Ford Everest?
The Ford Everest ticks all the traditional SUV boxes, which means it can take a family, a pile of luggage and a driver wherever they need to go, both on- and off-road. The superior driving experience and handling make it an attractive option for drivers who like to drive, particularly off-road.
Who Should buy the Toyota Kluger
If you love the RAV4 but need some extra space, the Kluger is worth a second look. The hybrid engine improves fuel efficiency, without compromising on performance. Easy to handle and straightforward to park, it's a good family car. Larger families need to be aware that there aren't any child seat anchors on the third row of seats.
Which of these two models is going to best suit you and your family largely depends on what you're looking for in an SUV. The Everest's UTE roots mean it does have excellent off-road capabilities. This needs to be balanced against mediocre tech and a relative lack of features. The Kluger probably has the edge for urban driving, so if you tend to use your vehicle in an urban environment, the Toyota is going to be the better option.
Other Options to Consider
Beautifully appointed inside and out, the CX-9 packs a luxury punch. With a 10.25" infotainment screen, wireless charging and the option of two pilot seats in the second row that provide a welcome upgrade for rear-travelling adults, you get an awful lot of bang for your buck with this option.
Benefiting from a generous seven-year warranty (as against five years for Ford and Toyota), the Sorento is a well-built, solid SUV with a wide range of features. Although prices are roughly comparable with others in the class, it's worth noting you tend to get more at each price bracket than is offered by other manufacturers.
With a powerful turbo engine, the CR-V is pretty nippy for a seven-seater. Its sporty vibe belies the spacious interior and surprisingly degree of comfort. If you're a boy-racer at heart, the CR-V could help satisfy the need for speed at the same time as providing a fuel-efficient, safe commute.