If there’s any midsize SUV out there that reeks status and prominence, it’s probably the Ford Everest. Even current SUV owners saw the Everest as something they'll buy if money is just an object, while not crossing the bounds of luxury options or even bigger full-size SUVs. It's the SUV that many aspire to climb up to, backed up by its slew of features and imposing looks.
Problem is, ever since the first Everest came here in the Philippines, its rivals have caught up with it in several aspects, which left Ford with no choice but to rekindle its position in the market.
So, how do you reinvent a proven SUV template in just a facelift? Ford opted to change its powertrain and added even more tech while keeping its beefy appeal. But is it enough? I got to test the 2020 Ford Everest 4x4 Biturbo Titanium trim to find out.
I did mention that the new Everest is just a facelift, right? Don’t expect phenomenal design changes in the Blue Oval’s midsize SUV. The deviations aren’t revolutionary, and that’s a good thing. A new three-slat grille, redesigned 20-inch alloys, and a full set of LEDs are enough to let you know that this is a new model. It works for the brand if you ask me.
With that said, expect the new Everest to have a great exterior build quality that makes for a solid-looking ride.
What’s entirely new for 2020, however, would be the availability of Diffused Silver color, which coats the media unit that I tested here. The no-cost color option is easy on the eyes and spells premium – a perfect representation of what this car can offer.
Likewise, the 2020 Everest mostly retains the interior styling of the model it replaces. Again, it’s a working formula for Ford so I don’t see any reason why the company has to change anything about it – except maybe for the non-tumbling second row (which makes for a challenging third-row ingress/egress) and the small cupholders that wouldn’t hold a Big Gulp.
Beyond those, the materials used inside the cabin are still great, with leather-clad touchpoints and clear displays elevating your in-cabin experience – yes, even the solid door thud stays. There are also plenty of cubbyholes to stow your things in. I particularly love the new steering wheel material that can also be found on the Ranger and Ranger Raptor. It adds to the haptic pleasure when driving this behemoth of a car.
Roomy cabin, plush seats, and cool air-conditioning system – these are the primary things you want for a comfortable ride. The Everest does deliver in this regard, along with its seemingly softer suspension setup. It’s still bouncy, as with all midsize SUVs, but it’s more pliant and more stable than before. The cabin’s gifted with plenty of room for full-grown adults, too, although the second row would be more comfy for two and the third row’s better for children and short adults like Caco.
Given, the Everest dips and dives occasionally with ungodly driving, but compared to other pickup-based platform SUVs, it’s one of those that excel in coddling its occupants. NVH insulation’s superb except for the engine’s sound that creeps into the cabin even with music playing in the background.
As with the rest of the Ford lineup, the very thing that makes the Everest ever so great is the slew of tech features it offers. If you’re not one for gizmos inside a car, then close this page as the Everest isn’t for you. For everyone else, read along.
SYNC 3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, offline navigation, two digital displays on the instrument cluster, power-adjustable seats, nine clear-sounding speakers, and many more – these are just a few of the things you’ll find inside the Everest. There are also two USB ports up front (one fewer than before) and there’s a 230-V socket in the second row. The last row’s backrests fold electronically, too. Really, you’ll never run out of toys to play with inside the Everest.
If there’s any complaint, though, the foot-activated power tailgate worked intermittently during our tests, which is kind of the shame given that this is the newest feature you’ll find in the Everest, along with the push-start ignition.
Let’s start with the basics. The 2020 Everest continues with its array of safety features from its predecessor, namely seven airbags, ABS with EBD, traction control, stability control, rollover mitigation, and brake assist. It also comes with hill start assist, hill descent control, front and rear parking sensors, a reverse camera with cross-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitors.
Now, as a top-spec Titanium 4x4 unit, the Everest gets even more, such as adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping aids, forward collision alert, tire pressure monitoring system, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection. All of these work without issues, except maybe for some delay with the proximity sensors, but that’s just about it.
Driving & Handling
A smaller engine means less spritely performance – that’s true, if you were reading this review back in 1996. For starters, the top-spec Everest gets the same engine from the Ranger Raptor: a 2.0L Biturbo diesel power plant that produces 210 hp and 500 Nm of torque. And because there are two turbos, the boost doesn’t come late. In fact, during our tests, the boost came as early as 1,200 RPM, giving you an early satisfying pull even when coming from a standstill.
There is something to be said about that transmission, though. When you’re traveling at normal speeds and you want to hit ludicrous speeds immediately, there is a bit of a jolt. It’s not jarring. It just lets you know that the transmission is still there and you haven’t left it 50 feet behind.
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In combination with the new 10-speed transmission, though, the pull was immediately controlled and spread throughout the short-ranged gears – and that’s a good thing. With 10 gears to play around with, acceleration was linear. Although, there were instances of over-revving wherein the engine had a tendency to stay in a gear before deciding to shift up. It wasn’t woeful, to say the least, but it could have affected the SUV’s fuel economy at some point.
The Everest’s handling was pretty okay and still among the best in its class, especially with its ultra-light steering feel that tightens up at high speeds. Although, since this variant is eternally all-wheel drive, there’s a bit of understeer when running speeds on winding roads. Speaking of all-wheel drive, the Everest has a 4x4 terrain management system that works seamlessly – or at least on the sand where I tested it on.
With a smaller engine under its hood, you might think that the Everest would return better fuel economy than its 3.2L predecessor – and you would be correct. On EDSA, the Everest Biturbo 4x4 returned 8.5 km/L, while faster paces on provincial roads at around 60 km/h registered 13.5 km/L. On the highway, I was able to clock in 18.9 km/L with the cruise control nailed at 90 km/h.
For context, the previous 3.2L 4x4 Everest returned 16.3 km/L on the highway before. That’s a huge improvement, mind you.
With all things considered, Ford did a good job of taking a working formula and turned it into something even better. The Everest retains its position as a choice for techie buyers who want a car that offers the most – all while keeping its trait as a brute, off-roading SUV.
Now, can it rekindle its position in the local market? It depends on its pricing and the buyers’ capability to spend on a car. The Everest 4x4 Biturbo Titanium Premium sells for P2,299,000 – yes, a bit pricey when compared to its predecessor, more so, versus its counterparts from other brands. But for those who can afford, why settle for something less?