During a recent trip to Chiang Rai, Thailand, we got to go behind the wheels of Ford’s latest iteration of the longstanding Everest model, one that impressed us ever since its launch in Bangkok. Although by sheer looks it has nothing against the new Fortuner, but the Everest has many, many convincing tricks up its sleeves that will surely bag a number of customers, and quite possibly some awards along the way as well.
Before we get down to business, we’d like to help the Blue Oval company address a few misdirected facts, if you will, with regards to the Everest’s relationship with its pickup sibling – the Ranger. Firstly, yes, it is based on Ford’s modular T6 platform underpinning the outgoing Ranger, however the Everest’s ladder frame architecture is almost entirely new and unique only to the SUV. The only component shared with the Ranger is the front portion where the engine sits – its mountings. Everything rearward of the T6 platform is new.
|Name||Ford Everest 2.2L (4×2)||Ford Everest 3.2L (4×4)|
2,179cc; 4-cylinder TDCi with VGT
|3,198cc; 5-cylinder TDCi with VGT|
|Transmission||6-speed 6R80 automatic||6-speed 6R80 automatic|
|Max Power||158 hp||197 hp|
|Max Torque||385 Nm||470 Nm|
|Est. Price upon arrival||circa RM160k||circa RM200k|
The guys at Ford weren’t joking when they said “We make no compromises with the Everest”. It took them a full 48 months (that’s four years for those counting their fingers) develop the SUV from scratch, basing the build of the entire vehicle on extensive market research. What you’re about to read is Ford’s best attempt in capitalising on the increasingly competitive SUV market, and we can tell you that it promises much, much more than what you see on the outside. So, without further ado, here’s five reasons why we think the Ford Everest is the car for you.
i. Reliable and powerful diesel engines
When the Ford Everest arrives here in Malaysia, it will most likely be available with two engine options. Just like the Ford Ranger T6, a 2.2-litre and 3.2-litre Duratorq oil burners will power the SUV, which means you’ll get plenty of power for all kinds of utilitarian endeavours. While many of you will prefer the larger five-cylinder engine (one that makes close to 200 hp and 470 Nm of torque), it’s worth keeping in mind that the extra grunt will come at an extra cost. It won’t be cheap.
That said, the smaller 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel also makes for a pretty punchy drive, just not as seat-strapping brisk as you would expect from the bigger powertrain. This engine makes 158 hp and a healthy 385 Nm of torque, and shares the same six-speed automatic gearbox as the 3.2-litre variant. But what’s more impressive to us than the engines here is its commendable, premium levels of cabin insulation, which brings us to our next point.
ii. Quite possibly a best-in-class cabin
If you own, or at least sat in the existing Ranger T6, chances are Ford’s cabin quality is something you’ll be very acquainted with. The Ford Everest continues to excel on that front, effortlessly suppressing road noise, vibration and all that diesel clank up front. We could barely tell if the engine was running upon entering the cabin, and that alone speaks volume. Of course, none of this can be achieved without generous use of insulating materials (all doors are stiffer and get double sealing system for better sound proofing) which adds weight, but does that really concern you? We guessed as much.
Both the 2.2-litre and 3.2-litre units come with leather upholstery, but through these pictures you’ll notice that one comes in beige. We’re happy to report that the beige trim will most likely be omitted from the Malaysian market, so that leaves us with the sole black finish.
Some of the toys here include an 8-inch touchscreen head unit, dual-zone automatic climate control, air conditioning vents in the second and third rows, best-in-class driver multi-info display, 10-speaker sound system with integrated subwoofer, dual-panel powered moonroof and many 12-volt outlets to charge your entire collection of handphones. There’s also more than 30 stowage compartments within the car! That sounds substantially more impressive than the already eye-opening 12 cubbies featured in the Isuzu MU-X.
Icing this really chunky cake is the Everest’s cargo capacity. The second row seat gets a 60:40 split configuration, while the third row has a 50:50 split. When both are folded flat, it frees up to 2,010 litres of space. That’s enough to fit 20 full-sized golf bags!
iii. Drives almost too well, both on and off-road
Don’t let its big and bulky outlook fool you; this thing drives impeccably for a body-on-frame SUV. The smallest wheel size you get with the Everest is an 18-inch alloy which the 2.2-litre 4×2 variant sits on, but the range topper gets a set of huge 20-inch six-spoke alloy wheels. As counterintuitive as this following sentence will sound, the larger wheels had very little impact on ride comfort, yet made driving a tad more confidence inspiring because you actually get to feel the surface you’re driving on.
We put both 4×2 and 4×4 through their paces in suburban tarmac, and like most places, these roads are poorly maintained. But the good news is both variants of the Everest feel right at home. Granted, the smaller wheels do reward passengers with better comfort than what you would get with the larger set of wheels, however the only setback here is that you’ll have to fork out a few hundred Ringgit more to replace the 20-inch rubbers.
One of the main reasons why the Everest is such an exceptional all-terrain performer is because of its chassis. Ford has always had the knack for producing cars that handle well, and you’d be surprised to find how much that rings true even with this SUV. It’s all thanks to clever mechanics; the front suspension features independent coilovers, although each variant has its own unique tuning which alters damping and spring rates (weight plays an important part here).
The Everest’s rear suspension is managed by a traditional solid rear axle with a Watt’s linkage setup, primarily for off-road and towing purposes. Now, you may wonder, what in the world is Watt’s linkage? Allow us to explain.
Watt’s linkage is basically a simple but brilliant network of steel bars, connecting the car’s body to the axle – in this case, a solid axle. Its function is to mitigate body roll – which is normally present in a car of this size and stature – by maintaining the car’s lateral position during cornering. This essentially means that when you take a left turn, the right side of the rear suspension will provide opposing forces that reduce body roll. The end product, needless to say, is an SUV with best-in-class handling and agility.
iv. Kitted with an array of active and passive safety technologies
Like many of the Blue Oval’s modern offerings, the Everest doesn’t compromise in the safety department. It comes with seven airbags (not confirmed for Malaysian-spec as yet), Roll Stability Control, Electronic Stability Control, Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert, Hill Launch Assist and Curve Control. Both Roll Stability Control and Curve Control, through various gyroscopic sensors, help reduce the likelihood of a rollover and oversteer.
Other active safety features include Active Park Assist, Terrain Management System, Hill Descent Control and our favourite – Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which by the way, is smoother and operates more seamlessly than some of Volvo’s finest offerings. Usually, when ACC is operative, the computers unsystematically apply braking force when the car ahead slows down or comes to a stop. The Everest’s system manages this so well without the slightest hint of intrusion.
v. 3-Year or 100,000km warranty coverage
All purchases of the Everest comes packaged with the standard 3-Year or 100,000km warranty, whichever comes first.
Now, onto the bigger question. How much will it cost, and when will it arrive? Unfortunately, pricing for the base Everest 2.2L Trend variant is at RM199k, whereas the more premium 3.2L Titanium is close to ticking the RM260k scale.
2015 Ford Everest 2.2L
2015 Ford Everest 3.2L
Ford Everest Cutout