They say, you’re not supposed to meet your heroes. There’s a danger that once you see them up close, they won’t seem as perfect eye-to-eye as opposed to being perched on their towering pedestal. That’s the dilemma with the Ford Everest. After a drive in Thailand, I’ve yet to try it on Manila roads. In the two years that passed, fate played itself cruelly as cancellations, re-schedules, and even a minor hiccup meant no seat time. As 2017 rolled in, so did a minor refresh. This is the Everest featured here. While its blemishes don’t make it so god-like anymore, from where I stand, it still remains the mid-sized SUV’s hero car.
Heroes are supposed to stand tall in the face of adversity and the Everest does just that. Two years have passed since the world first saw it and its competitors have yet to hold a candle to its styling. From every angle, it’s simply purposeful yet elegantly beautiful. The basic shape is dictated more or less by the need to create a larger feeling of space without taking up a huge footprint; and while that’s been achieved, it’s been done so with unmatched refinement. It’s sculpted in all the right places, down to one of the best, if not the best looking OEM wheels in the market.
The Everest’s high-set cabin means a step and a half just to get inside. Despite the pillar-mounted grab handles, it’s something that’ll continuously bother geriatrics and small children. Once aboard though, it greets you with a combination of the familiar and the new. The view is much the same as the one in the Ranger, but some unique touches like a stitched up dashboard, higher quality leather appointments, and programmable ambient lighting do impart a higher-end feel. Yet, it stays true to its blue collared origins and this can be found on the center console and door panels which are hard wearing but low rent. Thankfully, the new for 2017 black and gray color scheme manages to mask that, plus it’s still far better than any other offering in its class.
Seated in the first or second row, there’s no denying the feeling of space. Plus, the seats themselves are really good. They prioritize support over hugging your ribcage during cornering, in tune with the Everest’s character. And with power adjustment for those in the front, finding a comfortable driving position is easy. It’s largely the same in the second row where the seats are well-shaped and capable of seating three abreast even if Ford claims they’re the thinnest seats they’ve ever designed. It’s only in the third row where things get cozier. Getting in and out is a challenge because the second row only slides. Once you squeeze through though, you’re greeted with ample space. And with the second row seats now offering two slide adjustments, those in the rearmost row can bargain for more knee room.
Ford has always prided itself with filling the Everest with tech and the 2017 edition shows their continued leadership in that department. Front and center is SYNC 3, Ford’s newest infotainment system. Most pundits didn’t seem to notice it, but it makes a big difference. The familiar four-quadrant layout is now gone, replaced by an icon-based system with the five main functions located at the bottom and contextual menus taking up a majority of the screen. With large graphics and gesture commands, it’s intuitive and responsive to learn and use. Apart from the layout, the screen itself is noticeably higher resolution and paired with a faster processor, SYNC 3 is snappier too. Though most owners will still prefer using on-screen commands, the voice commands are simpler and easier to master as well. Finally, SYNC AppLink allows certain apps to be paired and connected to your smartphone. Though the app catalog is quite short, at least Android Auto (there’s no icon for Apple CarPlay) comes integrated. Sadly though, there’s still no built-in GPS navigation.
Apart from SYNC 3, the Titanium+ also gets automatic high beam assist (it automatically turns the high beams on and off depending on in-coming traffic). Aside from those two new features, the rest of the package remains as it was: a 10-speaker sound system with Active Noise Cancellation, a dual panel moonroof, power folding third row, and a power tailgate. Honestly, with the exception of a push button start/stop and built-in GPS navigation, there’s nothing absent in this range-topping Everest and that means it can put most luxury SUVs to shame.
Though its looks and kit matches typical luxury SUVs, the Everest still cannot match them in terms of driving performance and refinement. Still, it scores top marks for its class. Compared to other pick-up based SUVs, it’s quite adept in absorbing road undulations with most lumps and bumps soaked up with surprising delicacy. It’s only over really bad surfaces that its composure is shaken with slight shudders transmitted through the low-profile tires. Through the bends, it’s surprisingly well composed with a chassis that’s predictable and controllable. And with a Watt’s Linkage packed into the rear coil spring suspension, body pitching is controlled, aiding high-speed stability. The steering itself is offputtingly light, but once adjusted for, is accurate enough to keep this two-ton vehicle in check.
Keeping the Everest in line is its myriad of driver assist features that go on top of the standard Electronic Stability Control. It has things like Curve Control, sort of like torque vectoring where it reduces engine torque and applies brakes to keep it in line; Roll Stability Control that use gyroscopic sensors to detect sharp swerving or fast cornering and selectively applies the brakes to reduce the chance of rollover; and even Trailer Sway Control that keeps the Everest stable when towing heavy loads.
Of course, there’s only so much the Everest can do to resist the laws of physics. Push it hard through a tight corner, and it feels top heavy and unwieldy. Its body-on-frame chassis and non-independent rear end simply no match for a car-based crossover. In addition, though its bulk is well disguised on the open road, it’s intimidating to drive in EDSA traffic. The high-set cabin coupled with the thick A-pillars mean huge blind spots especially from the front and the front three quarters. It’s especially troublesome to maneuver next to low-slung sports cars and motorcycles. The proximity sensors could have helped, but they’re either delayed or give out too many false alarms to be of any use. It’s also equipped with a front pre-collision alert system which proves to be overly sensitive for Manila roads. It causes too many panic stops which aren’t helped by the spongy brakes.
The brakes are the single reason why it’s hard to extract the most out of the Everest’s powerful 3.2-liter inline-5 engine. With 200 horsepower and 470 Nm of torque, it’s not anymore the segment’s most powerful offering, but it’s still very competitive. It’s a gusty performer with stout low-end response. There’s little in the way of turbo lag and is responsive throughout the rev range. It’s no road rocket, but it has no issues coping up with the near 2,500-kilogram curb weight. What’s more, the sound isn’t as obtrusive as other diesels, though credit probably goes to the noise-canceling technology. The 6-speed automatic always seems to pick the right gear at the right time, though there’s noticeable shift shock going from first to second gear. In a week of driving in city traffic, it managed 7.46 km/L (average speed 15 km/h) which is at par for its class.
When it first came out, the Ford Everest reset many benchmarks in its class, becoming the undisputed hero by providing an unparalleled mix of performance, functionality, comfort, and technology. Two years on, it continues to do just that. At P 2,109,000 some may argue that it’s become a bit too expensive, but considering its packaging and tech, it’s actually quite reasonable. Despite some minor problems (unwieldy to drive, so-so fuel economy, low-rent plastics in some areas), a vast majority of buyers looking for a 7-seater go-anywhere, do anything vehicle will be rightfully served by this well thought of and best realized SUV. It’s going to be their hero and will continue to be for years, if not decades to come.
2017 Ford Everest Titanium+ 3.2 4WD
|Ownership||2017 Ford Everest Titanium+ 3.2 4WD|
|Year Introduced||2015 (Refreshed: 2017)|
|Vehicle Classification||Mid-sized SUV|
|Body Type||5-door SUV|
|Engine / Drive||F/4WD, Low, Locking|
|Under the Hood|
|Fuel Delivery||Common Rail Direct Injection|
|Layout / # of Cylinders||I5|
|BHP @ rpm||200 @ 3,000|
|Nm @ rpm||470 @ 1,750-2,50|
|Fuel / Min. Octane||Diesel|
|Cruise Control||Yes, Adaptive|
|Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed||7.46 km/L @ 15 km/h|
|Dimensions and Weights|
|Curb Weight (kg)||2,495|
|Suspension and Tires|
|Front Suspension||Independent, Double Wishbone|
|Rear Suspension||4-Link Coil Springs with Watts Linkage|
|Front Brakes||Vented Disc|
|Tires||Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV 265/50 R 20 T (f & r)|
|Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)||Yes|
|Traction / Stability Control||Yes|
|Parking Sensors||Yes, Front and Rear with
Active Park Assist
|Other Safety Features||Hill Hold Assist
Hill Descent Control
Lane Keeping System
Blind Spot Information System
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
|Fog Lamps||Yes, Front and Rear|
|Steering Wheel Adjust||Tilt|
|Steering Wheel Material||Leather|
|Seating Adjustment||Electric (front)|
|Folding Rear Seat||Yes, 60/40 (2nd row) with slide; 50/50 (3rd row, electric)|
|Power Door Locks||Yes|
|Power Mirrors||Yes, with Fold|
|Climate Control||Front, Dual Zone; Rear, Manual|
|# of Speakers||10|