Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Review: 2020 Ford Everest 2.0L Bi-Turbo Titanium 4WD


By and large, the Ford Everest re-wrote the mid-sized SUV rules. It didn’t become the segment’s best-seller, but it was, the best balanced of the lot. Not only did it offer looks, but it also offered performance, capability, comfort, and refinement in equal measure. That’s why it comes as a surprise that despite facing some stiff competition, Ford has opted to keep things well enough alone. Are they confident in having developed a “future-proof” SUV some five years back, or is this a case of them running out of fresh new ideas?

If looks were the only criteria, it sure looks like Ford’s nailed it. Despite new competitors coming out, they’ve yet to hold a candle to the Everest’s styling. Ford’s done the right thing in giving its mid-sized SUV an understated, yet elegant look the first time around. Doing away with angry, exaggerated lines or taillights that look like bloody teardrops, it’s managed to withstand the test of time. Truth be told, park one next to its contemporary rivals, and no one will be able to tell that the design’s four years old. Of course, that’s not to say everything completely the same. The grille is new, and so is the design for the 20-inch wheels.



As with any pickup-based SUV, getting into the Everest requires a bit of an effort despite the pillar-mounted grab handles. Suffice to say, it’s not going to be the best choice for families who regularly ferry geriatrics or small children. Once aboard though, it does have a with a nice, airy feel. Don’t mistake it for a luxury SUV though; after all, it’s still based off the Ranger. Poke around long enough and the hard-wearing, but low-rent plastics are there. Nonetheless, it’s been dolled up with padding on the dashboard, higher quality leather appointments, and programmable ambient lighting. Oh, and at least the monotone all-black cabin (Ford calls it, “Ebony”) makes everything look better.

In the first or second rows, there’s no denying that the Everest offers a feeling of space. Plus, the seats themselves are good. They’re supportive and with power adjustment for those in the front, finding a comfortable seating position is easy (sadly, the driving position feels compromised due to the lack of a telescopic steering column). It’s largely the same in the second row where the seats are well-shaped and capable of seating three abreast. It’s only in the third row where things get cozier. Getting in and out is a challenge because the second row only slides (it doesn’t tumble). Once you squeeze through though, you’re greeted with enough space. And with the second-row seats offering some slide adjustment, those in the rearmost row can, at least, bargain for more knee room.



Ford has always used tech as one of the Everest’s selling points and for 2020 shows their continued leadership in that department. Aside from SYNC 3 (now with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and offline GPS navigation), this range-topping Titanium 4WD finally gets a push-button engine start/stop and passive keyless entry. It’s hard to imagine, but prior to this year, Ford’s SUV never had this feature. Anyhow, it also gets automatic high beam assist, a 10-speaker sound system with Active Noise Cancellation, a dual panel moonroof, power folding third row, and a hands-free power tailgate. It’s definitely everything, but the kitchen sink in here.

Coupled with its myriad of convenience features, the Everest now adds a plethora of driver assist features too. Its trick Active Park Assist which automatically steers this 4.9-meter long, 1.9-meter wide SUV into parallel slots is still present, but so is lane keeping assist, blind spot indicators with cross traffic alert, and tire pressure monitoring system. Now, add adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking this time, and you have the most complete SUV, safety-wise.



Now, while its looks and kit match luxury SUVs, the Everest still can’t match them in terms of driving performance or refinement. Still, among its peers in the pickup-based SUV segment, it’s still top of its class. Compared to all others, it manages to absorb road undulations with most lumps and bumps soaked up with surprising delicacy. Supposedly new this year are retuned shocks, and they make their presence felt over really rough surfaces. Whereas the ride would shake and shudder through them before, this one feels much more pliant. 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.

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 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 a bit more intimidating to drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic. The high-set cabin coupled with the thick A-pillars equate to 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. Even the front pre-collision alert are too sensitive for Manila roads causing too many panic stops which are exacerbated by the spongy brakes.



Now, while the Everest looks almost aesthetically unchanged from before, the biggest change happens under the hood. Gone is the 3.2-liter inline-5 and in its place is a twin-turbo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine. The downsized powerplant may draw errs from those who prefer larger displacement engines, but in reality, it’s still a solid performer.

Without a doubt, the biggest improvement in this bi-turbo engine is that it’s quieter and smoother than the old 3.2-liter unit. Some of the credit probably goes to the Everest’s fancy noise-canceling tech, but roll down the windows, and it still sounds less truck-like than it ever did. Oh, and service intervals have been reduced too to just once a year. Peak torque comes in early and because of that, overcomes the 2,466-kilogram curb weight easily. However, it loses shove quickly after that making it feel not as powerful as its 213 horsepower, 500 Nm of torque outputs suggest.



Mated to this bi-turbo powerplant is a 10-speed automatic. Upshifts are imperceptible, but downshifts can sometimes be aggressive. On some occasions, it relies on engine braking whenever the throttle’s let go, resulting in a slightly perturbed feeling. Unlike its application in the Ranger, there’s a manual override here, but oddly enough, it’s placed as a rocker switch on the gear lever—a sign perhaps from Ford engineers to leave the thing alone. Still, for what it’s worth, tapping it reveals a “hidden” function that display which gear is being used. Unfortunately, for all Ford’s work, fuel economy hasn’t improved significantly: 7.69 km/L in heavy and 9.17 km/L in light traffic. For those keeping score, the old Everest does 7.46 km/L.

Four years on, and the Ford Everest may not be pushing the goal post as far as it once did. Yet, after all’s said and done, it remains the best balanced among them all. Sure, there are new or more affordable choices out there now, but as a technical showcase, this SUV is still the tour-de-force. It’s by no means perfect, but it’s still the best thought of and best realized mid-sized SUV. No other offering in this genre offers a commendable mix of performance, capability, refinement, and tech as the Everest.



2020 Ford Everest 2.0L Bi-Turbo Titanium 4WD
Ownership 2020 Ford Everest 2.0L Bi-Turbo Titanium 4WD
Year Introduced 2015 (Refreshed: 2017, 2019)
Vehicle Classification Mid-Sized SUV
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basic
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/4WD, Low, Locking
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Twin Turbo
Fuel Delivery Common Rail Direct Injection
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 213 @ 3,750
Nm @ rpm 500 @ 1,750-2,000
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 10 AT
Cruise Control Yes, Adaptive
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 7.69 km/L @ 13 km/h,
9.17 km/L @ 17 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,893
Width (mm) 1,862
Height (mm) 1,836
Wheelbase (mm) 2,850
Curb Weight (kg) 2,446
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension 4-Link Coil Springs with Watts Linkage
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Goodyear EfficientGrip SUV 265/50 R 20 T (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 7
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear, w/ Rear Camera
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3 (2nd row),
3-pt ELR x 2 (3rd row)
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Hold Assist
Hill Descent Control
Lane Keeping System
Collision Mitigation
Blind Spot Information System
Tire Pressure Monitoring System
My Key
Exterior Features
Headlights HID
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear
Auto Lights Yes, Auto High Beam
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Electric, 8-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Electric, 6-way
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 60/40 (2nd row) with slide,
50/50 (3rd row, electric)
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, with Fold
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Front, Dual; Rear, Manual
Audio System Stereo
CD
MP3
USB
Bluetooth
GPS
Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 10
Steering Controls Yes

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