So, I’ve had a Ford Everest Bi-turbo for a number of months now, and covered well over 10,000km in one. I’m going to share my thoughts on it so far, based on what I’ve noticed and experienced. This will be an ongoing review, updating you with my experiences as we go.
If you haven’t been in a ‘new’ 4WD for a while, the first thing you notice is the technology. On the steering wheel of the Everest alone, there are 22 buttons. Yep, 22. They perform all manner of things, from enabling you to move through the menus on the dash (and there are 2 menus / displays), to answering calls, adjusting volume, and turning on and off cruise control, as well as the speed limiter. And that is just the start.
Across the dash, there are additional controls for foglights, brightness, mirrors, and many other items. And then when you look down at the transmission lever, there is another cluster of buttons that adjusts for the 4X4 modes, allows activation of the rear diff lock, choice of Low Range (Yes, the Everest is a proper 4X4 with low Range), hill descent control, auto-off, and even parking sensors.
The point I’m trying to get to here is that these modern 4WD’s are jam packed full of functionality, and it will actually take you a bit of time to get used to. Some of the features are great, and some will bug you – you’ll probably find this with any make these days, but the thing I like for the most part is that the menu allows you to turn on and off a number of these features. For example, the Everest come standard with lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, pre-collison assist, and much more. If you don’t like them though, you have the option to adjust sensitivities, responses, and even turn them off, which give you great control over the vehicle once you know how to use it.
Other than that, the quietness of the cabin also struck me, thanks to the active noise cancellation. As did the quality and clarity of the reversing camera, and the separate rear climate controls and functionality.
The Everest is very comfortable on the road, so much so that long drives where I’d usually feel tired and fatigued seemed a lot more effortless. I do a large amount of driving, so this was a very welcome outcome, although part of me does worry that it is too good!
The electric drivers seat is great, and I found very nice to really be able to adjust the seat so precisely, although it made the mechanical passenger seat feel a bit archaic next to it. We went with the middle of the range model (Trend) because we wanted maximum possible carrying capacity on the roof, and the next model up has a sunroof which reduces this. I guess the truth is you can’t offer everything in one model, and I don’t sit in the passenger seat too much so its not really an issue.
The seats and trims are comfy, and the interior is nicely appointed (that should be expected given Ford produces very comfortable seats in its cars vs many competitors). The other thing that is great is that the second row seats are adjustable forward and back, so you can move them rearward if you have a taller person in the back. While this no doubt would compromise the room for those in the third row, it adds a very practical benefit if you’ve got additional adults in the back short term. The only slight disappointment with the third row seats is that they don’t quite fold flat. I see this as adding a challenge to setting the Everest up for long-range touring, but truth be told it is not a dealbreaker, just something to consider when we install a fridge etc later on.
It is a small thing, but one of the other things I love about the Everest is that the sunglass holder built into the roof cavity is actually deep enough to hold a full-size pair of sunglasses. Nothing like something actually fit for purpose right?
There is a lot being said about the 2.0L engine, and while it does remain to be seen how robust the engine is longer term, I have to say that it has really impressed me. The bi-turbo engine puts out 157kw and 500nm of torque, which mated to a 10 speed gearbox keeps the engine rolling along in the optimum torque curve most of the time.
Compared to the Raptor, which has a different gear ratio because it runs smaller tyres, I’ve found the Everest feels a bit more spritely off the mark, despite being a similar weight. The majority of the time it stays between 1700 and 2000RPM, but the little motor isn’t afraid to rev out to 3750RPM where it produces peak power. The torque curve is quite flat, so it pulls right through the rev range.
Like most modern alternatives, the scheduled servicing interval is 15,000km, which I personally think is a bit more than I’d like – where I can manage I reckon I’ll service every 10,000 even if it is just an oil and filter change.
I’ve found the engine to be a good match for the vehicle so far. I’ll admit, like most modern Diesels, it makes a few interesting noises after turning it off, but runs very smoothly from the second you start it up, and you don’t feel too much lag under acceleration because of the bi-turbo. I find it is happiest with you being a little on the gentle side of the throttle and allowing the engine to do its thing, but if you want to put your foot down it is surprisingly responsive and pulls hard, before shifting up when it finds the right gear to shift up into for optimum torque.
Aside from smooth delivery and great power and torque figures, the impressive thing for me has been the fuel economy. Despite weighing in at nearly 2.5T with the tow pack added, I’ve managed an average fuel economy of 7.6L/100km. Yep, that is real world fuel usage, from a 2.5T vehicle. To provide necessary context, from a km perspective approx. 70% % of my driving is freeway driving. However, from a time perspective, somewhere between 55 and 60% of my time is spent on the freeway.
2.0 L and Towing
How does the 2.0L handle towing I hear you ask? I recently took a trip down to Victoria towing the T-van. On the way down I averaged 10.6L/100km. I had a headwind on the way back, which pushed the figure up to 11.3L/100km. And I wasn’t taking it easy on the Everest – that was sitting at the speed limit the wherever possible, so I reckon you could improve the figures if you were a bit gentler on the throttle.
As with any vehicle, while towing acceleration was slower, but I had no issue keeping to the speed limit, or accelerating to the speed limit at any point of my driving, and the engine never felt that it was decelerating under load because the gearbox very smoothly shifted down if it needed to.
I touched on it before, but I really love that the air conditioning is split not only into driver and passenger zones, but there is also a rear zone for the 2nd and 3rd row seats. Cleverly, the vents are in the ceiling, ensuring that the air reaches right to the rear. Control is via a panel behind the centre console, and it can be operated independently of the front. A great, practical feature for the family on hot or cold days!
There is also a 150W invertor standard which is located on the rear of the console, and this is useful for keeping smaller devices like ipads charged, as well as camera batteries of your laptop. The standard battery is an 800CCA version, designed to work with the additional load of stop start, so runs the invertor easily, although we will look to install a dual battery system to ensure we don’t flatten the main one, and also support additional requirements with fridge etc as we kit the Everest out.
Despite being based on the Ranger, where the Everest differs is the 4WD system, which has led some to come out and declare it is not a ‘real’ 4WD. I can tell you that from my experience, it is every bit the 4WD (if you choose that version), the difference is in how it operates. See, the 4WD version of the Everest is a full-time 4WD. It runs with 60/40 rear/front bias in power in normal mode, and an open or unlocked differential to avoid winding the diff up. The area the Everest has received the most criticism is that there is no ‘High 4’ mode which permanently locks the centre differential. Instead, Ford have engineered the centre diff to lock automatically as required, and clearly felt that this negated the need for a H4 mode. This has been polarising, but I don’t think it hurts the capability of the vehicle. The traction control system on the Everest has two components, which work well with the automatically locking centre diff to ensure that drive goes to the wheels that are able to use it. Firstly, you have brake traction control, which applies brakes independently to help drive traction and ensure drive goes to the wheels that can use it, and then you have torque traction control which electronically limits power out of the engine to help maintain traction. There is also a proper low range, and when you select that, engine traction control is turned off, but brake traction control works. Additionally, the Everest has a rear locker, and when you turn it on, the system maintains brake traction control on the front wheels, which many other manufacturers don’t.
Like most vehicles with IFS, you don’t have the same flex and travel, but technology advances have overcome the issue of not all wheels being on the ground. At first, it is quite strange the idea of keeping your foot on the pedal gently when the wheels spin and the car stops, before you feel a slight shudder as the traction control system works out what is happening. It is even stranger when half a second later, the vehicle suddenly continues forward confidently, even if there is only drive to 2 wheels. But it is effective and it works.
On top of the traction control, there are 4 terrain modes that dial up and down different sensitivities to optimize performance across a range of terrain from mud to sand, and even rocky terrain.
Stock ground clearance is very hard to comment on without measuring competitors, because there is no consistent standard that they measure from. It used to be ground clearance, which is the distance to the lowest point on the car excluding wheels and mudflaps etc, (and was usually the bottom of the diff), but many now measure it as running clearance which is different again, and many don’t clearly state the basis on which they measure which makes a comparison very difficult.
As far as the Everest goes, the numbers provided at 227mm are comparable to competitors, and just shy of the Ranger height by 10mm. I’d definitely like it to have more clearance, and we will be looking to adjust tyre sizes and suspension within legal limits to optimise it, but I think it is fair to say that any enthusiast will always like the idea of more! Clearance isn’t terrible, and on the few tracks I’ve taken around the Central Coast, I’ve managed to navigate it without getting caught up yet or scraping. I’d like to think I show mechanical sympathy for my vehicles, so I haven’t deliberately tried to get it caught up, although I was also surprised that I didn’t catch in a few of the areas I’ve driven.
The infotainment area is good, with Apple Carplay, and I genuinely enjoy the Ford system, including the inbuilt navigation. My one bugbear is that the maps are only updated periodically, which means that sometimes I can’t find newer addresses.
What was it like towing?
As mentioned, towing 1500KG was no issue for the Everest and it is rated to tow up to 3100KG in the 2.0L variant. I had planned to include a tow test of over 2 tonne as part of this review, but COVID-19 squashed those plans -watch this space for that once life returns to normal.
As part of the towing test, I did push as much weight forward onto the ball as I could, and managed 180KG of download. At this weight, I did notice the rear suspension start to sag slightly, with some gear in the boot, but I didn’t find it affected the ride.
Towing was smooth, and the 2.0L delivered plenty of torque and power – it is definitely up to the task so far.
Payload and towing capacity
The Everest payload is quoted at 713 KG for the Trend. This is without the tow pack, but it is a solid payload figure, given GXL Prado has a 665KG payload. Max towing capacity is 3100KG for the 2.0L and 3000KG for the 3.2L.
Visibility around the vehicle is very good for driving and reversing, and this is aided by an excellent reversing camera, although it can get affected by decent rain (giving it a wipe works a treat though).
Overall, I’ve been pretty happy with the Everest so far. But what are the bugbears or annoying things?
I’ve never been a fan of the auto stop/start – I just find it unsettling to stop at a set of lights and have the engine stop, and then that split second pause as it starts up again before you can move off. My one bugbear in this realm is that despite the flexibility in most of Ford’s system to turn on and off functionality, I can’t permanently turn this off – every time I get into the car I need to manually turn it off.
Rear seats don’t fold flat
Rear seats don’t fold fully flat – The way the second and rear seats fold creates plenty of room if you need to load up and take boxes or other things. However, it doesn’t quite fold flat, which will not doubt create some challenges as we look to fit the Everest out as a tourer. It is definitely not the end of the world, and truth be told, the angle isn’t far from flat, but it is noticeable.
Auto-wipers – As I said at the start, there is so much technology packed into these cars (and Ford is leading innovation here), but it isn’t always positive. The wipers by default auto adjust to rain. Sounds great, but I’m really a minimalist wiper – that is, I like to use my wipers on the lowest setting possible, and I like to constantly adjust them while driving. So to have it automatically done is strange, but then for it to decide it needs to be different to the speed I want gets frustrating quickly. Luckily, again you can turn this feature off.
In-built Navigation system
Navigation system – I like the factory system – just wish the maps would be updated more often because I’ve found a few times that the system doesn’t recognise newer addresses and I’ve had to resort to Google Maps.
So far, I think Ford has put together a brilliant and capable Wagon in the Everest. It is perfect for the family, and more capable off-road than it gets credit for. It is packed with great technology, and I’m genuinely surprised that it isn’t taking more sales from the Prado given the technology, comfort, fuel economy and payload it offers. I’m really looking forward to building it into a tourer in the coming months and getting the chance to unlock its full potential. Watch this space!