Everest beast reaches rugged peak
Ford Everest is a big, rugged 4WD/ SUV that has been around in other countries since 2003 but did not arrive in Australia until the release of the third generation model in late 2015.
Although it’s fully imported from Thailand, it is an important model for Ford Australia as the company moves away from vehicle production while retaining local employment by providing technical input through its research and development investment.
Although the arrival of Ford Everest almost dove-tailed with the departure of the popular Territory, the two vehicles are quite different.
Everest is a serious off-roader that’s built on the same platform as the company’s Ranger ute while the locally produced Territory was a typical urban family wagon based on the Falcon.
Everest, as the name suggests, is big. At just under five metres long and over two metres wide, it takes up a fair bit of road space which converts into a versatile and spacious cabin capable of carrying up to seven occupants and gear in relative comfort.
Our Everest road test vehicle was the entry-level Ambiente allwheel-drive.
It comes with 17-inch alloy wheels which tend to look a bit puny inside the large wheel arches designed to cater for the 20-inches of the top-spec Titanium.
The big and bold chromed trap- ezoidal radiator grille is flanked by the latest in integrated projector headlight/daytime running light set-ups that improves visibility to approaching drivers in poor weather conditions.
At the back, there are sculpted tail lights with integrated LED lighting.
The higher specced Trend and Titanium models also get running boards.
Everest is available in three variants, Ambiente, Trend and Titanium spanning a price range from $47,990 to $74,701.
The entry-level Ambiente has five seats with a pair of third-row seats available for an additional $1000. Trend and Titanium models have seven seats.
Ambiente and Trend come with either rear or four-wheel-drive.
All Everest models are powered by Ford’s 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel Duratorq engine as used in the Ranger.
It generates 147kW of power at 3000rpm and torque of 470Nm from 1750 to 2500 revs.
Towing capacity of up to 3000kg is offered if the trailer is braked.
It’s not the quietest diesel engine we’ve encountered but should not be an issue with a vehicle of this sort.
The only gearbox is a six-speed automatic.
For off-road driving Everest uses Ford’s Terrain Management System to alter throttle response, transmission, traction control and an intelligent 4WD system to maximise performance under varying conditions.
From a knob on the centre console the driver can select from normal, snow, gravel, grass, sand or rock.
The control also incorporates hill descent control, which can be activated in any condition.
An electronic locking rear differential helps prevent the rear wheels from spinning while driving off-road, increasing traction in difficult terrain.
It can be locked automatically when using off-road TMS modes, or switched manually using the differential lock button.
All Everests are available with seven seats, either standard or as an option. The second row slides forward far enough to improve access to the back row.
Two adults and three children can travel in comfort although a third adult can get into the centre middle row with a fair bit of elbow contact.
The second row seats have a 60/ 40 split and the third row 50/50.
With all seats in place, there is a reasonable 450 litres of storage space left.
Lowering the third seats extends that to 1050 litres and with all five rear seats down, it can carry up to 2010 litres.
Ambiente and Trend have cloth seats, Titanium gets leather trim.
There are air-conditioning vents and controls at the back of the centre console to assist rear passenger comfort. All Everest models get dual-zone climate control.
There is a power-operated tailgate in the Trend and Titanium.
All Everest models employ an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen for infotainment system display and control together with a 4.2-inch colour instrumentation screen for driving data. Your local Ford dealer is Barnesby Ford, 9842 2933.
Ford Everest is a comfortable urban SUV with serious off-road credentials.