Ford refines Everest large SUV
Ford Australia says customer feedback has played a large role in the changes made to its updated Everest large SUV, with a particular focus on making the ladder-frame off-roader more comfortable and easy to drive.
Speaking to Goauto at the launch of the refreshed model, Ford global program manager for Everest Dan Ciccocioppo said the updates aimed to improve the vehicle’s refinement and noise levels.
“What we have focused on has been around the ride and plushness and the noise, vibration and harshness, NVH, to make it more appealing with more car-like attributes,” he said.
The Everest, which is mechanically related to the Ranger pick-up, plays in the same segment as more comfortoriented offerings such as the Mazda CX-9, Toyota Kluger and Kia Sorento.
Changes have been made to close the gap on its rivals.
Ford engineers have redesigned the Everest’s stabiliser bars for added stiffness, which has in turn allowed the spring rates to be lowered, resulting in greater roll control and a softer and plusher ride quality.
NVH improvements have also resulted in a four decibel improvement in noise insulation thanks to noisecancelling technology and the fitment of acoustic windscreens. “Everest has only been in the market for three years and we’ve been constantly getting customer feedback during that time and trying to bring in changes as we get that,” Mr Ciccocioppo said.
“This model update is really more about significant changes based on all of that feedback.”
Aside from the refinement improvements, the biggest change to the new Everest has been the introduction of the 2.0-litre twin-turbo-diesel fourcylinder engine borrowed from the updated Ranger, which is mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission.
Ford says the new engine, which outputs 157kw-500nm, improves fuel economy over the existing 3.2-litre five-pot oil-burner by 17 percent, and results in a lower cost of ownership over time. It also adds 100kg to the car’s braked towing capacity, up to 3100kg.
The range is split between the two mills, with the entry-level Ambiente coming with the 143kw-470nm fivecylinder engine, while the mid-spec Trend offers a mix of the two, and the range-topping Titanium comes with a bi-turbo engine only.
Ford Australia Everest product marketing manager Karen Larkin said so far, the Trend had been by far the most popular variant and she expected that theme to continue with the updated version.
Changes to specification include making Sync3 with satellite navigation standard across the range, while the Ambiente entry-level variant also gains halogen headlamps with manual levelling and daytime running lights, folding side mirrors, smart keyless entry, a laminated acoustic windscreen, push-button start, new gear shifter and darker interior finishes.
New to the Trend is autonomous emergency braking, traffic sign assist, HID headlamps with auto-levelling, LED daytime running lights, power tailgate, leather-accented seat trim, eight-way power driver’s seat with manual lumbar adjustment and a leather-trimmed gear shifter.
Along with the new engine, the Titanium now comes with 20-inch alloys, leather-trimmed handbrake and a tow bar as standard.
Different versions are offered with either five or seven-seat layouts, while buyers can also choose between rear or all-wheel drivelines.
While the Ranger is offered with a part-time four-wheel-drive system, the Everest is different in that it employs a full-time on-road all-wheel-drive set-up.
Pricing has been updated slightly, with the point of entry increasing by $1200 to $49,190 plus on-roads for the rear-drive, five-seat Ambiente, which is offered with the choice of rear or all-wheel drive and five or seven seats. Optioning seven seats adds $1000 to the price, while the 4WD drivetrain demands a $5000 premium.
Three Trend versions are available, starting with the $56,190 rear-drive bi-turbo, up to the 4WD 3.2-litre at $59,990 and the 4WD bi-turbo from $61,190. All Trends come only with the seven-seat option.
The sole Titanium variant adds a sizeable $12,800 premium over the most expensive Trend at $73,990.
WE’VE LISTENED: Customer feedback has played a large role in the changes made to Ford Australia’s updated Everest large SUV.