Australia’s Ford Territory has been the local brand’s sole large SUV entrant since its release, supplemented by the mid sized Kuga and that car’s predecessor, the Escape, after dabbling with the Explorer. As October 2016 sees the cessation of manufacturing in Australia for Ford, the move to full importation sees world engineered cars arriving in dealerships, such as the rather large Everest. A sibling car to the Ranger, it’s built using the same ladder chassis and powered by the torquey (470 of ’em from 1750 to 2500 revs) 3.2L diesel.It’s the range and amount of torque, like the Ranger, that makes this six speed auto equipped beastie an ideal highway cruiser. Settle into the rhythm on the highway and it quietly lopes along, wafts even, with just 2000 revs on the tacho at the legal limit. Overtaking is somewhat of a chore though, as the five cylinder diesel gets raucous, the gearbox drops back a gear or two and time stretches out….normal acceleration is the same, from a standing start, with a hard press of the loud pedal creating mucho noise. 100 is seen but count on ten seconds plus if you choose to do it with a modicum of decency.
Economy barely crested 9.5L/100 kilometres, staying closer to 9.9L/100 and used in a country highway cycle for perhaps 90% of the week. Having a tank close to the size of a swimming pool will help, however, with an 80 litre receptacle on board to hold the diesel.
Get it out on the freeways and highways and the driver, front passenger and rear seat passengers are cossetted with a soft ride, absorbing the lumps, the bumps, the ripples and dips. There’s a sensation of a slow pogo through the bigger dips, however, but the suspension needs to do double duty when you take it off road. The huge twenty inch diameter tyres at 265/50 (The entry level Ambiente gets 17s and mid level Trend rolls on 18s) contribute to the sponginess thanks to the firewall height and 36 psi pressure. The width of the rubber, from Goodyear, adds to the surefootedness of the big car, allowing the driver to feel confident with the grip levels. Steering response is also high, with very little freeplay and a well weighted feel.
Bear in mind it’s the same engine and gearbox package as the Ranger Wildtrack and that car’s cousins in 4×4 model range. The Everest moves that up a notch with a selectable range of drive programs, with Mud/Grass/Snow/Rock/Road modes (similar to that seen in the Land Rover and Range Rover) selectable via a dial in the front centre console. As does the Ranger, there’s a lockable rear diff as well.
Added tech in the form of Hill Launch Assist and Hill Descent Control backs up the off road cred the Everest has. There’s 225 mm ground clearance and if you wish to take your mountain swimming, there’s a wading depth of 800 mm.
All of this will come to naught if the brakes don’t inspire confidence, and they don’t. There’s the same dead inch or so of travel, a light bite and no real sensation of retardation, needing a longer press on the somewhat overly soft pedal. City driving, just like the Ranger, became a mission of planning ahead. With a kerb weight just shy of 2.5 tonnes, that feeling of “when will they bite” simply isn’t good enough.
Outside, the Everest is big enough to form its own gravitational field. For starters, it stands taller than most people, at 1837 mm tall. It’s wide at 1860 mm (not including mirrors) and is long at 4892 mm, but shorter than the Ranger. That also translates into plenty of interior room, with the front passengers getting a whopping 1058 mm of legspace whilst the rear seat (middle row, more correctly, as Everest is a big seven seater) get by with 939 mm. There’s 1440 mm of shoulder room at the front, with virtually the same in the back at 1432 mm.Because it makes the TARDIS look small, you need a decent aircon system and Everest Titanium covers this. Controlled in more detail via the touchscreen for the front, there’s fan speed and temperature control dials on the end of the centre console for the rear section, next to an overseas style 230V power point. There’s vents in the roof, surrounding the full glass roof, circular and adjustable for direction and flow.Stylewise, the dimensions certainly make the Everest seem imposing; the front end is subtly different from the Ranger, with the headlights taller due to the LED driving lights set into the lower section, plus there’s normal driving lights inset deeply into silverish bumper facade. The grille is heavily chromed and less hexagonal, while at the other end the tail light structure is smoothly rounded, LED lit, and displays a double U shaped glow at night. The tailgate is power operated, naturally, with keyfob, interior and rear interior operation via a light to press button on all three. It’ll chime politely at you to warn you it’s in motion and has a memory function.The aforementioned 20s have plenty of clearance in the wheel well, again due to the expected (but probably hardly ever to be used by a buyer) off road prowess. The guards around the wheel wells have a fluidity to them, a smooth and almost organic style, bisected nicely by the running boards between front and rear.
The window line is around chest height for the passengers, so there’s plenty of easy viewing and balances the exterior’s vertical styling as it gently rises into the rear pillar.The interior’s colour scheme was a surprise, being a dullish battleship grey theme, rather than black on black or black versus something light. The plastic wood trim didn’t quite fit the colour scheme, in A Wheel Thing’s opinion and the Everest logo on the passenger side glovebox looked decidedly American. Although the front seats were leather and heated, cooling wasn’t an option and that’s an oversight for the Aussie market. Being Ranger derived as it is, the dash is a direct lift, with the same LCD screens either side of speedo, the same options available via steering wheel tabs, with the addition of roll and yaw angle information being made available.
You’ve got the same blindingly simple to use but fingerprint attracting touchscreen in a four quartered design, with Navigation, audio (including DAB), aircon and Bluetooth pairing of the smart phones. And here’s a story…loaded up the phone with music and hadn’t paired the phone with the car. The voice controlled Sync2 system only picked up the three tunes that were on the phone before more was added but after a reboot of the handset saw them all….and would only play for four minutes before disengaging. Using the USB port was problematic as well, as the connections also disengaged, possibily moreso due to the ride quality over a very bumpy tarmac road.
The middle row seats are tilt fold, via a lever on the side and add to the capacious cargo space available, with up to 2010 litres on offer. With the third row in use, there’s still a handy 450 litres. Said third row are also power operated, in keeping with the Everest Titanium’s luxury aspirations.
Given the family aspect of the Everest, it was a shame to not find a coolbox, rear window blinds, perhaps even a roof mounted DVD/Blu-ray player. Compared to the Kia Carnival Platinum, which is as likely to see as much off road action as the Everest, and has those features, they’re questionable exemptions.
At least there’s lane keeping assist, parallel park assist, tyre pressure monitoring, blind spot monitoring and forward collision alert, along with airbags all around including driver’s knee and curtain side ‘bags to keep the family well wrapped should things go awry. For extra peace of mind, there’s the three year/100,000 kilometre warranty, five year perforation warranty and twelve month/15,000 kilometre service intervals plus complimentary roadside assist for twelve months.
A Wheel Thing found the Everest Titanium to be a frustratingly mixed bag and of questionable value. With a driveaway price at around the eighty thousand mark, an interior not quite up to the grade you can get from BMW, Audi, Volvo and even Kia’s Platinum Carnival for the price being asked, sluggish acceleration, those frankly crap brakes, against a drive system that you could find in a Land or Range Rover, the grip levels, the fact you could almost live inside it due to the interior room, it tries to be the best of a broad spectrum and doesn’t deliver. One can only imagine how the resale value will go against the others as well.
Make up your own mind, if you’re in Australia. Take one for a drive, a good drive, and check out the online info here: 2015 Ford Everest