The Ford Everest has found its way into around 12,500 Aussie driveways since launching three years ago. The popular and rugged SUV has won the hearts and minds of a large cross section of society, from families through to grey nomads. Now with the arrival of the refreshed 2019 model Ford Australia says it has listened to what current owners want and expressed a desire to draw customers from other brands. Chris Bowen took the new line-up on an extensive drive program from coastal NSW to the world heritage listed Blue Mountains.
The headline act is a new-generation powertrain that offers a 10-speed automatic and 2.0-litre bi-turbo four-cylinder engine. The 3.2-litre turbo five-cylinder turbodiesel still exists, depending on what grade you go for. The usual Ambiente, Trend and Titanium badges have hung around along with 2WD, 4WD and five / seven seat options.
Perhaps somewhat controversially the new engine is exclusive to the range topping Titanium model, but an option on the 4WD Trend. Ambientemodels are restricted to the tried and tested 3.2-litre. The new unit, sourced from the recently launched Ford Raptor, is rated at 157kW / 500Nm as opposed to the larger capacity engine that remains at 143kW / 470Nm.
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is standard on Trend and Titanium, with the base Ambiente missing out entirely although Ford Australia admits it will become available next year. The top two variants also score pedestrian detection. Keyless entry along with push button start is now standard across the 2019 range as is Ford’s SYNC 3i infotainment system with satellite navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and DAB radio.
The entry point into the Everest family remains the Ambiente. Available in both 2WD and 4WD the budget model retains the 3.2-litre turbodiesel five-cylinder engine with six-speed automatic. You’d need a keen eye but there’s also a new front grille along with revised facia plus front and rear bumpers, as with the rest of the range. The headlamps have been upgraded to new halogen projector bulbs with daytime running lights.
The rather large exterior mirrors can now be folded in and to dampen exterior noise a new acoustic windscreen is fitted. Helping to lift what is still a rather sparse interior are some new finishes including darker ‘Ebony’ decorative trim.
Ford believes the Trend is the sweet spot in the line-up and offers customers higher levels of options. The Bi-turbo and 10-speed is standard with the RWD drivetrain while optional on the permanent 4WD offering.
Aside from the aforementioned safety there’s leather accented seats. The driver’s seat is power adjustable in eight different directions while the headlamps are upgraded to brighter HID units. New to Trend is a hands-free power rear liftgate, leather trimmed gear shifter and traffic sign recognition.
Over and above the Trend, the Everest Titanium completes the picture but only comes with the smaller capacity 2.0-litre Bi-turbo diesel engine. There are newly designed 20-inch rims as standard, a tow-bar, plus a leather trimmed handbrake.
The Elephant in The Room.
If you think a big, heavy SUV based on dual-cab platform deserves something brawny capacity wise, best to look away now. Or perhaps take a deep breath and suck it up. Over a few hundred kilometres of combined driving, including moderate off-road work I really can’t fault the engine.
Ford’s newest diesel really is the premium unit here, it’s more refined, sophisticated and simply better engineered in every respect. Speaking of respect, it earns most of mine simply because it’s paired with a beautifully calibrated 10-speed automatic. That cog-heavy box never hesitates or tries to second guess you. It’s intelligent when it comes to shift selection and simply just goes about business seamlessly.
But I like many others, am a capacity man and as a result Ford is really hedging its bets with the limited avaibility of the original 3.2-litre. That engine from behind the wheel does feel more muscular and potent, even though on paper that’s not the case. Surging through 10 gears gives the impression the smaller engine lacks pulling power, where as having just a six-speed spread gives an illusion of sharper performance.
It also pays to look at the efficiency of both motors. The 3.2-litre pulls a combined average of 8.4L (RWD) and 8.5 (4WD) while the new arrival manages 6.9L (RWD) and 7.1 (AWD). Braked towing capacity sits at 3000kg for the big gun and 3100kg for the Bi-turbo.
If I were to buy a Ford Everest, my heart would stray towards the 3.2-litre but really whatever brain I have left would probably talk me into the sensible choice. It’s a tough one, Ford will soon know how Aussies feel about such a conundrum.
The first thing I noticed about the Everest is just how quiet the cabin has magically become. Acoustic windscreens and active noise cancellation have contributed to a significantly more comfortable driving experience. While I’ve always been impressed by this vehicle, I often wondered why suburban warriors would choose such a truck-like family car. Now much of that has been addressed I’m far more convinced it falls closer in line with softer style SUV’s, especially given the supremely light steering.
Stabiliser bars have been reconfigured to provide a more stable, controllable ride. The big Everest will still lurch and pitch when pushed, but the reigns have been tightened just enough to give it even broader appeal. Ford knows for many this vehicle will never see a speck of mud.
Before on roads the 2019 Everest range now starts from $49,190 for the five seat Ambiente RWD 3.2-litre. At the very top sits the Titanium 4WD Bi-turbo 10-speed automatic at $73,990 including luxury car tax.
The pricing structure is as follows.
- Ambiente RWD 3.2L 6AT five-seat – $49,190
- Ambiente RWD 3.2L 6AT seven-seat – $50,190
- Ambiente 4WD 3.2L 6AT five-seat – $54,190
- Ambiente 4WD 3.2L 6AT seven-seat – $55,190
- Trend RWD Bi-Turbo 10AT seven-seat – $56,190
- Trend 4WD 3.2L 6AT seven-seat – $59,990
- Trend 4WD Bi-Turbo 10AT seven-seat – $61,190
- Titanium 4WD Bi-Turbo 10AT seven-seat – $73,990 (incl. Luxury Car Tax)
- Third-row seating (Ambiente) – $1000
- Tow bar (Ambiente and Trend) – $1000
- Prestige Paint (Ambiente and Trend) – $600
- Prestige Paint (Titanium) – $780
To the naked eye it may appear not much has changed with the popular Everest. But a concerted effort has been applied to give a serious dose of Mr Sheen to an already polished product. The choice of two drivetrains and the placement of them in the line-up could prove risky for Ford, but the Everest has further distanced itself from competitors both incrementally and in the case of a new diesel dramatically. It’s an 8.5 / 10 from me.