Ever since the release of this generation of the Ford Everest, it has always been the motorist’s choice when looking for a PPV with excellent driving dynamics and plenty of high-tech features. When it first debuted in 2015, the Ford Everest was the first in its class to have features such as automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and semi-automated parallel parking assist. Fast forward four years later, Ford has given the Everest a much-needed refresh, bringing along with it an all-new 2.0-liter inline-4 EcoBlue turbo diesel engine, both the single turbo and the twin-turbo found in the Ranger Raptor. How much do these changes improve the Ford Everest? Let’s find out.
The 2020 Ford Everest is only available in two variants for now: the Titanium 4×2 and Titanium 4×4 Bi-Turbo. This means that all 2020 Ford Everests look the same across the two variants. For this year, the Everest’s exterior changes are extremely minor, limited only to a slightly redesigned front grille, black foglight housings, and a new set of 20-inch alloy wheels. The side profile and rear fascia remain the same as before. This is not to say that Ford has not done its homework. In fact, the Everest is able to stand the test of time so well, only minimal changes were needed to be made to keep it updated. Sticking to classic lines and conservative shapes also meant that the Everest did not need to conform to trends and fads in automotive design.
Likewise, the interior changes are very minor, mainly through the addition of a few piano black trim pieces to make the interior feel more up-to-date. The highly functional gauge cluster with its handy twin high-resolution multi-information displays remains unchanged. I did notice that Ford’s SYNC3 infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto felt more responsive than before, though, in the first place, lag was never an issue with the previous system. New for this year is a passive entry and push-button start system for more driver convenience. Unfortunately, the steering still does not provide telescopic adjustment, though I personally find the driving position to be already good enough for my body type. Still, some drivers may find it difficult to set their ideal driving position as a result.
At the back, the Ford Everest provides a good amount of space for those occupying the second rows. It’s wider than its competitors, which means it’s also better at accommodating three people across the interior. A large panoramic sunroof comes as standard for the Titanium 4×4 Bi-Turbo, flooding the interior with plenty of light as well as a view of what’s above. Other amenities include electronically adjustable seats for both driver and front passenger, leather seats, a handy 230 V socket, which enabled me to charge my laptop while inside the Everest, and a power-folding third-row seat.
Another handy new feature for the 2020 model year is the addition of a hands-free power liftgate, in which a simple wave of the foot with the smart key fob with you is needed to automatically open the Everest’s liftgate.
Perhaps the biggest change to the Everest is its powertrain choices. Both variants utilize Ford’s new 2.0-liter EcoBlue turbocharged diesel engines in single and bi-turbo guise. The single turbo motor produces 180 hp and 420 Nm, while the bi-turbo motor is the same one found in the Ranger Raptor and Ranger Wildtrak 4×4, which produces 210 hp and 500 Nm. Both engines are mated to Ford’s new 10-speed automatic transmission co-developed with General Motors.
During the first day of the media drive, I handled the Titanium 4×2 with the single turbo. As typical of Ford’s diesel engines, most of the torque is down in the lower rpm range, which means it does not need to be revved hard in order to get the Everest moving from a standstill or during low speed overtakes. Off the line, the base engine is very punchy. As a matter of fact, you can even chirp the rear tires quite a bit if you want to. There’s a bit of turbo lag when you mash your foot on the throttle when the situation calls for hard overtakes, but it’s nothing too bad. Because all of the engine’s pulling power is at the lower revs, it runs out of torque quite easily as it reaches the higher RPMs.
This is where the new 10-speed automatic comes in. Many of its gears have a short ratio, compensating for the engine’s lack of grunt at higher RPMs. As a whole, the new 10-speed automatic generally does a good job of kicking down to lower gears when overtaking. Its shift pattern does not need to be sequential since it is able to skip a gear or two when needed for better performance. However, the transmission often jolts the cabin when it skips a couple of gears when downshifting. Also, since there are so many gears to work with in the first place, the transmission can be a bit hesitant as to which gear it should downshift.
During the next day, I then switch to the top-of-the-line 2.0-liter bi-turbo diesel engine. Surprisingly, the most powerful diesel engine in its class feels a little bit less responsive to accelerate when coming from a standstill compared to the 4×2. This is due to the Titanium 4×4 bi-turbo’s permanent 4WD system, which is unlike its competitors that default to 4×2 when it is not needed. Where the bi-turbo engine makes up for is its meatier torque delivery in the mid-rpm ranges, providing a much stronger response and acceleration than the single-turbo diesel engine when you put your foot down to overtake.
The permanent 4×4 system also meant that the bi-turbo Everest was more confident driving through the torrential rains we’ve been through. Though we were not able to bring it off-road, Ford says that the Everest’s water wading capability is at 800 mm, which is one of the highest in its class.
The fuel economy figures for both engines are quite good. Through a mix of mainly provincial roads and a short drive going in and out of EDSA, the Ford Everest was able to do 9.8 to 13 km/l for the single turbo 4×2 and 8.3 to 12.3 km/l for the bi-turbo 4×4 variant, which are both quite good for its class with the power these engines produce.
Ford did not highlight any suspension changes, but because the newer engines are smaller, there’s less mass up front. As a result, it handles slightly better, with less of the pitching and nose dives compared to its predecessor. Despite riding on 20-inch wheels wrapped in low profile tires, the new Everest is still one of the nicer riding PPVs out there, being able to absorb bumps better than many of its rivals. The Everest’s Active Noise Cancellation feature definitely helps in keeping the interior quiet.
What I still am not a fan of is its overly-light and numb steering. The lightness is appreciated at slow speeds and when parking, but when driving through mountain roads, it’s hard to tell what’s happening at the front wheels. I just wish for a slightly heavier steering rack whilst providing better road feel so it would be more confidence-inspiring to drive the Everest through the twisty mountain roads.
With so much standard tech and driver convenience features, the Ford Everest remains to be on top of the class when it comes to technology. Standard on both Titanium variants is a handy radar-based blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert, while 4×4 variants get even more sophisticated stuff such as adaptive radar cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning with lane keeping assist. Lastly, the Ford Everest remains to be the only vehicle in its class with a semi-automated parallel parking assist feature which Ford calls Active Park Assist. This comes on top of an already comprehensive list of standard safety features such as 7 airbags, front and rear parking sensors, as well as a reverse camera.
Futureproofing means being able to conform and adapt to future technologies today so it will not easily become obsolete, and so far, Ford’s refreshed Everest is more than ready for the future. With commendable driving dynamics, punchy new engines, as well as having the most technologies of tomorrow, today, the Ford Everest carves its own niche in the PPV segment. While its MSRP of P1,995,000 for the Titanium 4×2 and P2,299,000 for the Titanium 4×4 Bi-Turbo may seem expensive on paper, this is made up by the fact that the Everest brings so many unique features to the table that even today in 2019, its rivals have not even caught up with the features the Everest offers.
As a bonus, Ford has improved the cost-of-ownership for the new Everest. Rather than the usual two preventive maintenance service (PMS) annually, Ford’s engineers now recommend a once-a-year PMS plan thanks to the new 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel engines. This should make the new Ford Everest financially easier to own for many customers.
4×2 Titanium 2.0: P1,995,000
4×4 Titanium 2.0 Bi-Turbo: P2,299,000