Back in 2003, when I attended the global launch of the first-generation Ford Everest at the Bangkok Motor Show, I thought: What a brilliant idea! An SUV based on the brand’s pickup! Not only did it mean that the manufacturer had saved a lot of money by adopting an existing platform and repurposing it for another application, it also meant that they came up with a sport-ute that had reliable and tough underpinnings from the Ranger (or Mazda B-Series).
Sure, the American automaker wasn’t the first to do this. SUVs, for the most part, had been built upon the chassis of light trucks. Mitsubishi, in particular, had released a similar product some seven years earlier in the first-generation Montero Sport (also called Challenger) based on the Strada. But while that SUV had been sold in the Philippines for a short while, the concept of a pickup-based SUV didn’t really take off in our market until the arrival of the Everest, which predated both the Toyota Fortuner (Hilux) and the Isuzu Alterra/Mu-X (D-Max). And, of course, the Montero Sport that Filipinos went crazy for was the second-gen model from 2008, not the original one.
Which brings me to the refreshed Everest—a face-lifted version of the current-generation model—which Ford Philippines officially launched last weekend. The big story here isn’t in the exterior styling, for the changes in this department are too subtle to be noticed. Good luck appreciating the slightly tweaked radiator grille, for instance.
No, the real news here is the addition of the Ranger Raptor’s engine-and-transmission combo. Yep, the new Everest 4×4 is now powered by the super pickup’s 2.0-liter biturbo diesel engine (210hp and 500Nm) and equipped with the latter’s 10-speed automatic transmission.
The other variant, a 4×2 truck, is propelled by a 2.0-liter turbodiesel motor (178hp and 420Nm) borrowed from the Ranger Wildtrak. Delivering all that power to the rear wheels is the same 10-speed gearbox found on the 4×4.
In more ways than one, the Everest is now truly like the Ranger—the Ranger Raptor, even—with a cocooned rear portion.
As this is a proper SUV and is less utilitarian in nature compared to a pickup truck, the new Everest boasts convenience and safety features that should appeal to families and tech-savvy individuals. These include automatic high-beam control, keyless entry, engine start/stop button, panoramic sunroof, SYNC 3 infotainment system, active noise cancellation, power-folding third-row seats, 4WD terrain management system, seven airbags, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, active parking assist, and autonomous emergency braking.
One feature I really like is the hands-free liftgate (or tailgate), which should be a godsend to both shopaholic women and gear-hauling men. Just extend a leg underneath the rear of the vehicle and the liftgate automatically opens so you can conveniently plop all the stuff in your arms into the cargo compartment.
The two variants of the new Everest are priced as follows:
- Everest 2.0L Biturbo Titanium+ 4×4 – P2,299,000
- Everest 2.0L Turbo Titanium 4×2 – P1,995,000
If you’re seriously considering this SUV, you might want to know that the available colors are Arctic White, Absolute Black, Meteor Gray, Sunset Red, Diffused Silver and Aluminum Metallic.
Think about it this way: Buying the new Ford Everest is now like getting two vehicles in one. You have a legitimate SUV with the heart and the inner core of a special pickup truck (minus the Fox Racing Shox front and rear dampers, obviously). Talk about unbeatable value right there. Let’s just hope Ford can step up its after-sales service game to make your ownership experience a great one.