I’m sure you’d agree that the fascination with sport utility vehicles has not abated in the least. In fact, this attraction has crossed into the realm of obsession. Figures bear this out, as one in every three vehicles sold worldwide comes from the segment – which broadened and gave birth to subgenres within its class, such as crossovers. SUVs today know no specific price point, either, and range from the affordable to the uber-premium. Even holdout brands had to yield to the pressure of their customers who clamored for the format.
The mid-sized SUV market in the Philippines is a highly competitive niche composed of major marques in terms of sales volume. Thus, it behooves automakers to put forth the best they conceive and make as the stakes are high.
The Ford Everest marque, now on its third generation, represents a huge leap forward for the Dearborn, Michigan-headquartered carmaker. Never before has the nameplate been this refined and engaging, while boasting class-leading qualities in a number of categories.
For starters, Ford says the current-iteration SUV tops the segment’s water-wading capability at 800 millimeters, and outpowers its rivals with 200 horses and 470Nm of output for its 3.2-liter diesel engine. The Titanium variant also wears the biggest wheels at 20 inches. For the Ambiente class, air-conditioning technology is another niche leader via Electronic Automatic Temperature Control. Changing direction is easy via Ford’s Electric Power-Assisted Steering versus hydraulic systems of price-point competitors at the Ambiente level. The Everest further distinguishes itself here via electronic stability control and traction control.
If you could single out the biggest strength of the Everest, it’s probably the incredible suite of technology that accompanies you on your drive. Testing out the Titanium 2.2-liter 4×2 AT variant, I am greeted by an engaging analog speedo flanked by two customizable digital screens that are very legible and high-tech looking. Its steering wheel affords a wide array of controls through a selection of buttons. As an iPhone user, I found the Apple CarPlay compatibility immensely thoughtful and convenient. Just plug in your device to access its most salient functions. Siri can guide you along hands-free for the duration of your ride.
But the aforementioned technological accoutrements in the Everest find their best applications in the name of safety and convenience. There’s Active Park Assist, which takes care of parallel parking at the press of a button. Meanwhile, the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) makes changing lanes and executing turns easer by alerting through indicator lights in the side mirrors if a vehicle is in your blind spot. The system also warns the driver of traffic coming from either direction when reversing out of a parking spot or driveway.
I also found the Lane Keeping System (which is fast becoming a standard on many new vehicles) useful especially during prolonged, taxing trips when you might drift into the next lane without realizing it. The feature vibrates the steering wheel to alert the driver, and can even apply torque to guide the vehicle back into its lane. Adaptive Cruise Control with Collision Warning enables the Everest to adjust to the traffic situation in its periphery even while accepting a pre-set speed. Once the road condition allows for increased speed, the vehicle accelerates. It can even detect the potential for an accident to occur and alerts with a brake light warning, then it pre-charges the brakes.
The heavy, solid doors of the Everest are indicative of good craftsmanship, and extends to the quality within. From a commanding position, the vehicle’s seats give you a sweeping view of the road, and you feel its heft that stretches almost five meters long, and is 1.8 meters tall and wide. At the back, a powered liftgate with chrome applique is another convenient touch. As a seven-seater, the SUV offers more than just token space on its collapsible third row.
All told, the Everest is distinguishes itself as a true heavyweight contender even in a segment that is getting more constricted all the time.