The Ford Everest is a large SUV based on the Ranger ute and introduced locally in 2015 – becoming an indirect replacement for the Territory SUV built in Australia between 2004 and 2016.
A second-generation Ford Everest was released in September 2022, with four models available in the local line-up. As with the original Everest, the development of the latest model was led largely by Ford Australia.
With a distinctive new front grille and signature C-clamp LEDs, the Ford Everest is bold and brash and available with either five or seven seats.
The current Australian line-up consists of Ambiente (4x2 and 4x4), Trend (4x2 and 4x4), Sport (4x4) and Platinum (4x4). Ambiente and Trend models are powered by Ford’s 154kW/500Nm 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine, while Sport and Platinum get the 184kW/600Nm 3.0L V6 turbo-diesel.
All models utilise a 10-speed automatic transmission, with 4x4 variants equipped with a full-time 4WD system.
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Story continues: Ford Everest Sport 4x4 review
Ford has taken the advances made on the T6 Ranger ute and applied them to its Everest wagon that also rides on the T6 architecture. In doing so, it has created what could be the perfect touring wagon for the Australian family.
The new Everest came with a new-model variant in the range, the Sport, which sits in between the popular Trend and the top-of-the-line model that’s now branded as the Platinum in lieu of the Titanium as it was called on the previous generation.
The Everest Sport is available in 2WD or 4WD drivetrains and the choice of the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder or 3.0-litre V6 diesel engines, while inside, all Sport models are fitted with seven seats.
Here we’re testing the V6 Everest Sport which starts at $69,090 plus on-road costs, but it must be noted that as of the February production run, the price will go up to $69,590 and extra standard equipment will include black stand-off roof rails, a 360-degree camera, zone lighting, tow bar and integrated trailer-brake controller.
Powertrain and performance
Producing 184kW of power and 600Nm of torque, Ford’s new V6 diesel engine makes the Everest unique in its class as the only vehicle powered by a 6-cylinder engine.
The V6 engine, which has its roots back with Land Rover and Ford Australia’s original SUV, the Territory, delivers seamless torque throughout its rev range and while not earth-shattering in its performance, its smooth, quiet power delivery contributes significantly to the Everest’s high levels of cabin quietness and refinement.
The engine is backed by a 10-speed automatic transmission which has been redeveloped since its introduction in the previous model Everest and Ranger where it was behind the 4-cylinder engine. It’s now smoother and more precise in its shifting and faultless in its performance.
One small gripe we have with the 10-speed is its manual shifting application which is done using thumb buttons on the right-side of the transmission gear selector. These buttons are small and not as tactile or usable as a fore-and-aft movement of the shifter itself or even paddle-type levers behind the steering wheel.
The 4-wheel drive Everest Sport feature a new transfer case that offers 2WD, 4x4 auto, 4x4 locked high range and 4x4 locked low range settings. The previous generation of Everest had an on-demand 4x4 system that didn’t give the driver the option of 2WD.
Actuation of the transfer case is easy via buttons within a dial on the console. Turning the external ring of the dial selects the multi-terrain modes for normal, towing, Eco, Slippery, Mud/Ruts and Sand driving. There’s also a locking rear differential that integrates with the electronic traction control on the front axle.
All these modes and features can also be selected via the off-road display in the huge centre dash screen after pressing the off-road button on the console.
On-road ride and handling
The Everest uses a separate ladder chassis to which the body is mounted. It uses an independent suspension set-up at the front featuring double wishbones and coil springs, while at the back is a live axle suspended on coil springs and a multi-link set-up utilising a Watt’s-link for lateral location of the axle.
It’s a suspension design that has served the Everest well over the previous generation of the model and is made better thanks to the wider wheel track and longer wheelbase of the latest model. This has resulted in improved stability, handling and ride control of the big family wagon.
The suspension is exceptionally well-composed when driving over rough ground and doesn’t let potholes and bumps unsettle it, as can be the case with live rear-axle vehicles. For a big wagon, it’s almost a sporting ride that will reward enthusiastic drivers.
The Everest Sport rides on 20-inch alloys as standard, but a no-cost option is the 18-inch wheels and all-terrain tyres as fitted to this test car. The tyres are 255/65R18s.
The Everest Sport impressed us when we pointed it at a deep-rutted pinch that we thought might challenge its off-road credentials. The ruts soon have its wheels in the air and panels close to the hillsides, but the Everest’s electronic traction-control made progress easy, both going up and down through the pinch.
The 4x4 Everests have a dual-range transfer case, rear differential lock, electronic traction-control and multi-drive settings that all combine to make the Everest pretty handy off road.
The wider wheel track of these latest T6-based Fords not only makes them more stable at speed but also gives a bit more suspension travel at the tyre to keep them on the ground for best traction.
It’s still not great wheel travel and the Everest picks up wheels easily but the well-calibrated ETC does an excellent job of keeping the car moving. The optional 18-inch alloy wheels and all-terrain tyres fitted to this car no doubt helped and are a better choice than the 20s if you are heading off road.
While the Everest Sport gets the black-out treatment on the outside, inside there’s a touch of luxury such as heated and cooled leather seats with powered 8-way adjustment up front, a sliding second row, and split-folding third row. The centre of the dash features a 12-inch screen that includes all your A/V controls, HVAC and Ford Sync 4 functions, while ahead of the driver is an 8-inch configurable digital dash that allows you to set up your gauges and info to how you like to use it.
Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard as is a wireless phone-charging pad in the console. We did find that the wireless charging made the phone quite hot and preferred to use a cable plugged into the USB port. You also get more reliable CarPlay connection when using a cable.
Safety-wise, there is AEB, side airbags that extend through to the third-row occupants, a centre airbag between the driver and front seat passenger, lane-keeping assist that has road side detection so that it doesn’t rely on the white lines, blind-spot indicators, reversing emergency brake, post impact braking, trailer-sway control, 360° camera, and radar cruise control. The blind-spot indicators work with the Sync 4 trailer set-up to take into account the length of your trailer and adjust the range it works over.
Unfortunately, Ford only sees fit to include the tyre-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) as standard on the Platinum Everest, so its not available on the Sport.
There’s plenty of room for front-seat passengers, while room is adequate for two adults or three kids in the second row. The third-row seat is surprisingly accessible for an adult, but a tight squeeze once you’re in there. They fold flat into the floor when not in use to give a large, long cargo space with a 12V power outlet back there.
Ford quotes the capacity behind the second row of seats to be 898-litres with 259-litres left with the third-row upright and in place. The Everest Sport has a powered tailgate. The steering column is manually adjustable for both reach and height.
The Sport, like all 4x4 Everest 4x4 models has a 3500kg towing capacity, a 6250kg GCM and a 696kg payload. It offers a good balance of standard equipment and payload capacity but like all 4x4 wagons, it’s something you need to keep in mind if you are fitting accessories and carrying passengers. You don’t want to exceed the 3150kg GVM.
Being closely related to the Ranger ute, there is an abundance of accessories available to allow the owner to build the Everest to suit his or her needs. These come from both Ford and the aftermarket, and also include Ford’s partnership with ARB to offer ARB accessories that are covered by the factory Ford warranty, provided they were ordered at the time of vehicle purchase.
Ford has delivered a vehicle that should surpass everything else in its class in terms of performance, refinement, safety and features. The fact that this is a new model in a class of aging competitors plays a big part in that, but the Everest is a big step up from anything before it.
The inclusion of the V6 diesel engine makes the Everest unique in this category and is the major contributor to its refinement both on and off road. The extra money for the V6 engine over the bi-turbo 4-cylinder engine is money well-spent, as it takes the Everest to a higher level of driving, one that you’re otherwise paying $100K or more to be in.
2023 Ford Everest Sport specs
Things we like
- Superb V6 and 10-speed powertrain
- Class-leading levels of safety
- Excellent off-road capability
Not so much
- Fiddly transmission shift button
- Inconsistent wireless CarPlay connection
- Complex dashboard screens
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