2016 Ford Everest preview
Ford would have to agree that their first Everest SUV was not a huge success. Its ice cream-like interior plastics were terribly dull and its leaf spring rear suspension simply couldn’t match the independent rear set-ups of its competitors, both in terms of ride comfort and cornering ability. But the new Ford Everest looks to raise the segment bar when it arrives on local shores in September this year, with much improved build quality, a bold new design, a swathe of advanced technology systems, impressive offroad and onroad capability, not to mention a premium interior with seating for up to seven passengers.According to Ford Asia Pacific’s exterior design manager, Dave Dewitt, ‘We didn’t want people seeing the new Everest as just another bakkie-based SUV and so the exterior design was intentionally different. We believe this vehicle will redefine the segment. Our biggest challenge with the design was to create a vehicle that had appeal across the 180 markets in which it will be sold. We had to balance both the rugged and premium aspects of its design. So it is that the sculptural design reflects both the Everest’s toughness and technological prowess.
As the Everest will be available in both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive variants, the Everest engineers opted for the Ranger’s existing ladder-frame chassis, in order to not compromise its torsional strength over challenging terrain. The big improvement to its rear suspension design is the new independent Watt’s linkage that will provide a more comfortable, stable ride as well as offer agile, predictable handling on the road.The newcomer’s off-road credentials are bolstered by an intelligent four-wheel drive system, an active transfer case with Torque on Demand, Terrain Management System, and best-in-class ground clearance of 225mm and water-wading capability to 800mm. Like Land Rover’s Terrain Response system before it, Ford’s system offers drivers four preset settings Normal, Snow/Gravel/Grass, Sand and Rock’ that variously alter the vehicle’s throttle response, transmission, four-wheel drive system and traction control. For extreme off-road terrain, drivers can also manually lock the transfer case in low-range 4WD for increased control.
The car-like interior is another leap forward and offers both a premium feel and excellent practicality with a first-in-class powered tailgate, 30 stowage spaces, multiple power outlets and flexible fold-flat second and third-row seating (the third electrically) a significant selling point over its rivals. Like the new Ranger and the Kuga before it, Ford have also included the latest generation of their in-car connectivity solution, SYNC 2, which features voice commands, an eight-inch touchscreen and 10-speaker sound system with an integrated subwoofer. Other contemporary technologies include Curve Control, designed to help drivers maintain control when approaching corners too quickly, and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert, which informs drivers when there is a vehicle in their blind spot while driving or when preparing to reverse out of parking spots.
Under the hood, the Everest is offered with a choice of the Ranger’s two diesel engines (3.2-litre five-cylinder TDCi and 2.2-litre four-cylinder TDCi), mated to either six-speed automatic or manual transmissions. Other standard technical highlights include Roll Stability Contro, Electronic Stability Program, Active Park Assist and Active Noise Cancellation which uses three microphones inside the cabin to detect and measure sound. A control module instantaneously generates opposing sound waves, which are then fed through the Everest’s audio system to cancel out unwanted noise. Ford claim the system offers greater refinement and lower NVH, specifically when seated in the rear seats.Pricing and final specification for SA will be available at its local launch in September this year.