2019 Ford Everest Titanium Long-Term Review
We have three months with the Ford Everest Titanium to find out if the bi-turbo engine, the seven-seat layout and its rough-road ability make it a must-buy for families.
What are we testing? The 2019 Ford Everest Titanium
Who’s running it? Isaac Bober
Why are we testing it? To find out if the Everest is the best family rough roader wagon.
What it needs to do? While we’ve got the Everest, we want to find out if it can do it all, from the school run to the supermarket shop, to highway runs, towing and off-roading.
11 November 2019: We fluffed around with the Everest but it was put through its toughest test yet late last week. We took out onto our usual 4×4 vehicle test track (we found a few extra tracks to test it out on too). To keep it honest, we had a Prado GXL on test at the same time (keep an eye out for road tests coming soon) as, off-road, Prado is still the benchmark. Where we test out our vehicles is the same place all of the other outlets test out theres…although I’d cheekily suggest we take harder lines on hills than they all do.
The Everest is easily the best of the pickup-based seven-seat wagons when it comes driving on-road and yet some have had doubts about its off-road ability. I mean, you don’t see a lot of them modified as touring 4x4s which seems odd as they’re comfortable and capable. But they’re also expensive and maybe that’s what holds some back… The Everest comes with Ford’s Terrain Management System which is essentially just a version of Land Rover’s Terrain Response system. Indeed, the rotary dial and the images used in the Everest are virtually identical to the Land Rover system. And it does the same thing.
There are four modes to play with: Normal, Snow/Mud/Grass, Sand, and Rock; TMS incorporates Hill Descent Control which we’ve discussed in another update. Depending on the mode selected TMS changes vehicle attributes such as transmission response, traction control settings and throttle response.
Normal mode: This mode is intended for on-road conditions and is the default mode the vehicle is in every single day. You should return the TMS to this mode once the need for any of the off-road modes has passed.
Snow/Mud/Grass: In this setting the gearshift response will be slower to downshift and upshift. This essentially keeps engine revs low to help prevent wheel slip. It might suggest this mode is for Mud and Snow, but in deep mud or thick snow you’re better off using the sand mode.
Sand: This is the mode you want when driving through soft, power-sapping surfaces such as sand or deep sticky mud. In Sand mode throttle response is increased and more wheel slip is allowed so the vehicle can maintain the momentum required to drive over the terrain.
Rock: When the terrain is very rough, select Rock mode. This will adjust the traction control system to suit the terrain and dampen the throttle response to allow for any bumping and bouncing of your foot on the throttle and a faster response from the traction control for when wheels are lifted in the air. Low range must be selected before this mode can be activated.
Low-range: You can engage low-range in either Normal or Rock modes. With low-range selected in Rock mode the transmission will not up-shift from first-gear unless manually shifted, giving you all the control you’d expect from a manual gearbox.
Rear Differential Lock: The Everest’s rear diff lock is one of the better designed systems on the market in that it’ll work in both low- and high-range (up to 30km/h) and it doesn’t kill brake traction control on the front axle which is great. It’ll also work with hill descent control. Another tick. What’s perhaps not so great is the fact the Everest doesn’t have a locking centre differential, rather it has a computer-controlled clutch pack with the same intention; being an active system the computers are constantly controlling how much torque to shuffle front to back.
While most standard four-wheel drives are better off being driven off-road without the rear locker engaged because they tend to kill traction control on the front, the Everest is best off being driven with the rear locker engaged. Indeed, on our lumpy hill climb, with the locker out, the traction control ran out of puff and the Everest failed to proceed. It was literally going nowhere. With the rear locker engaged, it was night and day, and the Everest started working its way through the lumps and wasn’t stopped again until it reached the top of the hill.
The great thing about the hill climb we use is that there several cross-axle moments, large deep holes and more where you get to see the suspension compressing and flexing, and wheels lifting off the ground. For a stock-standard 4X4 on road rubber it’s a tough test indeed. The Prado made easier going of the climb thanks to its longer-legged suspension but I was impressed with the Everest. Sure, it fluffed around a lot more and its suspension lacks flex and travel, and ground clearance is limited but its traction aids and easy drivability mean its comfortable and capable in demanding terrain. Before I leave you this week, let’s briefly touch on ground clearance.
Ford claims the Everest has 225mm of ground clearance which is about the minimum you want for a touring off-roader but according to my measuring tape, from the ground the bottom of the diff pumpkin (usually the lowest point on a 4X4) you’re looking at just 220mm. But that’s not an end to it. See, the sway bar runs down slightly lower than the diff pumpkin making it the lowest point from the ground to the vehicle. The measurement for that is 210mm. So, really, the Everest’s ground clearance is 210mm.
28 October 2019: This should be the post showing you a roof rack being fitted to the Everest but life doesn’t seem to be going to plan at the moment. I promise, the roof racks will be done soon. But, first let’s talk about why we’ve gone with the system we have. The Everest has slim-line roof rails running along the roof as standard and via its accessories catalogue offers buyers/owners the cost-option of installing racks, the brand Ford has aligned with is Rhino Rack, this is a rock-solid Aussie company that’s been making quality gear since 1992.
Most of the vehicles in the Unsealed 4X4 carpark are fitted with some sort of Rhino-Rack set-up and, so, we thought we’d go with a Rhino-Rack system for our Everest. It helped that Ford was okay with it too. Rhino-Rack recommended we install a Backbone and Pioneer system – and we’ve got a Batwing awning to install too.. The Backbone is a vehicle-specific mounting system that replaces the slim-line rails and then allows the Pioneer system to be mounted to that. It’s intended to allow room for the sunroof to still function. But it’s not necessarily a DIY job…it could take up to five hours to install as the roof lining needs to be removed and the slim-line rails replaced with the Backbone system.
Why not just use racks? Well, if we were going to be using the Everest for carrying bikes, skis, fishing rod or a kayak, it might have been easier and quicker to opt for a more conventional set-up, but without the ability to add too much extra storage to a vehicle we don’t own, we opted with the Backbone and Pioneer. And that’s simply because the Pioneer system is essentially a large platform that makes loading and storing stuff on the roof so much easier.
Now, let’s quickly talk about roof load…the Everest has a maximum roof load limit of 100kg only. When you consider the roof rack system we’ll be installing weighs 30-plus kilograms, you’re not left with a lot of weight capacity on the roof. Indeed, Rhino-Rack recommends between 60-69kg depending on the rack system for on-road driving and somewhere between 40-49kg for off-road driving. When parked up, the Rhino-Rack system offers a static roof load limit of more than 300kg. So, anything you carry on the roof and drive around with, must be less than the limits mentioned, and that includes the awning if you leave it mounted on the vehicle all the time…it’s weight has to be subtracted to ensure you stay within dynamic weight limits for the vehicle.
Just quickly, carrying anything on the roof of your vehicle will raise the centre of gravity and affect ride and handling. Meaning, if you’ve got almost 100kg of stuff on the roof and then tip into a corner at speed you can expect your vehicle to roll a lot more. More than this, fuel consumption will increase as your creating more wind resistance…but we’ll go into this in greater detail when we fit the roof rack system. Oh, and Rhino-Rack reckons you shouldn’t use stretchy tie-downs on the roof to avoid weight movement; only use rigid straps with minimal flex.
11 October 2019: Apologies for the radio silence bit we’re short-staffed at the moment so it’s been a case of all hands on deck to get magazines out and keep websites ticking over. The Everest hasn’t been idle, though and plans to improve its touring capability are well underway. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks it’ll look very different to what it does now. Moving on.
My plan was to test out the Hill Descent Control on the Everest. Sure, I know plenty of four-wheelers are against a computer controlling how fast or slow you travel down a hill and, that’s great if you’ve got a Jeep Wrangler which in low-range first gear will literally inch down a hill no matter how steep it is. But, for most modern 4×4 wagons, HDC is the way to go. And the HDC set-up in the Everest is excellent, in fact, it’s probably the best in its segment. It’ll drop down to 4km/h which seems maybe a little too quick when on a steep hill but it isn’t and it won’t switch itself off when it levels out. And, even if you hit the brakes it’ll engage again as soon as you come off the brakes. Speed is controlled via the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ buttons on the cruise control.
The photos you see hereabouts show the Everest on a very steep hill even if my dodgy photography skills don’t make it look steep. It’s long and steep and there are some humps and ruts along the way too. Perfect test for HDC…but it threw up something else.
See, halfway down the hill I wanted to stop, jump out and grab a quick snap to show you all the vehicle, well, on the side of a hill. But with the vehicle stopped, in P for park and the handbrake on and my foot still on the brake pedal all was fine. As soon as I took my foot off the brake pedal the Everest began to slide. There was a graunch as the centre clutch engaged and the thing stopped sliding. But, just as quickly the centre clutch disengaged thinking the vehicle had regained traction and it then started slipping and so on it went all the way down the hill. And remember, the transmission was in Park and the handbrake was on, as you can see in the images. Glad I didn’t try and climb out of the vehicle.
This is not a phenomenon unique to Everest. The problem is that with a lot of these wagon 4x4s the handbrake only works on the rear axle. Meaning, when you’re pointing downhill, and you’re on a steep hill, then you’ve got weight transferring onto the front of the vehicle and the now unbraked front axle (as you’ve taken your foot off the brake pedal). With less weight on the back axle, the vehicle will begin to slide; the handbrake unable to hold the vehicle still.
For the sake of getting a photo, I let the vehicle do its thing – slipping and gripping and gently steered it towards the side of the track as the track began to rise slightly. As you can see the Everest slid on an angle but as the ground began to rise the weight transfer began to equalise and there was enough weight on the back for everything to do as it should. The vehicle stayed put while I got out and took the snap and then quickly ran back and continued driving it down the hill.
So, if you find yourself in a similar situation, please don’t try and get out of the vehicle and hope it’ll stop within an inch or two. And don’t reef the wheel and try and nose the thing into the side of the track either. You could end up rolling the thing down the hill. So, simply give up on getting out at that spot and drive the vehicle to the bottom of the hill under control.
That said, anyone else experienced a similar situation with the Everest or any other 4×4 wagon?
21 September 2019: Two deadlines in two weeks meant the Everest hasn’t been out much, but the mental weather we’ve been experiencing in NSW across the last month meant we saw snow early last week. And last week’s dumping of snow on the upper Blue Mountains came a month after a record dumping across the same area. Perhaps the weirdest bit of the snow day was that it had followed a glorious summer-esque day.
While I would have much preferred to hit the tracks and get some shots of the Everest in the snow, it wasn’t to be. The rain started to fall only a few hours after the snow had stopped, and it soon washed away.
Was interesting to watch people driving with their vehicles covered in snow and using the windscreen wipers to clear the snow. That’s a huge no-no, unless you want to bust your windscreen wipers. You should always start up your vehicle with the windscreen demister on and use a soft-bladed scraper to remove the snow/ice from your windscreen. Never pour hot water onto a cold windscreen to clear it…cold things meeting hot things don’t mix very well.
13 September 2019: Short one this week with Unsealed 4×4 on deadline, so, the Everest has mostly been used to ferry me from work to home and back again. But, it’s not all as boring as it sounds. See, the Everest has just ticked over 2500km. Well, 2700km, to be exact. But it seems it was 2500km that was the magic number.
The Everest has had a fairly easy run-in period with us but at, say, 60km/h and below there was some notchiness to the gear shift. Usually that was when easing off the throttle and then getting back onto it straightaway, or when stomping on the throttle to get through an interection, or just when I was generally driving to trip up the transmission.
Until we’d hit 2500km, tripping up the transmission was a cinch. But no more. Not sure if other owners have experienced this, but the eight-speed automatic is now super smooth in all driving situations. Well, all road-based driving situations. Last week we were out in the bush and, as Josh wrote, he struggled a bit with some thumping in low-range. This was the same sort of thumping I was experiencing at low road speeds. But that’s all gone.
What else is there to report this week? The Everest is still filthy dirty inside and out after last week’s trip off-road. That will be remedied on the weekend. Until next week. – Isaac Bober
6 September 2019: This week, I took the keys to our long-term Ford Everest and used it as a crew car on a comparison test. Indeed, this was the Everest’s first proper trip off the black stuff.
Loaded up with 4×4 recovery gear, a boot full of camera gear and two shooters, the Everest made short work of the drive from the office to our test location, out the back of Lithgow, NSW. The bi-turbo diesel engine and the 10-speed automatic transmission made it easy to keep up with and overtake traffic and the suspension tune, even on 20s offered a plush ride.
The two cars being compared (one was the Raptor, the other is a secret, for now) were better set up to handle the tracks we were on, one had mud-terrain tyres and the other aggressive all-terrain rubber. But, the Everest on its 20s and road-oriented tyres followed everywhere the other two did with the exception of one technically challenging hillclimb; with better tyres I reckon the Everest would have made it up without too much drama.
We already knew the Everest was good on-road; probably the best in the segment, but I’d never driven one off-road. First thing I noticed was the simplicity of changing into low-range. No longer do you need to put half your body weight through a lever to get it to engage, but instead a simple press of the button and away you go. The engine proved nice and strong when crawling at low speeds thanks to peak torque arriving at 1750rpm, but we noticed the 10-speed auto didn’t seem to enjoy being in low gears in low range when traversing steep tracks. We’ll spend some more time exploring this niggle over the coming weeks. Another observation was that the traction control seemed to allow a little too much wheelspin before grabbing the spinning wheel, but as we’ve noted before, better tyres would have probably fixed this as we probably wouldn’t have lost grip in the first place.
In the end, after driving the Everest across dirt, gravel, rocks, up and down hills, and through rivers, one of the most impressive features was the fact it could do all of that and then provide passenger car-like levels of comfort once back on the highway. And you used to only really be able to say that about a Ranger Rover… – by Josh Needs.
August 30 2019: Our Ford Everest Titanium long-termer arrived only a few days after I did at Unsealed 4×4, but after a couple of weeks’ worth of work commuting, I’ve already put 1000km on the clock. And about the only dirt it’s seen has been a quick run or two along a short and tricky track near the office which is where we grabbed these quick snaps.
The Everest copped a very mild update towards the end of last year getting a new-look bumper and grille but, I’ve got to say, unless you parked them side by side, you’d be hard pressed to spot the differences. The inside copped some similarly minor updates, but it was the addition of the Ranger Raptor’s bi-turbo diesel engine and 10-speed automatic transmission that grabbed headlines. And, while I don’t want to open up that can of worms right now, I can say that, for me, the bi-turbo is more suited to the Everest than the Raptor.
While models like the mid-spec Trend offer access to both the 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel and the new 2.0-litre bi-turbo, the Titanium Ford has given us is available exclusively with the bi-turbo motor. Ideally, we would have been long-term testing the Trend because, if you’re looking to buy a touring 4×4 then the Trend is probably the model you’d look hardest at.
The Titanium on the other hand walks a fine line between trying to appeal to those who want to explore and also take bites out of, say, non ute-based 4×4 wagons like Toyota Prado. With the update last year, while other Everest saw a price rise, the Titanium actually copped a price drop of $711, now listing from $73,990+ORCs.
For the coin it gets not-very-off-road-friendly 20-inch alloy wheels, a tow bar (but without brake controller), semi-auto parallel park assist, dual glass panel powered sunroof with power blind, eight-way power front passenger’s seat with manual lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, power fold third-row seats (individually – 50:50), ambient lighting and illuminated stainless steel front scuff plates.
While Ford offers a no-cost 18-inch alloy option for the Titanium our long-termer has arrived, as mentioned, on 20s. This isn’t ideal but given we’re not going to be building this thing up for Outback travel, we should be able to get away with it for most of the things we’ve got planned.
The Everest has always done a really good job of hiding its ute-based origins, in fact, I think you can confidently claim that as far as on- and off-road ride and handling go, it’s the pick of the ute-based 4×4 wagons. And it’s much better than a Prado too. Leave the bitumen and the Prado edges the Everest but it’s not by much and, again, the Everest is probably at the head of the pack as far as the rest of the ute-based wagons are concerned when you head off-road. Sure, there’ll be those who’ll argue something like an MU-X with its proven diesel engine is more of a known quantity, but then it lacks the refinement of the Everest around town which is where you’ll spend 90 percent of your time.
The Everest also offers a clever traction control set-up, as well as an adjustable Terrain Management System which we’ll go into further detail on in another article, and a rear differential lock to ensure there’s not a lot it won’t go up and over. Where the Everest steps ahead of its key competitors is when the rear differential lock is engaged and you run out of wheel travel, the traction control system remains active on the front axle meaning you’ll be able to maintain forward momentum. We’ll show you this in action in a video review in the coming weeks.
But, in short, our quick run out a long a few tracks this week told us a few interesting things about the Everest that we’ll explore in more detail down the track. For instance, the Everest runs out of wheel travel compared with, say, the Toyota Prado, but its traction control system is excellent and so is grip in low-range. The track we drove is only short but there’s a real mixture of terrain, from hard dirt, to soft bush sand, to rocks and ruts and even some mud. The Everest handled it all pretty easily, to be honest, but the highway tyres meant the traction control system was working harder that it would have needed to if we’d had something more aggressive around the 20s. And, going forward, this will be one of the first things we’d like to sort out. The off-road angles are 29.5-degrees approach, 25-degrees departure and 21.5-degrees rampover and the Everest offers an impressive 800mm wading depth, and the front and rear overhangs are 916mm and 1137mm, respectively.
So, what will we be doing with our Everest while we’ve got it? Well, beyond writing regular updates here online and in the magazine, we’ll be fitting some accessories to it to make it a little more rough-road friendly, taking it on some trips, and just generally living with it to find out what the Everest is like to live with on a daily basis. If you’ve got any questions you’d like answered about the Everest then leave a comment below. – Isaac Bober