It's rather hard to believe that the Everest is approaching its sixth year in the local market. Since its launch in 2015, the Ranger-based SUV was consistently one of Ford's top-sellers, and sales remain strong despite its age. But now, an all-new Everest is coming in 2022, and we have high expectations for it.
Having reviewed various versions of the Everest over the years, we have to say that it's one of the most impressive pick-up based SUVs around. For something that was based on a truck, it was quiet, refined, and even car-like in some aspects. But of course, there is no such thing as a perfect car, and the Everest isn't exempted. With the redesigned model coming soon, we have a few suggestions on how they can make it even better.
More steering feedback
One of the reasons why the Everest felt light to drive was the steering. It was one of the early adopters of electronic power steering in truck-based SUVs, giving it near-effortless steering. However, that came at a price: feedback.
Because of the light steering, you needed constant steering input to guess where the front wheels were pointed. Sure, it weights up at higher speeds, but more feedback would be helpful to keep it on the straight and narrow. We're not suggesting to boost the steering effort, just a little more feel
It needs a steering rake adjuster
While we're on the subject of steering, the steering wheel needs an adjuster for rake. Right now, the Everest only has a tilt wheel. It may be enough for some, but shorter drivers are somewhat forced to stretch their arms or get close to the pedals to reach it. A telescopic steering wheel solves that minor problem, and it will provide the ideal driving position for more drivers.
Keep body motions in check
It's tough making a pick-up-based vehicle ride comfortably, but the Everest is one of the few that nailed it. What makes it more impressive is that the higher-spec Titanium variants ride on 20-inch alloys. If anything, the damping just needs a few more tweaks to hide its utilitarian roots.
We noticed the 2.0-liter EcoBlue-equipped models tended to wallow over uneven roads. Perhaps they can firm up the dampers a little bit for a more supple ride. Of course, the challenge here is maintaining a good ride without sacrificing handling and off-road ability.
Reduce fuel consumption
We never expected the old 3.2-liter straight-five turbodiesel to be fuel-efficient. From experience, you'd be lucky to get more than eight kilometers per liter in traffic with that engine. But when Ford introduced the new 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo diesel, we expected the fuel consumption to go down. However, it wasn't the case since it still struggled to get over 8 km/L.
More torque at the lower end of the rev range could help, while a few kilos off will surely add a few more kilometers per liter. We'll be happy if the new four-wheel-drive versions can hit 9 km/l without hypermiling in the city.
Re-tune that ten-speed automatic
We're now in an age where more SUVs have over six gears in their automatic transmissions. There are seven from Nissan, and eight from Mitsubishi. But Ford bested the two by offering ten-speeds in the Everest. It's a novel feature, but it isn't perfect.
While it was smooth on the highway, it tended to hunt gears at lower speeds. At around 60 km/h, it finds itself shifting in between fifth and sixth gear. Granted, it's not jerky, but you can hear it shift because of the engine's note. A re-tune should avoid that tendency and boost fuel economy as well. While we're at it, we'd like a mechanical "+/-" shifter, instead of buttons on the knob.
Bonus: Individual user settings for active safety features
The Everest brought in a safety revolution in the pick-up-based SUV class. With features such as lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking, you no longer needed an expensive luxury car to get these. However, some prefer to drive with some of these systems off. In particular, off-roaders don't want these devices on when they're hitting the trail.
One suggestion would be adding preferred user settings for these features. For instance, the first setting has all systems on, the second has select features turned off, and a third could be all off. Those settings will be saved so the driver doesn't have to reconfigure everything all over again. Another one could be a dedicated off-road mode that turns everything off when activated. That way, the beeps and buzzes won't alarm the driver when they're off-roading.
It would be great if Ford considered the suggestions during the development of the redesigned Everest. They're probably doing final tweaks and shakedowns as we speak since the launch isn't that far away. Of course, the only way we'll know if Ford did the enhancements is once they lend us the keys to one, and that can't come soon enough.