Most manufacturers use the word “Sport” to denote a particular grade that could either be smaller or more performance-oriented. Say, for instance, the Range Rover Sport was a lighter and more athletic version of the standard Range Rover. And then of course locally there's the Montero Sport, which is essentially a baby Pajero when it first came out.
That's why when Ford came up with the Everest Sport back in 2020, a lot of people expected it to be the SUV version of the Ranger Raptor or the type of vehicle you'd fly over sand dunes with 7 people on board. Now we all know that wasn't the case back then. The next-generation model has arrived, and I was one of the first few people to try it out. And unfortunately... it's still not the Everest Raptor we've envisioned two years ago.
But then again, I believe Ford makes a unique proposition for the Everest Sport that's similar to the two Sport models I've mentioned earlier. One is to appeal to a younger audience – like yours truly with its styling, and two, to offer a lower sticker price without feeling shortchanged. The Sport sits just right below the top-of-the-line Titanium in the next-generation Everest hierarchy. At PHP 2,089,000, you can have all the things you need for a midsize SUV without being overloaded with all the high-tech electronic stuff that top-spec trims have nowadays.
Let's kick things off with the looks. Compared to the previous-generation Everest, the new one is slightly longer and taller, but dimensions-wise the biggest change was with the width. That of course played a part in giving the midsize SUV a more imposing presence with its boxier and upright stance, as well as its handling, which we'll get to later on.
The C-clamp DRLs and the huge grille are the same ones found on the Ranger, while the back was significantly changed to accommodate the inverted L-shaped LED taillights. I do like how they did the rear end of the Everest, especially the smoked taillight lenses. But if you're looking towards owning one, you can take my word as a bit of advice – it's a good investment to put a protective film to preserve the look as it ages since the taillight lenses tend to easily accumulate scratches.
Now if you've gone over my previous articles and features, you'll notice my profound preference for minimal chrome bits. I and Niko actually had to choose between the Sport and the Titanium, and I was quick to say dibs on the Sport because... well, it's the less tito-looking one. Especially in this Blue Lightning color that's unique to the variant.
Most buyers would opt for either white, black, silver, or gray colors for easy maintenance, but I think the color blue makes the lines pop out more, creating a nice contrast with the blacked-out grille, badges, side mirrors, door handles, and the 20-inch wheels. It's great if you want to separate your Everest from all the SUVs in town. Not to mention, it's Ford's trademark color, so nothing screams “I am a Ford” louder than blue.
Inside the Everest Sport is where you'll see most of its differences from the top-spec Titanium+, beginning with the lack of a panoramic sunroof. Hop onboard at nighttime and there's no ambient lighting to welcome you. Look around the center console and you won't find a knob for drive mode and buttons for the 4x4 system because the Sport is only available in 4x2. If you know your Apple products well, then you'll find that you're given the standard model instead of the Pro or Pro Max when it comes to the instrument cluster and infotainment system of the Everest Sport.
But nevertheless, if you don't consider those things I've mentioned as necessities or deal-breakers, I think the Everest Sport's cabin is still a nice place to be in. Yes, the screens are smaller, but they do give out the same information as the larger ones found on the Titanium+. You still get the added convenience of wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as a voice command system.
There's still a wireless charging port in front to go along with USB charging ports and 12V sockets in all three rows, plus the same amount of cupholders and storage slots around the cabin. For convenience, the Everest Sport also has a power tailgate in case you're stowing a lot of stuff in the back. While the third-row seats are not power folding, there are easy-to-reach handles you can pull to fold it flat or rise it back up. And I almost forgot, it still has leather seats on all three rows. Simply put, Ford still did a great job putting together an interior that feels top-of-the-line without a top-of-the-line price tag.
Powering the Everest Sport is a 2.0-liter EcoBlue diesel with a single turbo, producing 170 PS and 405 Nm paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. Compared to the older Everest Sport, the new one gets 10 PS less power and 15 Nm of torque. On paper, this should be less “sportier” than its predecessor, or is it?
I'm glad to say, it's not. The Everest Sport provides plenty of pull whether loaded with passengers or not, and cruises along nicely on the expressway with the revs down. The six-speed auto has good spacing in between gears and provides decent fuel economy. In my entire time with the Everest Sport, I averaged around 12 kilometers per liter, and that includes driving the SUV to work, to the grocery store, and a quick back-and-forth trip to my province in the south. On the expressways, I was even doing 17 kilometers per liter with the cruise control (sorry, not adaptive) set to 100 km/h.
Even with 20-inch wheels, the SUV surprised me with how comfortable it is over the endless bumps and potholes of Metro Manila roads. The suspension leans towards the firm, but for me personally, this one's more balanced against the likes of the Montero Sport and the mu-X, which are mostly regarded as the best-riding SUVs in this segment. Steering is light thanks to electric power steering so it's basically effortless to maneuver the SUV around. While there's no 360-degree camera, the combination of the rear-view camera plus front and rear parking sensors did the trick for me in placing the Everest in tight parking spaces.
Now I might be saying a lot of good things about the Everest Sport up to this point, but I've also noticed quite a few nuances that Ford can still improve on with the SUV; one is the behavior of the transmission at low speeds. When the SUV is rolling between 15 to 20 km/h, I've noticed its tendency to hang its revs at around 1500 rpm even though I'm not actually stepping on the throttle. I'm not quite sure about the shift logic but it does feel weird whenever the SUV does it. It's like the engine has a busted idle control valve of sorts, but when you speed up a bit the transmission sort of disengages itself and drops the revs.
Another thing I found is with regard to the NVH levels of the SUV. Provided, road, wind, and tire noise are well suppressed, but outside noises especially those coming from trucks and loud motorcycles seem to permeate the cabin easily. Perhaps Ford should have used thicker glass to minimize the noise further.
Nuances aside, I think the 2023 Ford Everest Sport strikes the right balance between the features you need and the amenities you would want in an SUV. Priced at PHP 2,089,000, the Sport is very much in line with its rivals the Fortuner Q, Terra VE, Montero Sport Black Series, and the mu-X LS-E 4x2, and can compete pound-for-pound in terms of features even though it's set back with the lack of ADAS systems.
Overall, it's hard to find fault with the pickup-based SUV itself. In fact, if I would choose which one to drive, I'd pick the Ford Everest Sport against its rivals any day of the week. Now when it comes to owning one... I may have some reservations. But I really love the blue color.
- Make: Ford
- Model: Everest Sport 4x2
- Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve Inline-4 CRDi Turbo Intercooler
- Max Power: 170 PS @ 3500 rpm
- Max Torque: 405 Nm @ 1750-2250 rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed A/T
- Price as Tested: ₱PHP 2,089,000