I saw Ford demonstrate their Ranger at the last Sydney Motor Show. Ford had cunningly set up a display by stacking shipping containers.
With several together at angles and 45° ramps at each end, drivers took us up the ramp, along the top of the containers and down the other side.
They stopped half way down, then reversed up again before completing the downward leg.
While few of us will want to drive along shipping containers 007-style, some of us might fancy a steep slope or two.
The exterior has a handsome chrome grille and broad bulging wheel arches with wheels that are off-road ready.
I don’t know why car makers go to all the trouble to make wondrous mountain-conquering master pieces, only to saddle them with tyres that would be taxed by little more than an Eastern Suburbs gravel driveway.
To that end, Ford will replace the standard 20” wheels with 17” rims and tyres at no cost for off-roading.
The Titanium has a decent leather interior, and while I wouldn’t call it luxurious, it certainly feels comfortable and sturdy. The design is familiar to anyone who has been in a ranger.
The interior is the same as a Ranger with one or two little tweaks.
The infotainment system makes all functions available from the home screen which is split into 4 functions: climate, audio, phone and navigation, and has Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
From the home screen you can press any of 6 radio station buttons, and you can see some of your pone functions without having to faff about going between functions.
That’s one of the few systems with such flexibility.
The climate and audio functions are repeated in buttons below the LCD screen.
There is a shedload of tech and here is a short sample: automated parking, blind spot and cross traffic detection, radar cruise control, active noise cancelling for the cabin, automatic high beam, electric 3rd row seats for freeloaders, and electric tailgate.
The Active noise cancelling samples cabin noise and plays the opposite wave back through the audio system.
I’ve seen this before and it can be a bit hit and miss. This one works well.
It’s a shame you can’t turn it off just to see the difference because that would really make a good story.
The active noise cancelling makes the cabin spookily quiet, though not as quiet as the superb Sahara.
Drive and Engine
The real surprise is the 5 cylinder 143kw/470Nm 3.2 turbo diesel which feels effortless at all speeds.
It doesn’t hit in the back of the head with the punch of a lusty V8, rather it pushes you urgently forward with its mountainous of torque.
We took the Everest up the M1 to Newcastle, just for a lark. I thought it might feel awkward being so big but instead it felt free and eager.
It was so comfortable that we both said we could have easily kept going. A few hundred k’s each way felt like a doddle.
The Watts-Link suspension made it supremely smooth.
To help the driver further, the electric steering detects uneven or crowned roads or cross winds, and will then apply a little corrective torque to compensate.
The stability control will detect rollover and intervenes so you don’t make a feckless tit of yourself.
It all works off-road too. There, hill start assist and decent control, plus a selection of pre-programmed off-road settings make driving feel like “you’ve got an expert onboard”.
The torque will switch between driving wheels in “auto”, and will even put all torque just to the one wheel with grip if needed.
You can choose to lock the diff with another button forcing full torque to both rear wheels even if one is off the ground.
I hasten to add we did no off-roading in the Everest but have done it before in a Ranger. It’s delicious.
Everest drives like an SUV rather than a car, but all serious off-roaders do.
Most of the SUVs on the road now, even the luxury ones, are nothing more than pumped up station wagons.
They may have all-wheel-drive (AWD), but this is very far from pucker the mudding capability people think they’re getting.
They don’t have hi and lo range or locking diffs and are often built on car platforms.
They are simply not rugged enough to survive long in the wilds of the outback.
Even proper four-wheel-drive buyers probably won’t want to take a 300 grand Rangie where the Duco will be history before it gets into second gear.
A second hand Lexus, Sahara, Range Rover or Infiniti make attractive propositions but for anyone wanting a new option, the Everest Titanium comes fully loaded.
If there is one fault, it might be the 6 speed auto where I’d hope for an 8 speed.
Although the auto is smooth, the engine would be even more economical especially at cruising speed with those few extra cogs.
Ford has an excellent lane keeping assistant. If you drift out of your lane you feel a shimmy in the steering wheel.
If you’re too thick-headed to do anything about it, the computer applies subtle torque to the steering to guide you back in if you let it.
This only happens at speed, and if there is no indication used. It’s terribly clever stuff and makes your life much easier.
Blind spot detection helps in a beast this big too.
It will flash a thoughtful reminder light which will save more than a few motor cyclists.
Not So Good
- Not the most luxurious interior
Facts and Figures: 2018 Ford Everest Titanium
- Engine: 3.2 litre four-cylinder turbo diesel 143kW/470Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed auto 4WD
- Safety: Five stars
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
- Origin: Thailand
- Price: from $74,701