Published on April 18th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair0
2023 Ford Everest Titanium Review
The Ford Everest Titanium marries high technology with a tough off-roader’s fundamentals.
The Ford Everest is part of a very niche group of products – pick-up passenger vehicles. These are a group of vehicles that take the appearance of SUVs but have the mechanicals of pick-up trucks. Think Fortuner and Pajero Sport and you’ll understand the kind of vehicle we’re talking about. Typically, Ford tends to struggle in delivering value against their Japanese counterparts and the story is no different with the Everest, which arrives between RM263,888 and RM308,888.
At this price bracket, customers in Malaysia will expect a lot of features and a premium design to match the premium price. We test drove the top-sped Everest Titanium and learnt the appeal of such a vehicle in the market.
This all-new Ford Everest is built upon the bones of the new Ranger, which has just undergone a once-in-a-decade generational refresh. It’s still built on a ladder frame, meaning you get a tough chassis built for abuse on harsh off-road conditions. This sort of chassis also usually translates to poorer NVH and ride and handling.
As for the NVH properties, I think Ford did a rather good job. The 2.0L 4-cylinder bi-turbo diesel hums away in the distance and disappears at cruising speed. This engine is powerful and the 10-speed automatic makes it super efficient as well, so you’ll have no trouble doing cross-country drives on a single tank of diesel. Road noise is kept to a minimum and highway cruising in the Everest is actually quite nice for all occupants.
Unfortunately, there’s no running away from the limitations of such a chassis. You’ll feel every bump and road surface imperfection in the Everest. Even at lower speeds, ride comfort is upset over speed bumps, potholes and undulations.
This thing is not the best people-mover out there. Then again, none of its direct rivals are particularly comfortable either and this segment of vehicle is made to take a lot of punishment off-road while still being presentable enough for daily driving on-road. With that in mind the Everest performs slightly above average by at least making itself super easy to drive.
That being said, the Everest does excel in a number of situations. If you’re looking for the most tech-laden drive in the segment, this is the SUV for you. You get two very large displays with some of the best animations in the business. Drive mode selection and 4WD selection is all done with by twisting a knob and clicking a button. Plus, there’s also a very advanced self-park feature, which takes care of steering, pedal and transmission inputs. All you have to do is shift to ‘Neutral’ and hold down the ‘Park’ button while the system figures out the rest. Of course, the driver is still in charge of safety and must intervene if there’s imminent danger.
This fully-automated system is made possible by a very ‘electronic’ drive experience. Not only is the electric power steering able to move the wheels on its own, but the brakes and E-shifter as well. That means if you leave the car in ‘D’ and turn off the engine, the transmission will automatically shift itself to P and the selector too will move itself to the appropriate position. Very cool.
Speaking of tech, the Everest also comes with a 360-degree parking camera, wireless Apple CarPlay, a wireless charger and a panoramic sunroof as well. A lot of the functions are well integrated versus the direct competition. Sitting in the driver’s seat, the interface feels extremely car-like which is something only the Ford Everest provides in this segment. Even the impressive full-spec Toyota Fortuner still feels a little heavy in terms of steering feel in contrast.
In terms of looks, the Everest strikes a very nice note here. In darker tones, it has the aura of an FBI or Secret Service agent’s vehicle. There’s a rugged and angular American-ness to this SUV from all angles that many will appreciate. It has a go-anywhere, do-anything vibe with a dash of understated professionalism that’s missing in this segment.
High-performance LED lights and C-shaped LED daytime running lights also add to the upmarket and high-tech look of the Everest. The use of chrome is not overdone here and we also liked the use of glass-like application over the ‘Everest’ wordmark at the rear.
The colour selection for Malaysia is quite attractive as well. Absolute Black, Aluminium Metallic, Arctic White, Equinox Bronze, Meteor Grey, Sedona Orange are available for all models while Lightning Blue is reserved for the base Sport trim level.
On the inside, the seat upholstery of the Titanium specification is finished in black leather, which looks great and is easy to clean. Ford have given the upholstery an asymmetrical stitch pattern for a little added funk while keeping the rest of the interior somber and rugged.
The steering wheel is wrapped in leather that’s nice to touch but not the most premium feeling. The theme of the Everest’s interior Is high-tech, rugged and easy-to-use. The wheel is light, the pedal inputs are natural and organic.
Auto Hold is present and can be disengaged through a digital submenu. There’s an electronic parking brake as well. As mentioned earlier, the gear shifter is not physically connected to the gearbox and so it feels super light to shift. Unfortunately, the tactility and design of the shifter is a little too light for us, so shifting from ‘Drive’ to ‘Reverse’ is a little tough to judge and we often found outself accidently in ‘Park’ halfway through a maneuver.
The rear seats are decently bolstered but the third row of seats are not the best place to be due to a fixed angle and poor overall support. That being said, this is what’s to be expected in the segment and Ford has expanded all metrics up a notch over the previous generation.
To relieve the limitations of the segment, the Everest comes lot of equipment especially on the Titanium spec. The rear occupants have a dedicated blower selector as well as power ports and even a 3-pin socket port for use with some laptops and phone chargers! Another unexpected feature is the electronic folding mechanism for the rearmost seats.
Hidden away under the relatively small boot are some tools for a tyre change and access to the under-mounted spare wheel. There’s also a little cubby hole keep wet or dirty items isolated from the rest of your cargo.
Overall, the Ford Everest Titanium does a pretty good job distinguishing itself in the segment. It’s packed full of tech and looks like a unique American SUV. Safety is taken care of well on the Everest with 7 airbags, all the expected braking and stability aids plus hill descent control, hill launch assist, roll-over mitigation, adaptive load control, blind spot information system, lane departure warning, high beam assist, rear cross traffic alert, reverse brake assist, and of course autonomous emergency braking with forward collision warning.
Unfortunately, despite the very extensive kit list, it still suffers from a bump-sensitive ride on tarmac and it’s a little too tall for practical people-moving owing to its pick-up truck bones. I transported my aging parents in the car and they struggled to climb in and out of it even with the integrated step and handle. While the additional space in the rear-most row was very useful, the niche application of the Everest in our market makes it a tough pill to swallow at this price point.
In the end a lot of East Malaysian customers are going to go back to the high-spec Fortuner if they want something with tough bones. Those Peninsular Malaysia customers who find the Hyundai Palisade’s pricing unpalatable may consider the Everest as an alternative but must accept that this is a truck in very high tech clothing.
Ford Everest Titanium Specification
Engine: Inline-, -Valve, DOHC, Petrol
Gearbox: 10-speed Conventional Automatic
Max power: 210PS @ 3750rpm
Max torque: 500Nm @ 1750-2000rpm