2020 Ford Everest review

Everything you need to know about the Ford Everest large SUV, including pricing and features.

Ford Everest Trend
Score breakdown
Safety, value and features
Comfort and space
Engine and gearbox
Ride and handling
Things we like
  •   Drives well on road, and excellent off road
Not so much
  •   Ride and handling less polished than in passenger-car based SUVs

What stands out?

The Ford Everest has a choice of two excellent diesel engines, can seat up to seven, and offers the option of full-time, dual-range, four-wheel drive. Based on the Ranger ute, it is the first such vehicle to be designed and developed in Australia. Ford has done a good job of hiding the ute DNA: the Everest is comfortable on all roads but still very capable off road in 4WD trim and has a broad suite of active safety features including autonomous emergency braking. Rear-wheel-drive versions are available, and smartphone integration is excellent.

What might bug me?

Very little, although the Everest isn’t offered with a manual gearbox or a petrol engine.

Big kids will complain about the legroom in the third-row seats.

What body styles are there?

A five-door wagon is the only body style, and most Everests offer seven seats.

Some Everests drive only the rear wheels, while others drive all four wheels.

Every Everest 4WD has full-time four-wheel drive (which means it drives all four wheels even on normal roads). Everest 4WDs also have dual-range gearing (which allows you to drive comfortably at very low speeds off road).

Everest RWDs do not have dual-range gearing.

The Everest is classed as a large SUV, lower priced.

What features do all Everests have?

An 8.0-inch central touchscreen for controlling multimedia and cabin functions including satellite navigation, a 10-speaker audio system with AM/FM and digital (DAB+) radio, CD, AUX, iPod, and USB inputs, Bluetooth connectivity, voice control via Ford’s SYNC3 multimedia system with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (so that you can plug in a smartphone and display compatible apps on the touchscreen).

A rearview camera, which helps you see behind the car when reversing, and rear parking sensors, which tell you how close you are to obstacles. Power-folding external mirrors.

Cruise control, operated from buttons on the steering wheel, and trailer sway control.

Autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and traffic sign recognition that alerts you if you’re over the speed limit.

Halogen projector headlights that come on automatically when it gets dark, automatic high-beam control, daytime running lights, and front fog-lamps.

Active noise cancellation system and pollen air filter.

Three USB ports including one mounted on the windscreen near the mirror to make it easier to plug in devices like dash-cams.

Dual-zone climate control (which allows the driver and front-seat passenger to set cabin temperatures independently), with vents for rear passengers.

In all but one Everest, three rows of seats, for up to seven people. (In the Ambient RWD, the third row is an extra-cost option.)

Smart keyless entry that opens the doors without having the key out of your bag or pocket, and push-button engine start/stop.

Four 12-volt outlets, for charging mobile phones and the like, and a 230-volt outlet, for quick charging of laptops and tablets (via their household power adaptors).

Wheels made from an aluminium alloy, which look nicer than steel wheels.

Electronic traction control, which helps you go further in slippery conditions. Trailer-sway control, which helps you stabilise the car if a towed trailer is swaying from side to side.

Seven airbags. Electronic stability control, which can help bring a skidding car back under command and is mandatory on new cars. (For the placement of airbags, and more on Everest safety systems, please open the Safety section below.)

Every Everest 4WD also has a full-time 4WD system with high-speed and low-speed gearing, and settings for different off-road conditions such as sand, mud or rocks. Each Everest 4WD also has a hill descent control and hill-launch assist, and a rear differential lock, which helps maintain drive in very difficult off-road situations.

Every Everest carries a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, and five-year rust protection for the body.

Which engine uses least fuel, and why wouldn't I choose it?

The Everest is available with two turbodiesel engines, including a powerful four-cylinder 2.0-litre Bi-turbo shared with the Ford Ranger Raptor.

It has an official combined city/country fuel rating of 6.9 litres/100km in RWD Everests, and 7.1 litres/100km in the 4WD versions.

The main reason you would not choose the 2.0-litre Bi Turbo engine is that you want pay less for your Everest. The 2.0-litre Bi Turbo as an extra-cost option on the mid-spec Trend and Sport versions and only comes standard on the most expensive Everest, the Titanium.

The entry-level Ambient and Trend and Sport versions come with a five-cylinder 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo-diesel as standard, which consumes a still respectable 8.4 litres/100km and 8.5 litres100km for RWD and 4WD respectively. It provides effortless performance for most driving, but lacks the 2.0-litre engine’s overtaking power and is a little more on the noisy side (as many diesels are).

The 3.2-litre engine is linked to a six-speed automatic gearbox, while the 2.0-litre Bi Turbo has a smooth and responsive 10-speed auto.

What key features do I get if I spend more?

The least costly Everest is the Ambiente RWD, which has five cloth-covered seats, 17-inch wheels, the 3.2-litre turbodiesel engine and the features common to all Everests. (A third seat-row is optional for about $1000.) You can spend more to add a four-wheel drive system, other equipment, or both.

If you are content with the fit-out of an Everest Ambiente, you could add off-road capability by choosing an Ambiente 4WD, with either five or seven seats. That would bring you full-time 4WD, dual-range gearing, and a rear differential lock.

If in contrast you are happy with rear-wheel drive but want more features, you could spend a bit more again and have an Everest Trend RWD.

The Trend RWD brings you the 2.0-litre Bi Turbo diesel engine, satellite navigation, and adaptive cruise control (which automatically limits your speed to that of a slower car in front) and autonomous emergency braking with vehicle and pedestrian detection

Headlamps dip automatically for oncoming drivers, and there are LED daytime running lamps. Windscreen wipers operate automatically when it rains.

The Trend also has seven seats as standard, with power operated driver’s seat and with leather trim in the first and second rows. If you expect to work your Everest hard you can specify fabric seat trim with manual adjustments, including lumbar support, for the same price.

The Trend also brings bigger and fancier 18-inch wheels, a power-operated tailgate with hands-free function, and brighter and longer lasting Bi-LED headlights.

You can spend more on the Everest Trend by adding the 4WD system and diff lock, and/or by opting for the more powerful and efficient 2.0-litre Bi Turbo diesel engine and 10-speed auto.

The Everest Sport brings most of the features found in the Trend but in a bolder package that includes a blackened front grille, bumpers window surrounds and roof rails. It also has wider-diameter 20-inch alloy wheels, also black, sport badging, and blue seat stitching.

The Sport comes standard with 4WD, seven seats and the 3.2-diesel engine, with the 2.0-litre Bi Turbo diesel engine and 10-speed auto an extra-cost option.

The most expensive Everest, the Titanium, is only available in seven-seat 4WD form and with the 2.0-litre Bi Turbo engine. The additional outlay also brings full leather trim, power-adjusted front seats, power-folding third-row seats, and a sunroof. There are extremely bright HID headlamps, with washers, and the daytime running lamps use long-lived LEDs. Parking Assist can steer you into a reverse-parking spot while you control just the accelerator and brakes.

The Titanium also has sporty-looking 20-inch wheels, shod with tyres of a lower profile, and a tow bar rated at 3100kg. A pressure monitor alerts you if a tyre is going flat. And it has two more sensor-based safety features: Blind-spot monitoring, and a Rear cross-traffic alert – the latter particularly handy when reversing out of the nose-to-kerb angle parking that is common in country towns. (For more on Everest safety systems, please open the Safety section below.)

If you want the Titanium’s luxury trim but more versatility off road, you can substitute 18-inch wheels, and tyres with taller sidewalls, for the standard 20s as a no-cost option.

Does any upgrade have a down side?

Everests with the 18-inch and, especially, the 20-inch wheels don’t ride as smoothly as those on the 17s, and their tyres cost more to replace.

The tyres on the 20-inch wheels are also more damage prone off-road, and are not as effective in sand or mud as they don’t balloon out as much when pressures are dropped (a standard trick for getting more traction on soft off-road surfaces).

Maximum payloads fall as equipment is added: the Ambiente 4WD can legally carry 730kg; the Trend and Sport 693kg; and the Titanium only 605kg. Maximum roof load on the Titanium is also 20kg lower, at 80kg.

Red and white are the only colours that don’t attract an additional charge.

How comfortable is the Everest?

The Everest has a spacious and wide cabin that feels airy and roomy. The dash presentation features lots of faux metal surfaces and angular lines, which gives it a very modern, contemporary feel.

The driver’s seat is very comfortable, but you sit lower and further back in the cabin than you would in, for example, a Toyota Prado. This feels nice on the road, but your all-round vision off-road is not as good as you would get in some 4WDs
Electrically assisted steering is remarkably light at parking speeds but firms up nicely at road speeds. The two engines and their respective automatic gearbox combine to produce effortless and smooth progress.

Despite what Ford calls Active Noise Cancellation, the Everest isn’t a particularly quiet place in which to travel, however. Engine noise is the main offender, especially when accelerating from a standstill, though it’s less pronounced with the more refined 2.0-litre engine while cruising.

The steering wheel adjusts for tilt but not for reach. And on Trend and Titanium models, the instruments are crowded with information and are at times hard to read.

What about safety in a Ford Everest?

All Everests have seven airbags, stability control, trailer sway control, a reversing camera, and rear parking sensors.

The 2020 model year also sees all versions equipped with two sensor-based safety features including autonomous emergency braking with vehicle and pedestrian detection, and lane-keeping assistance that warns you if the car is drifting out of its lane – perhaps into oncoming traffic – and helps steer it back. It is a potentially life-saving backstop for long-trip fatigue and distraction.

Two airbags are directly in front of the driver and front-seat passenger, and a third protects the driver’s needs. To protect in side-impacts, there is an airbag outside each front occupant about chest level, and a curtain airbag running down each side of the car about head level. The curtain airbags protect all those sitting next to a window - third-row passengers included.

The Everest Trend and Sport add daytime running lights, and a feature aimed at keeping young drivers safe: a special key fob called My Key. This lets you set a maximum speed and a maximum audio volume, and restrict phone calls.

The Titanium then adds blind-spot monitoring (which warns you if a vehicle is alongside out of view), and rear cross-traffic alert (which warns you, when you are reversing from a parking spot, of cars approaching from either side.)

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) awarded the Everest five stars, its maximum safety score, in October 2015.

I like driving - will I enjoy this car?

The Everest is more likely than most ute-based wagons to suit keen drivers. Unlike most alternatives, it offers sharp and responsive steering and does not suffer from excessive body roll in corners.

Off road, the Everest even in RWD form has advantages over road-biased alternatives. Its chief strength here is its ruggedness: a stout build and tough suspension deal well with big hits, and so you can tackle long stretches of rough gravel road with confidence.

The Everest RWD Ambient and Trend feel a bit better too through dry sealed-road corners than their 4WD equivalents, mainly because they weigh less.

Every Everest 4WD has a full-time system that is helpful even on wet or icy bitumen, or on loose gravel roads.

Compared with part-time 4WDs, the Everest is particularly easy when the road conditions are frequently changing from wet to dry, or from sealed to unsealed. In such conditions, the driver of a part-time 4WD (such as the Toyota Fortuner) has to manually engage 4WD when needed, and then engage 2WD again when road conditions provide plenty of grip. With the Everest, you avoid that back and forth process.

The Everest offers effortless highway performance most of the time, with both engine options providing plenty of power at low and middle engine speeds. At high engine speeds the 3.2-litre engine’s power plateaus off (a typical diesel trait), which means the Everest won’t overtake rapidly.

An Everest 4WD is capable and competent in difficult off-road conditions, where its standard rear diff-lock will be appreciated. It will suit those who wish to get to remote camping or fishing locations that AWD passenger-car based SUVs, such as a Mazda CX-9 or Kia Sorento, can’t reach.

It’s relatively narrow 1.86m width also makes it easier to park than some of its large-SUV rivals, particularly the CX-9.

How is life in the rear seats?

The second-row seat is a bit tight for three adults but good for two adults and a child. It is not as accommodating as the second-row seat in a Toyota Prado but it compares favourably to that of the Toyota Fortuner, Isuzu MU-X and Holden Trailblazer.

Vents and controls behind the centre-console direct climate-control air to second-row passengers.

The two-person third–row seat is fine for small children but taller teenagers will find it short of legroom.

Like most SUVs and 4WDs, the Everest is a good height for getting small children in and out of child seats.

How is it for carrying stuff?

The individually folding third-row seats and 60/40 split second-row seat give the Everest good flexibility when it comes to carrying items of varying sizes. Folding the third row seats down allows you to store up to 1050 litres behind the second row seats. And the 450-litre capacity behind the upright third row is better than most seven-seat SUVs.

The power-operated tailgate on Everest Trend, Sport and Titanium adds convenience when loading and unloading, as does the power-folding third-row seats of the Titanium.

The Everests with the 3.2-litre engine have a 3000kg maximum tow rating, while the 2.0-litre Bi Turbo versions can haul up to 3100kg. Each is sufficient to legally tow a two-horse float or a large boat or caravan.

Where does Ford make the Everest?

All Australian-delivered Everests are made in Thailand.

What might I miss that similar cars have?

In a four-wheel drive vehicle, very little – although alternatives such as the Toyota Fortuner and Prado, and the Isuzu MU-X, come with the option of a manual gearbox. The Prado is also offered with a petrol engine (but very few buyers order it).

You might also consider the Holden Trailblazer or Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.

I like this car, but I can't choose which version. Can you help?

For a rugged, comfortable and versatile seven-seat wagon, the Everest Trend 4WD with either engine makes a compelling case. The extra money over an Ambiente buys you active cruise control among other enhancements.

If you do not expect to take your Everest into conditions where four-wheel drive is essential, consider the Everest Trend RWD.

Are there plans to update the Everest soon?

The Everest arrived as an all-new model in late 2015, and a RWD version based on the Trend was added in December 2016.

About May 2017, Ford added a five-seat RWD version based on the less costly Ambiente. At the same time it extended the 8.0-inch touchscreen with SYNC3 from the Trends to the Ambientes, along with dual-zone air-con. Prices for the more expensive variants were cut about $2000.

In October 2017 Ford introduced an 18-inch wheel and tyre package for the Everest Titanium, as a no-cost alternative to the standard 20s. The 18-inch tyres’ taller sidewalls enhance versatility when driving off-road.

A minor facelift in September 2018 introduced the 2.0-litre Bi Turbo engine additional features, and autonomous emergency braking to the Trend and Titanium.

Pedestrian detection was added to the Everest’s autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system in July 2019. AEB was also included to the entry-level Ambiente version for the first time.

The Everest Sport was added to the range in November 2019 for the 2020 model year.

A major change is probably still at least a year away.
Score breakdown
Safety, value and features
Comfort and space
Engine and gearbox
Ride and handling
Things we like
  •   Drives well on road, and excellent off road
Not so much
  •   Ride and handling less polished than in passenger-car based SUVs


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