In short, it seems not everyone is sold on the sizeable 20-inch Goodyears fitted as standard to Titanium models.
While the 20-inch rubber wrapped around stylish six-spoke alloys are still part of the Titanium package, those planning to tackle more serious off-road adventures can opt for the 18-inch wheels and tyres formerly reserved for the mid-spec Trend.
The tyres used are Bridgestone Duelers in a highway terrain construction.
“It enables them more confidence in the harsh, challenging conditions the Everest is capable of traversing,” Ford spokesman Damion Smy said of the 18-inch wheels fitted to the Titanium. “While allowing them the higher specs of the Titanium, such as the heated seats, panoramic sunroof and, of course, the leather seating.”
Another option many owners have no doubt considered is to buy a Titanium model shod with 20s, grab a set of 18s and bolt them on for when they go off-road. However, engineers point to the fact that handling and off-road electronics aren’t tailored to the unique rubber.
If you tick the box for the 18-inch wheel and tyre package from the factory you get a slightly different suspension set-up (again, it’s the one shared with the Trend) and a stability control tune matched to the package.
Hard components such as the lower control arms are also unique to the different wheel sizes. And, importantly, the Terrain Management System that includes programs for various conditions – such as sand, mud and rocks – is calibrated to the different grip and handling characteristics of the 18-inch tyres.
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We’ve put the Everest Titanium on 18s through its paces across a fair chunk of Western Australia. While the tyres are only highway terrains, the extra sidewall height worked beautifully for sand driving and allowed extra give over sharp rocks. There’s also more compliance to the ride, something that comes into its own on gravel roads.
Combined with the nicely tuned Terrain Management System, it makes the Titanium all the more capable for those planning to head off-road.
Negatives? The 18s don’t look as good, but when you’re off-road that’s not a major consideration for most people. There’s also the price; larger wheels and tyres typically cost more, so it’d be good to see some coin shaved off the $74,701+ ask for the Titanium.
The 18-inch wheel package is a no-cost option.