Spontaneous road trips are always fun. Pick a day, preferably on a weekend, and just head out into the wild blue yonder with nothing but your Aviators, a tank of gas, and your favorite driving playlist.
It’s a totally different story when kids are in the picture. You can’t really just pack and go at the drop of a hat. First of all, you need a bigger car, something with more creature comforts than you’re used to because kids these days are a lot more demanding than we were back in the day.
So after two days of planning – that’s as spur of the moment as you can get when you become a dad – a trip to Zoobic was in order and I decided to see if the Ford Everest Titanium 3.2L 4×4 AT was up to snuff when it came to power, comfort, and most importantly, entertainment because the last thing you want to hear when you’re driving is, “are we there yet?”
By the rumble you hear from under the hood, you know ‘more than enough’ is the answer. In fact, on most occasions – which is basically any time in the city – it feels too much.
The 3.2L engine packs 197 bhp and 347 lb-ft of torque. I felt and heard all of that travelling along the drivetrain to the four-wheel drive layout but the ever-so-slight delay takes a wee bit of an adjustment.
Compared to older vehicles like your small displacement sedan perhaps, the Everest is on a throttle-by-wire setup, which uses sensors and actuators to open/close the throttle. This setup, although safer than older mechanical systems, is notorious for that split-second lag.
It isn’t feeble by any stretch of the imagination. Totally the opposite in fact. Just a tiny hint of throttle pressure and it powerfully lurches forward. Just tweak and temper your driving style so that you don’t mash the accelerator thinking the vehicle isn’t moving.
Steering felt somewhat light for a big and rumbly vehicle but it was a welcome feature especially if you’re driving long distances.
While the Everest is still a bit of a climb when entering, it has come a long, long way since its humble beginnings in the early 2000s. The choice of coilover shock absorbers in front and leafsprings at the back has really made it feel less of a truck and more of a sedan when it comes to ride comfort.
It felt very solid yet cushy on the early morning drive along NLEX and SCTEX, and it obviously helped that highway management does a good job of maintenance and discipline on the roads.
But even in less than perfect conditions like on the long road to the zoo, where a path was formed but the surface was dirt and gravel, the noise, vibration and harshness levels were still remarkably low.
All that on a set of 20-inch alloy wheels.
Not surprisingly for a vehicle this size is the roominess of the cabin. As a seven-seater accommodating just four people, we had all sorts of space to ourselves and our overnight stuff.
Of great benefit, and not to mention a big deal of pizzazz, is the power tailgate that can be controlled even from the driver’s seat. Simply push the button to open and close.
Short of getting third-party headrest/seatback monitors, this is probably the closest you’ll get to ‘loaded’ on an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) mass market mid-sized SUV.
There’s an 8-inch TFT touchscreen in front and although it does not sub as a viewing monitor for movies, it’s pretty to look at and handles all settings for sound, climate and various other audio media.
If you need to access data on your iPhone, simply plug the cable to one of the two USB ports in front and Apple CarPlay starts up to help you manage your apps a lot easier.
Everything from Messages to Music to Waze and even Spotify, appears seamlessly on the touchscreen and the system even reads incoming texts so you don’t have to look away from the road. Note that words in Filipino will be spelled out most of the time.
The 10-speaker system is good enough to fill the cabin equally, which makes listening to music a lot more pleasant to all the passengers.
In case you forgot your cables, there’s Bluetooth connectivity. You will lose Apple CarPlay capability but you can still stream your music wirelessly.
If you’re wondering about Android Auto, unfortunately don’t have one so wasn’t able to test compatibility.
Just the tip of the iceberg
We may have only scratched the surface of what this vehicle has to offer but based on these three factors alone, it’s enough to make one dad convinced.
Its list of hi-tech safety and driver-assist features is so long it deserves a webpage or two plus it also comes with a dual panel moonroof (the one that extends over and beyond the second row seats).
Plus, you can even charge devices via a 230V Inverter socket.
I may have been listening to songs about dinosaur for close to five hours total, I may have even memorized a couple of them, but that’s a hell of a lot better than constantly hearing, “are we there yet?”
If you’re a family that loves to take drives together, give the Ford Everest Titanium 3.2L 4×4 AT a try and see how it can take your road trip to the next level.
|Engine||Power Stroke I5 3.2L|
|Cylinder Head||Aluminum cylinder heads with DOHC, four valves per cylinder|
|Fuel Injector||Piezoelectric fuel injectors using a high-pressure common rail fuel system|
|Max Power (bhp @ rpm)||197 bhp @ 3,000 rpm|
|Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm)||347 lb-ft @ 1750-2500 rpm|
|Top Speed||200 km/h (124.2 mph)|
|0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph||11.6 seconds (0-62 mph)|
Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions
|Fuel Milage (km/l)||7.5 kilometers per liter (combined)|
|Price as Tested (PHP)||Php 2,288,000|
|What's Great||A great family vehicle - spacious, has loads of great tech for entertainment and safety, plus pulling power that’s near top of its class|
|What's Not So||Driver assist technology feels intrusive at times|