September 23, 2019 By Paolo de Borja Photos by the author and Ford Press

2020 Ford Everest takes on Baler, La Union

First impressions on the updated pickup-based SUV

Baler and La Union are two of the most recognizable beach and surf towns in the Philippines – or at least in Luzon. The first offers a laid back ambiance ideal for those looking to unwind under the sun, in the middle of a quiet, calm beach, and surrounded by relaxing sounds of waves crashing on the shore. The latter, on the other hand, has a bit more life to it thanks to the small but lively bars, restaurants, hostels, and coffee shops that have been popping out.

Road trips like this north of Manila could be exciting. And although we often look forward to reaching the destination, a huge part of the experience is the trip getting there.

I recently had the opportunity to go on an exhilarating drive to Baler and La Union with Ford Philippines. The ride? The recently introduced and updated 2020 Ford Everest armed with fresh powertrains. Two variants were available during the drive – the 2.0-liter Bi-Turbo Titanium+ 4×4 and the 2.0-liter Turbo Titanium 4×2. Both engines are paired with a 10-speed automatic transmission that’s also found in the Ranger Raptor.

As we loading our things into the SUV, one of the first things I noticed and appreciated was the flat cargo space that greeted me once the third-row seats were down. It just makes everything a lot easier and organized, especially for trips like this. Although this kind of arrangement has become more common lately, it’s not something that could be said for all of its competitors in the segment.

Our team’s first assignment was the 4×4 variant. We’ve been quite excited about trying out the Everest’s new powertrain after driving the Ranger Raptor on different occasions. From our meeting point at La Breza Hotel in Quezon City, we drove to Cabanutan, Nueva Ecija for about three hours for lunch. I was a rear passenger for this part of the trip, and I was pretty excited about it thanks to some features I discovered. Second row passengers have access to air-conditioning controls for the fan and temperature (4×4 trim only). It’s paired with 12V and AC 230V sockets – my favorite part. Both my smartphone and laptop were able to charge with at its usual charging speed using the 230V socket.

After an astounding seafood lunch in Cabanatuan, we marched on to Baler. This time it was my turn behind the wheel. It was around this time when it started to rain a bit harder and barely stopped until that evening in Baler. Improvements on ride quality were noticeable. However, keep in mind that there weren’t any changes on the suspension. Perhaps the new and smaller engine deserves credit for providing better balance for the SUV. The Everest may have lost 1.2 liters of displacement from the pre-facelift’s top variant, but power delivery is more precise this time around. There was enough power and torque to go around with along the twisties and mountainous roads on the way to Baler. It did not lack power during uphill and overtaking situations.

Similar to the Ranger, Ford’s pickup-based SUV has always had a reputation for having such light steering for a big car. Perceptions on this are subjective and I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. Personally, however, I would like something firmer especially on zigzag roads.

The range-topping Everest now also has a fulltime four-wheel drive system at its disposal. This means that there are no more 2H, 4H, and 4L switches. Present, however, are different modes meant for four different terrains.

On the second day of our drive, we took off from Baler and headed to La Union. This time I focused more on ride comfort as a passenger. The best thing about it is how much it doesn’t feel like a pickup-based SUV. Sure, the ride it could be wavy, but I wouldn’t describe it as rough.

Now, we didn’t really get to enjoy the beaches and the sun during this trip, but the drive to both beach towns definitely did not fall short in providing an exhilarating experience. Aside from the wheels, grille, and front bumper, it’s true that Ford didn’t really change much on the exterior. Inside, only subtle changes could be noticed like the addition of more piano black pieces on the dashboard. But things that work don’t always need changes. For instance, the Everest is still equipped with Apply CarPlay and Android Auto that are simple to operate. The highlight on this updated Everest is really the new powertrain it shares with the Ranger Wildtrak and Ranger Raptor. And it surely delivers what is expected from it.

Specifications

Engine

Engine Inline-4
Displacement 1996 cc
Cylinder Head dohc 16v
Fuel Injector Direct Injection Intercooled Twin-Turbodiesel
Max Power (bhp @ rpm) 211 bhp @ 3750 rpm
Max Torque (lb/ft @ rpm) 369 lb-ft @ 1750-2000 rpm
Transmission 10-speed AT

Performance

Top Speed 205 km/h (128 mph) Governed
0-100 km/h | 0-62 mph 9.4 sec.

Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions

Fuel Milage (km/l) 10.6 km/L City / 14.7 km/L Highway

Ratings

Price as Tested (PHP) PhP 2,299,000.00
What's Great Dynamic drive, still well-equipped despite little changes on interior
What's Not So Exterior could have used more updates
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