Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Used Car Review - Ford Everest (2004-2006)

What time is it? Summertime! And you plan your excursions and escapes to Ilocos, Subic, or Bicol. One wants a mid-size SUV to have decent cargo space, power and efficiency from that standard diesel engine, and roomy for his four other occupants. The clearance between ground and body is a must, and so, the price. If these are the considerations, Myk Belmonte finds this SUV would surely fit the bill.

2004-2006 Ford Everest

Pickup truck derived mid-sized SUVs are in the rage in Asian markets (particularly in pickup truck crazy Thailand), and Ford was the first one to make a vehicle out of this idea. Based on the Ranger chassis (the Asian market Ranger to be exact), it resulted to a tough chassis, cheaper construction of assembly, sharing of parts (from mechanicals to interior bits), and the good one is - lower pricing. Ford started this craze with the Everest with other manufacturers following suit for developing markets. Examples are the Toyota Fortuner (based from the Hilux), Mitsubishi Montero Sport (derived from the Strada), and the Isuzu Alterra/MU-7 (conceived from the D-MAX).

The Asian market witnessed the launch of the Everest in 2003 (Central America and Bahamas have this one) and the dream of owning an SUV at an attainable cost is now a reality for most. If other SUVs are allergic going off-road or wading through floods (more on the former case), the Everest - with its pick-up truck chassis - can go with the going gets tough and the durability of their bed counterparts is there. The recipe? Pick-up underpinnings plus Mazda derived engines (WLT Diesel and G63 Gasoline) which results to the Everest.

Keeping the Asian market (and most of developing countries) in mind, the Philippines had dibs with this SUV in late 2003. The Everest started a category unheard of, pickup trucks converted to ferry people in style and with the usage of a roof (not a bed cover). It initially competed with AUVs such as the Isuzu Crosswind, Mitsubishi Adventure, and Toyota Revo; but competitors (genuine ones) had come to the scene. It became Ford's cash cow and utilized the WLT diesel engine until 2006, with the WLT being ditched for a more modern CRDi engine. The CRDi had the power, and pulling power advantage, but let's not leave behind the original one.

Value and Costs
Fords of any kind - whether diesel powered or the gasoline ones - suffer low resale values, and the Everest can be had for a bargain. With most 2004-2006 Everest units having prices in the P580,000-P700,000 range. You will encounter a mix of 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains and manual and automatic transmissions, which is definitely a good thing as long as the desired engine is a diesel. With that in mind, the Everest is a good choice for those wanting an SUV which can seat seven members of their family.

Having a rudimentary diesel engine (non-CRDi) as standard, you won't encounter problems common to Common Rail Diesel engines such as engine chocking, fuel contamination, and non-replacement of oils by the previous owner. Maintenance costs are nearly similar to AUVs of the same time period albeit priced higher due to some engine and chassis components that are reserved for SUVs. And as usual for diesel engines, check if black smoke goes out of the tailpipe or ASBU's would love you to be their target.

Exterior and Interior
With the boxy exterior that the same period Asian Ranger had, expect the same with the Everest. It does look like a box but it is indeed designed simply and free of laughable angles that its rivals have. Keeping the pickup truck's body in mind, the designers did a good job integrating the Ranger's A and B pillars onto the extended cabin (which is the cabin bed, and they've placed seats on it - is a feat on their part). The design screams "let me go off-roading!" with the styling echoes that of a Land Rover Defender.

The interior trims and bits seen in the same period Ranger are not all used, just the switch gear and dashboard pieces. The bad news for those who are fashionistas and picky peeps, the interior can be described as dated. But the good news is ergonomics and driving position is livable and does not violate human rights laws. Interior trims are cheap looking, but they are meant to last long. The first two rows are roomy to be in, but the third row - which is raised - is best left for children.

Remember my Mazda MPV used car feature? This utilized the 2,499cc WLT-31 diesel engine and this is also shared with the same time Ranger sold in Asian countries. With 110hp at 3,500rpm and 268Nm at 2,000rpm on tap, the Everest has the motivation to be moved decently but not race car fast. Refinement is not the strongest suit, with the engine - especially with the automatic transmission - taking sometime to reach more than 100km/H. For old school people, there are levers and RFW switch to engage the four wheels.

Driving Impressions
With its roots originating from a pickup truck, the Everest is contrast to its origins. The ride is well sorted and you will feel fresh when you arrive at your destination. Those seated in the second row won't need Bonamine but just prepare the barf bags (the ones you see in airplanes). Handling is not that inspired and vague but you will feel secure and easy to use. The good news is driving this SUV won't give you memories that you're driving a basic AUV.

We know everyone desires an SUV in their garages, and Ford granted every Asians wish. It may be crude and prehistoric but it puts a smile in the faces of off-road aficionados and those who value practicality and people carrying ability. You can have this SUV for the summer season without the fuzzy electronic doodads, just the simple yet basic goods.

The Good: 
  • Durable underpinnings
  • Off-road capabilities
  • Tough suspension
The Bad:
  • Unrefined
  • Power robbing automatic tranny
  • Crude mechanicals
The Pick: Any variant with Manual Transmission

Engine: 2,499cc WLT-31 I4 diesel
Power: 110hp @ 3,500rpm
Torque: 268Nm @ 2,000rpm
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 9-12km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone, rear rigid axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs

Price (New): P1,015,000-P1,215,000 (range from 2004-2006)
Price (Now): P580,000-P700,000
Rivals: Isuzu Alterra, Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Kia Sorento, Isuzu Crosswind, Mitsubishi Adventure, Toyota Revo. Toyota Innova
On Sale: 2004-2006

Ford Libis - 637-2044
Ford Quezon Avenue -742-3435
Ford Manila - 562-5555

Photos courtesy of http://quezoncity.olx.com.ph/2005-ford-everest-4x4-matic-turboo-inter-cooler-iid-329427709

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