- New Everest features 12-inch infotainment screen
- C-Clamp headlights and front design borrowed from new Ranger
- Exterior dimensions up in every aspect over outgoing model
The 2023 Ford Everest boasts a bold new look as Ford Australia’s designers took full advantage of the new model’s larger footprint.
The seven-seat SUV will go on sale in showrooms in the second half of 2022 with significant upgrades inside and out, as well as a new V6 engine. Its fresh design sees a 50 millimeter increase in track width both front and rear, as well as a 50mm longer wheelbase – making it 2900mm and longer than a Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series – with a near identical overall length for less overhang and a more solid look .
Ford Australia has confirmed the launch line-up of the 2023 Everest will consist of the entry-level Ambiente, Trend, Sport and new flagship, Platinum (nee Titanium). We’re yet to see the most popular variant in the range, the Sport, but Ford has revealed the remainder of the Everest offering.
Ford Everest Platinum
Beyond usual changes such as the new 21-inch alloys on the Platinum, baked into the Everest’s fresh design is further flexibility for differentiation between trim levels – from colour-coding, to grilles and applique outside, to color palettes and materials inside – as well as potential future personas through the model life cycle. That front-end is also where the fuller, plumper, visuals take the confidence of that V6 power unit to tackle the awkward narrowness of the original Everest.
“One of the key tenants of the design was to make it look a lot more planted and a lot more stable,” explained head of exterior design, Lee Cosentino. “The width really helps us swell the fenders out, and that makes it feel more planted on its wheels. Obviously the vehicle is very capable – we know that from U375, the current Everest, and the new one is just as capable if not more. We wanted to really emphasize that through the visuals as well, that was part of that process.”
While the front-end has a Ranger look about it with the C-Clamp headlights integrated into a ‘coast-to-coast’ grille – even sharing the same front guards as the new Ranger – things get a little different as the Everest develops into an SUV with items such as the integrated roof rails and a much steeper rear windscreen.
Surprisingly, the waistline is lower than before, even if it doesn’t immediately appear so. “The beltline, which is the chrome piece underneath the glass [on Platinum]is leveled off so it feels more horizontal, and that also adds to the stability of it instead of having a lot of wedge.”
“The biggest thing for me is actually on the rear end,” said Cosentino. “As you walk down the body side you can start to see that the line on the shoulder swells out over the arches, and you can really get this quite strong shoulder.
“The key for the rear end is getting those corners out as far as we can, not only from the bottom, but all the way up to the top. It’s a lot squarer at the rear end and really does emphasize that roominess we have within.
“The glass is unsprung [meaning it sits flush with the body and window frames]but it’s pulled out at the rear, and that helps us get the rear corner as far out as we can get it without it looking dorky and overbodied.
“The front horizontal theme is reflected on the rear, with a single piece across the width of the tailgate to emphasize the broad shoulders.
“We call it a ‘lamp-plique’ because it has lights inside the applique on the liftgate, but it really does have a black graphic that goes from coast to coast, from corner to corner – the LEDs kind of spill into the applique and give it that connection all the way across.”
Inside the Everest is where the most convincing gain seems to have been made – a lift that will impress on test drives, at dealerships and for the life of the car. There’s a significant improvement in material finishes to match the fresh cabin design, which is much cleaner thanks to the 12.0-inch center screen and more elegant design.
“Customers like big screens, but they don’t want them to stick out,” head of interior design Nick Etrovic said. It’s why the Everest’s center display is fully integrated and is expected to be on whenever occupants are in the vehicle, so it won’t be an anonymous black abyss.”
The screen doesn’t quite replace all, as there’s still air-conditioning buttons and legally mandated switches – such as hazards – that have had more money and time spent on them. Combined with the smarter color and trim choices, the perceived quality is a leap forward from the current Everest’s utilitarian feel.
“I’m proud of the fact that basically everything is new for us,” said interior design lead, Nick Eterovic. “Our starting point was an idea of flexibility,” he explained, noting that while the new 2023 Ranger line is more focused on work, the Everest’s role differs in that is more of a family and recreation vehicle – the work element could take a back seat, so to speak.
“This was an opportunity for us to change and improve the vehicle for various purposes.”
Like Ranger, the center console features a chunky e-shifter – not the small dial e-shifters of other Ford models such as the Focus and now defunct Endura. “In this type of vehicle, when you’re doing a three-point turn, for example, you want to know what you’re doing [with the shifter],” Etrovic said. That’s why it’s a sturdier looking lever that implies ruggedness, as does the new steering wheel that houses the usual audio and cruise buttons.
The full color digital instrument cluster’s crispness is impressive, featuring some fantastic graphics and legibility, wreaking of effort – this is no quick digital fix. “This is one of my favorite features of the new Everest,” said Eterovic. Lower-spec models will feature 8.0-inch cluster, with 12.4-inch on high-end Everests.
The front and second row seats are new, while attention was paid to the second and third row details such as foot placement, as well as making getting in and out easier. The cargo area is marginally larger, while there’s details such as third-row pockets large enough to fit tablets.
Color is critical, too, with careful consideration applied to everything from the chunky ‘luggage handle’ interior door handles through to finer grain dash leather and darker roof linings.
The result sees darker colors on higher spec models, such as the Platinum and Sport models, while more uniform colors retaining a ruggedness and durability on entry-level Ambiente. They have to work and look good, said colour, material and finish (CMF) design manager, Suzanne Gold.
“Nothing too polarising” came from the team’s toolbox of colors and grains for the Ambiente, where kids’ footy boots, dogs and babies may travel. The mid-spec trend adds detail stitching and quilting for a more premium feel; The Trend-based Sport more high-gloss black finishes throughout, while the flagship Platinum, said Gold, gains smoother leather and softer materials, with finer grains and additional padding for its quilted leather seats.
The design team’s work has come from intense focus on real-world customer feedback and usage of SUVs. “When we started, we immersed designers in the experiences [of owners],” Eterovic said. Analyzing customer experiences gave the interior design team food for thought.
“By deep diving we exposed ourselves to the usage and formulated a plan,” Etrovic added.
The 2023 Ford Everest is scheduled to go on sale in Australia in the second half of 2022, with pricing and additional details yet to be announced.