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Ford Everest safety reaches new heights

Improved chassis, steering and braking join Everest’s hi-tech driver assistance aids

1 Mar 2022

FORD has given its third-generation Everest seven-seat large SUV a comprehensively revised safety package that extends all the way to its  body-on-frame core.


Speaking to journalists gathered for the online global unveiling of the 2022 Everest, Ford chief platform engineer Ian Foston said that safety was a primary consideration of every aspect of the Everest’s design. 


Mr Foston said that in addition to equipping the Everest with the latest active and passive safety technologies available, Ford engineers had also worked hard to ensure the inherent driveability, roadholding, steering and braking performance of the new model were class-leading in every possible way.


This included extending the track and wheelbase of the model by 50mm in each direction to improve on-road stability.


Mr Foston described the Everest’s suspension set-up “the best combination of suspension technology” and said it is “unique in this segment”.


“The Watts Link rear suspension and coil springs means better control over body movement, and what this really means to the customer is the car feels flatter in corners – you don’t get as much body roll – and that gives our customers a more car-like experience,” he detailed.


“The Everest now feels like a premium SUV, while still having the wheel articulation needed for off-roading.”


Tyre selection is grade- and market dependent, and Mr Foston said Australian tyre options will be announced closer to the Everest’s mid-year launch.


“Tyres are a huge part of it as well,” he said.


“We have what we call our DNA, for how the vehicle performs dynamically … we have certain parameters that we need to meet for legal reasons, but very much we have a Ford DNA in terms of how we want the vehicle to perform – its combination of ride and handling – the steering feel, the rolling resistance of the tyres and the fuel economy we get out of them.


“There’s a number of factors we take into consideration, and they have to sit within these different parameters when they’re selected,” he noted.


Mr Foston also explained that the four-wheel disc braking system of the Everest had been overhauled significantly, with a new handbrake design key among the changes.


“All the brakes are upgraded. On today’s Everest, as you know, we offer disc brakes with a drum-in-hat park brake. But we’ve gone to a different solution on the next-generation platform, including Everest, where we have the rear calipers with the park brake included (integral to the caliper),” he outlined.


The Everest is also equipped with the latest driver assistance technologies available to the T6 platform. 


Highlights include up to nine airbags – with full-length rear curtain airbags and a front-centre airbag – active park assist, adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go functionality, lane centering and lane keeping system with road-edge detection, evasive steer assist, reverse brake assist, a blind-spot information system with trailer coverage, pre-collision assist with intersection functionality, and post-collision braking.


“Depending on the market, Everest will offer blind spot information system with trailer coverage, an integrated electric trailer brake controller, and we've also added to the already impressive list of active safety features lane keep system with road edge detection, intelligent adaptive cruise control with lane centering and active park assist for when you don't want to do it yourself,” Mr Foston said.


“These build on the active safety features such as pre-collision assist with intersection assist, which identifies when turning and if you don't take corrective action will apply your brakes automatically, and there's also evasive steering assist, and when you're backing up, Everest can alert you to cross traffic or obstacles, applying the brakes if needed through reverse brake assist.”


High-grade Everest Platinum variants will further be equipped with LED matrix headlights which are designed to prevent dazzling oncoming traffic without the driver needing to dip the high-beam. Like others, the Ford system uses a windscreen-mounted camera to detect headlights or taillights ahead, the nine segments within the matrix headlight unit switching on and off to provide the best spread of light possible to the driver.


The high-tech headlights also offers dynamic and static bending technology, and speed-dependent lighting which can adjust the length of the light beam according to the vehicle’s speed.


“The headlights look great, but it isn’t just about how they look, it’s also about how they function,” Mr Foston enthused.


“They serve a real need for our customers giving better visibility, better control, and in turn better confidence at night. The matrix LED headlights highlight the advances in lighting technology further with dynamic bending light, glare-free high-beam and speed dependent light. They adjust as you drive to maximise your visibility of the road ahead.”


Compared with the Ranger with which the Everest shares a platform, a number of significant changes have been made to adapt a workhorse commercial vehicle into a comfortable family SUV.


“There are steering and chassis design differences between the Ranger and the Everest that we have tailored to suit the different applications of the pair. The front clip, as we call it, the section from the front seats forward is very common between the two, and that allows us common engine installation,” explained Mr Foston..


“The midsection is suited to the length of the wheelbase and the rear is unique between the two. You have a leaf spring on the rear of the Ranger and a coil spring with a Watts Link on the Everest, and that’s the major change underneath.


“In terms of steering, it is the same steering gear hardware (as found in the Ranger) but it has been tuned specifically for the driving style of the customer of the Everest. So, the Ranger will feel slightly different when you’re driving it, and that’s purely because of the different type of customer that’s using it. But architecturally, the steering hardware is the same on both.”


The coil-sprung rear-end of the Everest pays dividends in terms of ride comfort and handling as well. Mr Foston said that without the requirement to carry up to 1000kg over the rear axle, the Everest could be tuned to deliver a more car-like ride, and a level of steering response and directional stability that was almost impossible to offer from a leaf-sprung rear-end.


The 2022 Ford Everest is expected to appear in local showrooms before the middle of the year. Full specification and pricing information will be revealed closer to the model’s local launch.

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