In the hearts of many car fans, Toyota Prado is almost synonymous with “off-road”. With its excellent performance and amazing reliability, it has won considerable sales worldwide and maintained a high market share in the subdivision level. Ford launched the Everest, which is based on the Ranger pickup and sets the Prado as a direct competitor in terms of price and off-road performance. Therefore, when this car was introduced to Australia, we decided to arrange for it to compete head-to-head with the Prado.
These two cars have many similarities in terms of design ideas. They both adopt a non-load-bearing body and a three-row, seven-seater layout, and are at the same level in terms of off-road performance. The price of the entry-level version of the five-seater Prado GX in the Australian market starts at 52,990 Australian dollars (about 240,000 yuan), and the price of the top-equipped seven-seater Kakadu version reaches 84,490 Australian dollars (about 383,000 yuan).
The price of the Ford Everest starts at AU$54,990 (approximately RMB 249,000), and the price of the top version is AU$76,990 (approximately RMB 349,000). All models are equipped with three rows of seats as standard. In contrast, the domestic price of Prado ranges from RMB 369,800 to RMB 625,300, which is far behind the Australian market. The domestic price of Everest is 265,800 to 360,800 yuan, which is relatively close to the foreign price.
For this test drive, we chose the second-top Toyota Prado VX and the top-end Ford Everest Titanium, which are priced at AU$73,990 and AU$76,990, respectively. Both cars are equipped with a power combination of a diesel engine and a six-speed manual transmission, and both are seven-seat versions. It should be noted that FAW Toyota did not introduce a diesel version of the Prado, while Jiangling Ford launched a diesel version of the Everest in China at the same time. Somewhat beyond our expectations, the body of the Ford Everest is heavier, reaching 2495 kg, while the Prado is only 2400 kg.
As the second top model in the series, the Prado VX also provides two new powers: a new 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine and a 4.0-liter naturally aspirated six-cylinder engine. The standard configuration of the vehicle includes leather seats, LED headlights with daytime running lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, 14-speaker JBL audio system, 7-inch central control touch screen, privacy glass, three Regional air conditioning, navigation, keyless entry, roof rack, automatic wiper and headlight cleaning, electric seat adjustment, electric folding of the third row of seats, side airbags, head and knee airbags, etc., in the same level The configuration can be described as quite rich.
For the four-wheel drive system, it is equipped with a manual center differential lock and a low-speed four-wheel drive transfer case. Except for the low-speed four-wheel drive mode, the Prado runs in a full-time four-wheel drive mode. The top-of-the-line Ford Everest is priced at AUD 3,000 more than the Prado VX, and it includes more comfort configurations, such as active noise reduction technology, radar cruise control, forward collision warning, rear traffic warning, 8-inch mid-range control touch screen, etc. In terms of configuration alone, the top-of-the-range Ford Everest Titanium with a similar price is better than the Toyota Prado VX.
Both cars provide excellent driver’s vision, coupled with the assistance of parking radar and reversing image, even with a large body, it will not be too much affected when parking. In addition, the Everest is also equipped with an automatic parking function, which is very practical for an SUV of this size (the domestic diesel version of the Everest does not provide an automatic parking function, and it is only equipped on the top version of the gasoline version). The Prado retains the tough and rough interior style, while the Everest has a more refined and modern interior, but the plastic panel of the center console and the inside of the door panels are still closer to the Ranger pickup, which is slightly inconsistent with the SUV at this price.
In addition, Everest is better in terms of technology and connectivity. The driver can obtain a lot of off-road related information such as the vehicle’s roll angle through the instrument. The 8-inch touch screen equipped with the Sync2 entertainment system on the center console displays clearly and responds very quickly. Prado’s screen response is relatively sluggish.
The space in the first two rows of the two cars is relatively ample, and there is no sense of cramping in the head and legs. However, although the Everest is only 25mm narrower than the Prado, its interior space is obviously more compact, and the distance between passengers is not as spacious as the Prado. After sliding the second row of seats forward slightly, the Prado’s third row of seats can barely meet the normal sitting posture of an adult. The third-row seats of the Everest are cramped even for a tall boy. Because the shape of the wheel hub occupies part of the leg space, it is very uncomfortable for the third-row passengers to put their feet.
Plus, getting passengers into the Everest’s third row isn’t easy. Its second row of seats adopts a 60:40 folding method, but it is not optimized for the situation of driving on the left in Australia. The ratio of seats on the side near the roadside is 40%, and it is not easy for passengers to enter and exit. easy. In terms of luggage compartment space, since the Everest is 38mm shorter than the Prado, there is a big space gap between the two. The same luggage can fill the entire luggage compartment of the Everest, while on the Prado it only reaches the height above the seat back.
There is a clear difference in the performance of Prado and Everest on paved roads. The Prado’s suspension is soft, and it will produce obvious body shake when facing undulating road surfaces. In contrast, the Everest’s driving texture and handling precision are somewhat beyond our expectations. Prado uses traditional hydraulic power steering, which feels heavy and occasionally turns blurred. The Everest uses electric power steering, which feels very light, even a bit too light for an SUV. However, for urban driving, such steering adjustment can greatly reduce driver fatigue, and the advantages will be more obvious when driving at low speeds and parking.
When encountering continuous road bumps and ups and downs, the suspension of the Everest showed better support. It can control the body posture very well and pass through cleanly, while the Prado needs relatively longer adjustment time. This performance is further amplified in the corners. The Everest’s precise performance on the corners and good body control are almost the same as those of a sedan.
Prado’s soft suspension tuning can’t provide good support on corners, so it has quite obvious body roll. However, Toyota has equipped the Prado VX with a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS). The system actively disconnects the linkage for more suspension travel when off-road. Its rear suspension adopts a four-link integral bridge design, in which the stabilizer bar is responsible for transmitting lateral force, which can effectively restrain the vehicle body deviation on complex road surfaces. The rear suspension of the Everest uses a five-link and coil spring solution, which can ensure an excellent driving experience on paved roads and give full play to the advantages of the Watt link.
The 2.8-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine equipped on the Prado has a maximum power of 130 kilowatts and a peak output torque of 450 Nm. The Everest is equipped with a 3.2-liter five-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine with a maximum power of 143 kilowatts and a peak output torque of 470 Nm. The diesel version of Everest launched in China is equipped with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine with a maximum power of 118 kW and a peak output torque of 385 Nm.
The engine carried by the Prado is also applied to the new Hilux, and its power intervention is relatively slow. Although for this level of models, the acceleration time of 0-100km/h is not very meaningful, but its results still have certain reference value. The zero-to-100-kilometer linear acceleration time of Prado and Everest is 12.8 seconds and 11.6 seconds respectively. This point will be significantly different when overtaking. Prado needs more time to accelerate, while Everest appears very calm. However, the throttle response of the Everest is sometimes too sensitive, and the car will jump when you tap the pedal lightly, and it will produce loud engine noise. Ford has applied active noise reduction technology to the Everest to create a quieter and more comfortable cabin environment.
Both cars use six-speed automatic transmissions, which are perfectly matched to their respective engines. In terms of fuel economy, the higher vehicle weight and large displacement engine of the Everest means higher fuel consumption, and its comprehensive fuel consumption per 100 kilometers is 8.5 liters. The comprehensive fuel consumption per 100 kilometers of Prado is around 8.0 liters. During our testing, most of the time was in urban and off-road conditions. The actual measured fuel consumption of the Everest was above 10 liters per 100 kilometers, while that of the Prado remained between 9-10 liters per 100 kilometers.
This part is probably the place where the two cars really attract fans. They all choose the full-time four-wheel drive system, but there are differences in the form of control. Prado has chosen a manual lockable Torsen central differential, and is matched with a transfer case with low-speed four-wheel drive function, as well as a steep slope descent function, which has full control over vehicle control and four-wheel drive mode selection in the hands of the driver himself. Unlike Prado, Everest can choose to automatically complete traction control according to different off-road modes.
The approach angle and departure angle of the Prado are 32 degrees and 25 degrees respectively, the maximum ground clearance is 220mm, and the maximum towing weight can reach 2500 kg. Prado’s four-wheel drive system has super practicality, and its excellent performance provides the driver with sufficient confidence. The KDSS system it is equipped with can provide greater wheel travel, thereby ensuring the adhesion of the wheels to the ground when passing through complex road surfaces, and greatly improving the passing capacity of the vehicle. On the same surface, the Everest usually has to use up its suspension travel to pass. In contrast, Prado’s performance is more calm.
In addition, in the default normal mode, Prado has better traction control performance, and can quickly make judgments based on the state of the vehicle, and transmit power to the most suitable wheels. However, Prado’s performance in some specific working conditions confuses us, such as wading immediately after a steep slope, the vehicle usually involves too much brake pressure, and produces relatively large vibrations and noises. When the steep slope descent function is turned on, the vibration and noise are also more obvious. The brake pedal of the Prado is much more sensitive than we imagined, so when the vehicle is downhill and crossing and other conditions that require braking intervention, the driver will subconsciously adjust the brake pressure continuously, which will cause the vehicle to feel uncomfortable .
In addition to the problems mentioned above, the Prado has excellent off-road performance in the default mode, and can easily pass most complex road conditions with low-speed four-wheel drive mode. Most importantly, its reliability is beyond doubt, which has become one of the important reasons why many off-road vehicle fans choose it.
The four-wheel drive system of the Ford Everest is slightly different from that of the Prado. It uses an electronically controlled four-wheel drive system with a central multi-plate clutch, and a rear axle differential that can be manually locked. Ford has equipped the Everest with a unique Terrain Management System (Terrain Management System, TMS), which can control the traction according to the terrain, adjust the torque distribution between the axles and the throttle sensitivity.
Everest also comes with a transfer case with low-range four-wheel drive and speed-adjustable hill descent. The approach angle and departure angle of Everest are 29.5 degrees and 25 degrees respectively, the maximum ground clearance is 225mm, the maximum towing weight is 3000kg, and the wading depth of 800mm ensures its invincible passability outdoors. The TMS system provides four modes – normal, grass/mud/snow, sand, rock.
In the normal mode, the Everest’s full-time four-wheel drive system can adjust the torque distribution between the front and rear axles as needed. In this mode, the driver can intervene in the low-speed four-wheel drive mode and manually lock the rear axle differential lock. In the grass/mud/snow mode, the sensitivity of the accelerator pedal is reduced, the timing of shifting is advanced, and the timing of downshifting is delayed, so more time is left for the driver to judge the response of the accelerator, and at the same time, the engine is guaranteed to work In the low-speed range where the torque is abundant.
Conversely, when the vehicle is in sand mode, the sensitivity of the accelerator pedal is greatly increased and allows the wheels to maintain sufficient moment of inertia in the event of slippage. In this mode, the gearbox maintains a higher speed through earlier downshift timing, which is very important for desert driving. When facing extremely harsh terrain, the driver can select the rock mode, which requires the transfer case to be involved in the low-speed four-wheel drive mode, and the gearbox is maintained in the first gear position, and the vehicle will brake on one side of the wheel. Realize limited slip between wheels. This mode has a good effect in the face of complex road conditions, has good control of wheel slip, and will not affect the output of traction due to wheel braking.
However, when the Everest is on an uneven road surface, there are certain problems in the distribution of torque between the front and rear axles. Although it uses a multi-disc clutch-type central differential that can actively distribute torque between the front and rear axles, its performance in the face of steep slopes and other harsh road conditions is far less relaxed than that of the Prado. And when we manually locked its rear axle differential, the problem became a lot easier. When the steep slope descent function is involved, the Everest has no obvious vibration and noise. With the help of the TMS system, the driver can focus more on controlling the steering wheel in the face of complex road conditions, without worrying too much about the coordination of the accelerator and brakes, thus making off-roading easier.
Unlike Prado’s heavy hydraulic power steering, Everest’s electric power steering has excellent performance in off-road conditions, and the driver can more easily and accurately control the direction of the vehicle. Both vehicles have excellent off-road performance. In contrast, the richer auxiliary functions of the Everest make off-roading easier, and the rich vehicle information display also enables the driver to have an intuitive and clear understanding of the vehicle status. In addition, Everest will also provide suggestions for off-road mode selection based on the current vehicle state to help the driver complete the crossing more easily.
Before this comparison test drive, we somewhat took it for granted that Ford’s idea of making the Everest a competitor to the Prado was a bit whimsical. However, after this series of comparative tests, our thinking has undergone some changes. Everest is developed by the Ford Asia-Pacific design and development team in Australia. During the design process, Australia’s extreme harsh environment and road conditions have been fully considered, so it has excellent performance in all aspects.
Although the interior space of the Everest is not as spacious as the Prado, and its off-road performance is also slightly inferior to the Prado, its excellent performance on paved roads has won back a lot of points. In addition, compared with Prado, Everest’s more advanced driving assistance technology can reduce the difficulty of off-road to a certain extent, so that more fans can experience the fun of off-road.
Of course, the natural history of Prado’s powerful off-road performance and almost unsolvable reliability will be an object for all manufacturers to learn for a period of time. In a sense, the two cars represent two different hard-core off-road styles, old and new, but it is undeniable that the application of various electronic technologies will definitely change the development direction of the automobile industry in the future. Hopefully we’ll see a more diverse and fun off-road market.