The Ford Everest has set a rather high standard for what a ute-based SUV should look, feel and drive like – but its bobbing position on the large SUV sales charts reflects general buyer perception of it as less of a true value-for-money proposition than some of its cheaper rivals.
The mid-spec Trend has, in the past, struck an appealing balance between cost and features but in the newly tweaked Everest line-up does it remain the best value out of the Everest range? We tested a 2.0-litre variant for a week, on and off road, to see if that’s the case.
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?
Our test vehicle – a Trend 4x4 2.0-litre – costs $61,790 (excluding on-road costs). The rear-wheel-drive 2.0-litre Trend costs $56,490.
The Trend variants are $300 more expensive than their predecessors, and the only notable difference is the introduction of high-performance bi-LED headlights (with automatic high-beams), and a windscreen-mounted USB port dash-camera connection.
The Trend variants are $300 more expensive than their predecessors.
Over the years it’s had a few style tweaks – including freshened-up grille, and revised bumper and fascia design – but it’s mostly stayed pretty consistent in terms of appearance, and that’s for the best, really.
The Everest is an impressive looking beast, if you’re into chunky SUVs.
As always, I advise you take a look at the accompanying photos and judge for yourself whether the Everest Trend floats your boat.
How practical is the space inside?
It’s a roomy and functional leather-appointed cabin with a claimed 30* stowage areas, totalling 48 litres, spread throughout the space. (* I obviously didn’t count them all – are you bloody ridiculous?! – but it’s easy enough to see that there are sizeable bins, bottle holders in each door, as well as cupholders for one and all; even the third row gets cup-holders and receptacles for their bits and pieces.)
The electrically-adjustable front seats are supremely comfortable. Those in the front have access to two 12-volt sockets and two USB ports.
All control displays up front are easy to read, Sync3 is simple to use and operate, and organising your phone connectivity (in my case, Android Auto) is quick, even for this luddite.
The electrically-adjustable front seats are supremely comfortable.
Even though cabin space feels maximised everywhere, the second-row seat is on the wrong side of tight for three adults, especially in terms of hip and shoulder room for larger chaps, but it’d be fine with slighter adults and even ever-growing teens.
Second-row passengers get a pair of pop-out cupholders in the arm-rest, and can control their air con temp and fan speed, as well as open or close their air vents, and use a 230-volt or 12-volt socket from their seat.
Even though cabin space feels maximised everywhere, the second-row seat is on the wrong side of tight.
The second-row has a 60/40 split-fold seat back; third-row has a 50/50 split-fold. There are five child-seat anchor points, and two ISOFIX anchor points in the second row.
Third-row seats in the Trend can be manually deployed or stowed away. The third row is for kids only with shallower room all-round, I reckon.
There’s a claimed 1050 litres of cargo space with the third row stowed away; and 450 litres with that row up and in use.
The second-row has a 60/40 split-fold seat back; third-row has a 50/50 split-fold.
Third-row seats in the Trend can be manually deployed or stowed away.
There’s a claimed 1050 litres of cargo space with the third row stowed away.
The area behind the third row has bag hooks each side, and luggage tie-down points on the floor. There is also a 12V power outlet in the rear cargo area.
The Trend has a hands-free power tailgate.
What's it like as a daily driver?
It’s nice to drive, very comfortable and refined so the Trend is certainly easy to live with as a day-to-day commuter and people-mover.
For a large 4WD wagon it feels very nimble too. Its electric power steering is consistently sharp and precise, but the wheel itself is only height-adjustable, not reach-adjustable. There ie some understeer and minor body-roll around corners but overall it feels pretty settled.
The Trend is certainly easy to live with as a day-to-day commuter and people-mover.
Any lingering doubts over the 2.0-litre Everest’s should have been dispelled ages ago. It’s a lively little unit – it’s more than capable of delivering smooth power and torque at low and high speeds – and it easily manages to punch the 2387kg 4WD along at a fair clip.
Working off the 10-speed auto, the 2.0-litre Trend always feels more than adequately zippy and has ample go to accomplish even under-pressure overtaking moves when on the open road. It’s most comfortable though simply cruising along a highway.
With these tyres, the Trend is suited to most surfaces.
NVH levels are good; there’s a subdued quiet about the 2.0-litre’s cabin, although engine noise does penetrate with heavy acceleration.
The Everest's coil-spring suspension yields a smooth, stable ride and controlled handling. It’s not too firm and, with the Trend wearing Bridgestone Dueler H/Ts (265/60R18 110T) tyres, it’s better suited to most surfaces, whether it’s traversing well-kept blacktop or chopped up back-country gravel tracks.
What's it like for touring?
The Trend has a full-time 4WD system (with low-range gearing), an electronic rear diff lock and Ford’s well-proven Terrain Management, which has Normal, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Sand and Rock dial-selectable driving modes and those functions, among other things, adjust throttle response and sensitivity, allow or limit wheel-slip, and holds gears or shifts up earlier to suit the terrain you’re taking on.
As always, I wasn’t gentle with this Everest in terms of where I took it off-road either – I’ve driven Trends and Titaniums on very challenging 4WD-only terrain and they handled it with ease before so I know this 2020 variant would certainly be up to the task. No mechanicals or 4WD systems had been tampered with through this round of upgrades.
The Everest is robust enough and with a well-sorted suspension to cope supremely well with rough and undulating dirt and gravel tracks on the way to our off-road destination of choice without any hassles.
As always, I wasn’t gentle with this Everest in terms of where I took it off-road.
In low-range when needed, I then tackled steep gravelled rocky climbs, short sections of soft sand and narrow bush tracks with a severe drop-off to one side – and, once again, the only thing to really let down an otherwise very effective 4WD were its showroom-standard 4x4 tyres that seems more road-biased than not.
Another thing – visibility off-road is somewhat compromised in the Everest because its glass areas are pinched, rather than big, open expanses which would afford the driver more visibility while trying to negotiate off-road challenges.
For a hefty 4WD, that is 4892mm long, 1860mm wide and 1837mm high (none of them slight measurements), it still feels infinitely manoeuvrable.
The Trend has 227mm ground clearance, but its full-sized spare, mounted to the Ford’s undercarriage, affects that measure a bit, especially when you’re driving up and over short steep rocky outcrops.
The Everest is robust enough and with a well-sorted suspension to cope supremely well off-road.
Even though the Everest has an impressive maximum wading depth of 800mm (claimed, anyway), I didn’t get a chance to test that depth as the only mudholes I found were very deep with steep entries and exits, and so not the kind I was keen to pitch the Everest into.
The Trend has an unbraked towing maximum of 750kg, and 3100kg (braked);. Its payload is listed as 713kg, GVM (gross vehicle mass) is 3100kg and GCM (gross combined mass, including braked trailer) is a 5900kg. The Trend has trailer sway control as standard.
Bonus: there are numerous accessories available for it including all-weather mats, cargo barrier, and snorkel, as well as Rhino Rack bike and ski carriers, carry bars, wheel steps, roof boxes and awnings.
How much fuel does it consume?
This Everest Trend has a claimed fuel consumption of 7.0L/100km (on a combined cycle) but we recorded 9.4L/100km after more than 300km of driving, some of that in low-range 4WD.
It has an 80-litre fuel tank.
This Everest Trend has a claimed fuel consumption of 7.0L/100km.
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?
The Everest Trend remains an appealing value-for-money seven-seater 4WD wagon. It’s roomy, comfortable, nice to drive, packed with standard features and makes for a decent platform as an off-road tourer.
I’ve driven Ford Everests, 3.2 and 2.0-litre 4WD Trend and Titanium, on and off road, and I’ve towed with those vehicles as well, on different road and track surfaces – and it’s always been a safe, fuss-free and comfortable experience.
The Everest is a proven open-road and dirt-track adventure vehicle, more than capable of conquering weekday duties for a suburban family and then tackling hard-core off-roading on a bush-camping holiday.