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Ford Everest Trend 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Paul Gover road tests and reviews the Ford Everest Trend with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.

The price is relatively high for Ford's mid-spec seven-seater but it can cope with the down and dirty stuff.

There are people who think the Ford Everest is the best at its business. Or even better.

Me? I'm not so sure.

In its favour, it was developed in Australia, it can easily cross the Simpson Desert and it's a big family car.

But, jumping into the Everest Trend for the first time, I'm underwhelmed by the cabin, the quality, the bumpy suspension settings around town — and the price, which at $60,990 for the mid-spec Trend, is higher than I expected.

If I was making a snap decision on The Tick, the Everest would fail.

Then I get down to driving and talking to people and realise there is more to the Everest than I'd thought.

For a start, it's not just an SUV body on Ford Ranger ute underpinnings, though they have a lot in common including their engineering roots in Melbourne and assembly in Thailand.

If I was making a snap decision on The Tick, the Everest would fail.

The Everest's differences go beyond the seven-seater cabin and independent rear suspension.

"Everest was a completely separate ground-up project, apart from the area ahead of the windscreen pillar," says Ford spokesman Neil McDonald.

Second, the Everest is not a replacement for the Falcon-based Territory that was such a winner for Australia and Australians. The five-seater that's coming to fill the space currently occupied by Territory, once the Ford factory at Broadmeadows closes in October, is called Edge.

Third, it's not intended as a rival for the Toyota Fortuner, even though they share a similar approach — the Fortuner was developed from the HiLux ute. Ford was actually aiming for the Prado when it developed the Everest.

So, with the background sorted, it's time to drive.

The Trend is a genuine seven-seater with heaps of space inside, the tough SUV look that so many people want and a reasonable level of standard equipment.

The youngster likes his space in the second row and a boot that easily handles his BMXer. Co-pilot Ali enjoys the light steering feel, the outward vision and the latest Ford infotainment setup, including the punchy audio package.

Me? I'm still trying to get past plastics that look and feel cheap in the cabin. The diesel, despite delivering good outputs and fuel economy — 143kW/470Nm and 8.5L/100km — is a bit on the harsh and unresponsive side.

The automatic gearbox is sound and four-wheel drive system will help when towing up to three tonnes and take me across the country without a drama. These are big pluses.

After the jerky ride on city streets, I turn on to a dirt road for the first time — and the car is much more compliant and helpful. In serious four-wheel drive terrain, it will go further for longer than I'm prepared to handle and will be more comfortable and enjoyable than a Ranger in the same situation.

But the more I drive the Everest and the more I talk to people about it, the less I dislike it.

I'm driving the Everest after a relatively recent run in a Prado and, in a lot of ways, I prefer it to the Toyota. The driving feel is far less vague at 100km/h on a country road and, although the cabin is not as plush, the big Ford seems to have more workable and usable space in the cabin.

However, it invites comparison with the Kia Sorento, which last year rewrote my rules for family-sized SUVs. The Kia is more car-like, it's a fair bit cheaper and the quality is higher, although it's not as big and tough for 4WD work or heavy hauling.

But the more I drive the Everest and the more I talk to people about it, the less I dislike it. Ali is a fan and reckons it is ideal for lots of her mum mates.

Verdict

So it's a backflip by me and The Tick for the Everest.

I still believe it's beaten by the Sorento and I can't accept some of its victories in local comparisons.

Yet the Everest is good at what it does and does what lots of people want.

Do you think Ford's Everest is worth the price tag? Let us know in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Ford Everest pricing and spec info.

Pricing guides

$38,994
Based on 101 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$29,990
Highest Price
$49,940

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Ambiente 3.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $30,800 – 40,370 2016 Ford Everest 2016 Ambiente Pricing and Specs
Titanium 3.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $40,000 – 51,150 2016 Ford Everest 2016 Titanium Pricing and Specs
Trend 3.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $32,600 – 42,680 2016 Ford Everest 2016 Trend Pricing and Specs
Trend (rwd) 3.2L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $29,900 – 39,160 2016 Ford Everest 2016 Trend (rwd) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7