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Ford Everest 2020 review: Ambiente RWD

The Ford Everest Ambiente RWD is a solid family car with generous proportions.

So, you're after a big car, but you're not really the off-road type? Some people just want a sizeable car.

Not everybody loves camping, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out on the generous proportions of something like the Ford Everest, does it?

You're in luck. This Ford Everest Ambiente rear-wheel drive (RWD) has all the bulk of a 4WD Everest, without the off-road capability, and it's about $5000 cheaper.

So, if you know you really won't use that 4WD, this could be a better option for you.

It comes with seven seats (although there are five seat options) and is in competition with similar cars like the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Toyota Fortuner. I test drove it for seven days with my family.

How does it look?

The Everest was never meant to win any beauty pageants. It's big, it's butch, and it looks suitably tough, if that's what you're after.

The front is wide and bullish, there's no real sense of refinement on the exterior and it looks like you're about to take off into some rugged, rocky driving, even though you'll probably be doing the school run.

  • Not everybody loves camping, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out on the generous proportions of something like the Ford Everest, does it? (image: Dean McCartney) Not everybody loves camping, but that doesn't mean you have to miss out on the generous proportions of something like the Ford Everest, does it? (image: Dean McCartney)
  • The Everest was never meant to win any beauty pageants. (image: Dean McCartney) The Everest was never meant to win any beauty pageants. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • It's big, it's butch, and it looks suitably tough. (image: Dean McCartney) It's big, it's butch, and it looks suitably tough. (image: Dean McCartney)

The interior feels similar - with a smidge more sophistication. Everything is well laid out with a clearly designed centre console area but it doesn't look at all luxurious, which you're not expecting on this car anyway.

So the seats are fabric and the steering wheel isn't leather, but strangely it's not disappointing because that's exactly what you're expecting from a Ford Everest.

It looks like it can take in some dirt and without completely ruining everything. Great for a family which doesn't keep its car pristine.

  • The front is wide and bullish. (image: Dean McCartney) The front is wide and bullish. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • There's no real sense of refinement on the exterior and it looks like you're about to take off into some rugged, rocky driving. (image: Dean McCartney) There's no real sense of refinement on the exterior and it looks like you're about to take off into some rugged, rocky driving. (image: Dean McCartney)

How spacious is it?

There is loads of room in the front, with plenty of leg and head space, even for the taller members of my family.

The children also had an abundance of space in the back seat and I did too (at 161cm). There was a good amount of space between my knees and the seat in front of me. Taller adults and teenagers should have enough space, too.

The third row was tight even for me, but you can move the second row forward to distribute the space more evenly between the two rows, so people will have to compromise if you're going to fit any adult in the back seats.

  • With that third row in use, the boot will fit a suitcase on the side, or groceries, or school bags. (image: Dean McCartney) With that third row in use, the boot will fit a suitcase on the side, or groceries, or school bags. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • It's measured at 450L but that's to the roof. (image: Dean McCartney) It's measured at 450L but that's to the roof. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • With the third row down, you'll get a much bigger 1050-litre space. (image: Dean McCartney) With the third row down, you'll get a much bigger 1050-litre space. (image: Dean McCartney)
  • It will fit a double pram or small children's bikes or sporting equipment. (image: Dean McCartney) It will fit a double pram or small children's bikes or sporting equipment. (image: Dean McCartney)

Small children will be fine, but even after a short time in the third row I really wanted to get out of there.

With that third row in use, the boot will fit a suitcase on the side, or groceries, or school bags.

It's measured at 450L but that's to the roof. With the third row down, you'll get a much bigger 1050-litre space (also measured to the roof) that will fit a double pram or small children's bikes or sporting equipment.

The children also had an abundance of space in the back seat and I did too (at 161cm). (image: Dean McCartney) The children also had an abundance of space in the back seat and I did too (at 161cm). (image: Dean McCartney)

How easy is it to use every day?

The third row seat is exceptionally easy to pop up and down, and it's light enough for virtually anyone to do, so you will be able to configure your car the way you need it for that moment.

It's not particularly easy to climb into, but children will love the challenge.

The car is very high off the ground and my children (aged five and seven) really had to hike up and climb in even just to the second row. They did love this, and the big jump out of the car.

The third row was tight even for me, but you can move the second row forward to distribute the space more evenly between the two rows. (image: Dean McCartney) The third row was tight even for me, but you can move the second row forward to distribute the space more evenly between the two rows. (image: Dean McCartney)

The front seats are manually adjustable which is always a bit of a pain, but the park brake turns on and off automatically (big bonus points for this) and keyless entry is standard.

There are six cupholders in total, two in each row, and the front row gets a storage spot to throw keys and a phone, a large centre storage bin, plus bottle holders in each door.

The second and third rows each have extra air vents in the roof, with climate-control adjustment in the second row.

The seats are fabric and the steering wheel isn't leather, but strangely it's not disappointing because that's exactly what you're expecting from a Ford Everest. (image: Dean McCartney) The seats are fabric and the steering wheel isn't leather, but strangely it's not disappointing because that's exactly what you're expecting from a Ford Everest. (image: Dean McCartney)

How does it drive?

The Everest's exterior belies how it drives. It's loud, with a diesel engine that chugs along like you're in a small truck, and that's certainly what it feels like because it's quite bouncy and you need extra effort to press down on the accelerator to go fast - it's not a light press.

Once you're underway, though, it goes well. There's a 3.2-litre, five=cylinder diesel engine that bangs down highways and gets up hills - with effort, yes, but you know it's got the power to get there.

The car is very high off the ground and my children (aged five and seven) really had to hike up and climb in even just to the second row. (image: Dean McCartney) The car is very high off the ground and my children (aged five and seven) really had to hike up and climb in even just to the second row. (image: Dean McCartney)

It's high off the road and you do feel confident, if not a little arrogant at such high altitude relative to others on the road.

Yes, it's big, but I was driving it in narrow suburban streets and didn't have too much of an issue manoeuvring through parked cars.

Once you choose a park big enough it's easy enough to get in with a reverse parking camera. It does have a large turning circle but that is expected of a car this size.

How safe is it?

There are airbags to cover the driver and front passenger, and side curtain airbags that extend down to the third row, making it usable long term and for long distances.

Advanced safety includes all the big ones - auto emergency braking, blind spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control... among other things.

There are five top tether points across the second and third rows and two ISOFIX points in the second row to fix kids car seats in safely.

It received a maximum five-star ANCAP rating in 2015.

What's the tech like?

The Everest is fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which basically turns the multimedia screen into an oversize phone, with a few of your essential apps to use while driving - maps to navigate, or your favourite streaming app to listen to music or podcasts.

It's also got voice control so you can ask the system to make calls and send texts while driving, without touching your phone.

The sound system is also decent, I turned the volume up and the speakers didn't distort.

Everything is well laid out with a clearly designed centre console area but it doesn't look at all luxurious, which you're not expecting on this car anyway. (image: Dean McCartney) Everything is well laid out with a clearly designed centre console area but it doesn't look at all luxurious, which you're not expecting on this car anyway. (image: Dean McCartney)

How much does it cost to own?

The Ford Everest Ambiente RWD costs $49,190, before on-road costs with fuel consumption coming in at a claimed 8.4L/100km.

It's covered by Ford's five year/unlimited km warranty. and servicing is recommended every 15,000km or 12 months.

The Everest's exterior belies how it drives. (image: Dean McCartney) The Everest's exterior belies how it drives. (image: Dean McCartney)


The Wrap

The Ford Everest Ambiente RWD is a solid family car with generous proportions that will fit seven people, as long as the people in the last row are little. It's easy to drive, with a robust exterior and interior, and has a good amount of safety with the latest in technology.

I gave it a family rating of 7.3/10, my children gave it a 7.5 - they loved climbing in and jumping out of such a high-riding car.

Likes

Interior space
High proportions
Easy third row use

Dislikes

Lack of refinement
No 4WD

Scores

Nedahl:

3.7

The Kids:

3.8

$49,190

Based on new car retail price