The Trend is the mid-level entry to Ford’s largest SUV range. The model I drove was a 4WD and was fitted with the 'Tow Pack' and 'Premium Pack', which includes an electric folding third row seat as well as a full-size spare wheel and tow ball.
You can pick up this model for $62,390, before on-road-costs, with the Premium Pack adding $550, and the Tow Pack $1000, for a total of $63,940.
It competes with the Isuzu MU-X and Toyota Prado, but also less rugged alternatives like the Mazda CX-9 for its size and features. I drove it on a mix of city and country roads during a week of heavy rains and quickly became fond of how capable I felt behind the wheel.
This car is unashamedly rugged and the design proudly showcases it with the wide chrome grille, oversized badge and chunky curves of the bonnet.
With my 168cm height, I felt tiny beside it and needed the broad side-steps to get in! The 18-inch alloy wheels and wide tyres just add to the striking curb appeal.
The rear looks slightly bulbous because the tail balloons out underneath the back window, but it doesn’t detract from the overall good looks.
This car is unashamedly rugged. (image: Dean McCartney)
I hope you like monochromatic shades, though, because the colour choice is limited. You can choose from white (no-cost), or grey, silver, black, another white, or a dark grey-blue (all adding $650). There are no flashy reds to be found in the line-up.
However, this isn’t a plain Jane and you can’t help but peek at it as you walk past.
This version of the Trend 4WD has a 2.0-litre, twin-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine, which will cost you $1500 more than the less powerful 3.2L, single-turbo, five-cylinder diesel you can also get across most Everest models.
First of all, you have to remember you’re driving a four-wheel drive and you’re not going to be ‘zipping’ around. But if you can get your head around that, the diesel engine has the grunt necessary for your daily errands and family trips.
It complains loudly to you when you're hauling cargo or going up a hill but you never feel you’re not going to get there. It can sometimes feel reluctant to get going but I can forgive that because it’s big.
The steering is direct and even in sharp bends the car feels solidly placed on the road. (image: Dean McCartney)
Despite the high ride and bulk the drive is very comfortable. The suspension is forgiving and kind on passenger backsides. You do have to drive it like a tall SUV, though, as there is some roll in sharp corners and bends.
I didn't get a chance to drive it off-road, but I think what I like most about the driving is that I felt capable and safe.
The steering is direct and even in sharp bends the car feels solidly placed on the road.
Despite the high ride and bulk the drive is very comfortable. (image: Dean McCartney)
Despite its scale the Everest is quite easy to park. It’s tall and lean, and even in tighter car parks, you don’t feel like your doors are going to get banged by your neighbour.
The easiest way to park is to back into a space, rather than to go in nose-first. And I noticed something curious while I had this car.
It seems drivers of big Fords like to park near other big Fords. I'd come back to the car park to find a Territory or Ranger parked next to me, as if there was a mutual understanding that a big Ford driver will respect the space necessary to manoeuvre around them. There was a sense of camaraderie while driving this that I haven't experienced with other brands.
It’s well spaced inside, carrying the large SUV design aesthetic of the exterior into the interior.
You can see this with the storage. The glove box and centre console are large and provide plenty of space for your oddities.
There’s a space for your phone and keys in front of the gear shifter plus you have large bins on both doors. There are two cupholders up front, as well as a bottle holder in each door.
Haven’t been seeing them as often nowadays but it also has a sunglasses holder, which I like.
It’s well spaced inside, carrying the large SUV design aesthetic of the exterior into the interior. (image: Dean McCartney)
The second row is an impressive space with an emphasis on ‘space’. There’s ample room for three adults with great leg and headroom.
There are map storage pockets behind the seats and storage bins on both doors. My five-year old was excited to see the air vents in the ceiling, which he was able to position himself. He also had a good view out the window, which he loved.
There’s a middle armrest in he centre row with two-fold-out cupholders as well as a bottle holder in each door.
There are two ISOFIX points in the second row, as well as three top tethers and I think with the right car seats, you could get three side by side.
The second row has ample room for three adults with great leg and headroom. (image: Dean McCartney)
It was a bit of a juggle fitting my son’s car seat in because of the height of the seats. I couldn’t manage to hook the top tether on from the backseat because the belt had twisted and I had to climb into the boot to do it which felt a bit awkward.
The seats are a 60/40 split-fold and also slide forward for passengers to access the third row.
The third row is still spacious but the lower seat positioning does compromise leg comfort for older passengers, although this is pretty typical of a third row where pre-teens and kids will enjoy it most.
There are two top-tether child-seat anchor points in the back row, too, but you’d probably put an older child back there who didn’t need assistance with buckling themselves in.
The seats are a 60/40 split-fold and also slide forward for passengers to access the third row. (image: Dean McCartney)
There are also a cupholders on each of the side panels, as well as air vents in the ceiling. I’m a bit obsessed with directional air-vents and I’m really pleased all rows have this feature.
One of the stand-outs in this car is the boot! With the third row down, the boot is large at 876L and will fit a jumbo pram and the shopping or luggage without blinking.
I even had my mum’s (very large) German Shepherd in here without any trouble. If you need extra room, you can fold the second row down to increase volume to a hefty 1796L.
One of the stand-outs in this car is the boot! (image: Dean McCartney)
With the third row down, the boot is large at 876L and will fit a jumbo pram and the shopping or luggage without blinking. (image: Dean McCartney)
I like the interior's leather-look and chrome accents but the dash is plain and the middle dials seem to curve down and in, making it difficult to use them when you’re on the go.
Also not super fond of having to access the touchscreen menu to change the direction of my A/C airflow instead of just pushing a button.
I like the dual-controlled instruments on the dash where you can customise your view, and selected the compass and fuel efficiency gauge while I was driving. Would like chunkier stalks, though, as the ones installed are a little dickey.
The dash is plain and the middle dials seem to curve down and in, making it difficult to use them when you’re on the go. (image: Dean McCartney)
The leather seats are comfortable, although, my husband would have liked lumbar support on the front passenger’s seat, as it’s only on the driver's. But that might not bother everyone.
The model I drove did have the Premium Pack, which means the third row folds down and up electrically. I really like this feature and it's easy to adjust boot space because of it.
It's great the second- and third-row seats all fold flat, creating a level cargo bay. And my personal favourite for the boot is the powered tailgate – which, while slow to open, is a must have feature on a car of this size.
This car has a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating but it was tested all the way back in 2015, and the standards have changed significantly since then.
But it still has an impressive line-up of safety features which I really liked, including adaptive cruise control (with forward collision alert), and front AEB (with pedestrian detection).
It also has lane departure warning and lane keeping assist, as well as 'Hill Descent Control', 'Hill Launch Assist' plus a reversing camera and front and rear parking sensors... and there's more. These safety features have definitely been well thought out with families in mind.
This car has a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating but it was tested all the way back in 2015. (image: Dean McCartney)
The car has seven airbags (driver and front passenger, front side, driver's knee, and side curtains covering all three rows).
It has a total of two ISOFIX points (in the second row) plus five top tethers (three in the second row and two in the third).
You could technically get five car seats in the Everest but access to the third row is awkward and you wouldn't be placing a child you had to help fasten their harness.
I drove all over town, on wet country roads and highways, and my average figure (based on the trip computer) was 8.0L/100km. A little off the official figure but very impressive for a car of this size.
The Everest comes with a five-year/unlimited km warranty, which is standard for the class.
The high driving position and sheer practicality of this car will make me suggest it, should anyone in my family be wanting a large SUV. I love the family-orientated features, like the powered third row seats and tailgate and that each seating row has a generous amount of space and passenger comfort. I could fit the school bags, shopping and dog in the back with room to spare. The dash is plain and sometimes the engine doesn’t sound very graceful but it's more than sufficient for my family’s daily needs.
Ultimately, if this was a horse, it’d be a Clydesdale – big and imposing to look at but with a placid and dependable nature.
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