4 x 4 Australia - - Contents -

HAS IT re­ally been three months al­ready? They say time flies when you’re hav­ing fun, and we’ve had our share of fun with the 4X4o­ty­win­ning Ever­est Trend. And like all of our long ter­m­ers, we’ll be sad to see it go back.

Since re­turn­ing from its epic Red Cen­tre ex­pe­di­tion, the Ever­est has been on com­muter duty in Mel­bourne. It serves this pur­pose well, as it’s spa­cious and com­fort­able, and the heater warms up quickly in the morn­ings. It makes week­end es­capes easy, too, as the cargo area takes a push­bike and a bit of gear with the sec­on­dand third-row seats folded flat.

The rear seats also ac­com­mo­date pas­sen­gers – ide­ally, two adults in the sec­ond row and kids-only in the third row. Limit it to that and there shouldn’t be any com­plaints from the back. On the out­back trip, one of our adult, sec­ond-rowseat pas­sen­gers men­tioned that the seat belts tight­ened up un­com­fort­ably over the rough roads, and it was tricky to get them to re­lease.

The city grind is much dif­fer­ent to out­back tour­ing, but we still ap­pre­ci­ate the large glasshouse of the Ford that pro­vides good vis­i­bil­ity for the driver when pulling out of side streets – though we still we pre­fer the view of wide-open bush plains on the other side of the glass.

The ur­ban slog is also harsher on fuel use than the open road, and around town we’ve av­er­aged 13.2L/100km in the stop­start stab ’n’ steer en­vi­ron­ment. That equates to an av­er­age of 11.1L/100km over our three months with the Trend, which isn’t bad con­sid­er­ing its size, weight and the heav­ier Cooper AT3 tyres we had fit­ted to it.

The Cooper tyres have been fault­less, en­dur­ing the rocky out­back tracks and re­main­ing quiet on high­way and city roads. Any noise is cer­tainly cut out by the Ever­est’s clever ac­tive noise can­celling sys­tem, which adds to the ex­cel­lent over­all re­fine­ment of the wagon.

We’ve tested the Ever­est un­der many dif­fer­ent con­di­tions, and the past three months has re­in­forced our de­ci­sion to award it our 4X4 of the Year ac­co­lade.

In the bush or the ’burbs, the Ever­est re­mains a fine 4x4 wagon.

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