It’s our reigning 4X4OTY, but how well does the Ford Everest respond to some mild touring modifications?
The underside benefits from a replacement underbody protection plate made from 3mm zinc-coated steel
WE’VE made no secret that we here at 4X4 Australia like the Ford Everest. We were instantly impressed with the ability of the Australian-developed wagon when we went on a development drive through the Simpson Desert with some Everest prototypes more than a year before they were launched. We were again knocked out by its ride and refinement when we finally drove the production models in Thailand, and then back home in Victoria when we pitched it against some key rivals in the 4x4 wagon class.
When we lined the Everest up in the strongest 4x4 Of The Year field in many years it took top
1. Suspension upgrade comes with a 40mm lift. 2. Tyres offer grip for mudplugging and kerb-crawling. 3. Shapely rock-tamer protects under the nose.
honours as the pick of 2015, and it backed up that award when we drove our long-term tester on an outback adventure back in June.
The only thing left to know was how well the Everest performed with some touring kit on it. Unlike many other vehicle manufacturers, Ford Australia has dropped the ball when it comes to offering a strong range of off-roadfocused accessories for its 4x4s; so it’s left that to an aftermarket industry that is only too happy to jump on the opportunity.
ARB certainly took up the challenge, and this vehicle is loaded with products it offers for the Ford. As the Everest shares many components with the Ford Ranger ute, ARB already had many products to suit, but some had to be re-engineered for the wagon, while others had to be specifically developed for it.
SUSPENSION & PROTECTION
THE first upgrade most owners will make to any new 4x4 to improve its all-terrain performance is to replace the tyres, and the standard rubber on this Everest Trend was replaced with a set of Cooper ST Maxx on the factory 18-inch alloy wheels. The ST Maxx is an aggressive all-terrain-style tread pattern and is wellsuited to a family 4x4 that sees double duty in both the bush and the ’burbs.
The tyres work with ARB’S Old Man Emu suspension package, which consists of raised coil springs that give a 40mm lift in ground clearance, along with matched OME Nitrocharger Sport shocks. While the increased ride height keeps the undercarriage a bit further away from the terrain, the underside also benefits from a replacement underbody protection plate made from 3mm zinc-coated steel. This better protects the area under the engine and steering from those obstacles that can’t be cleared. With its independent front suspension the Everest is prone to bottom out on the cross member and, while the firmer suspension does limit its compression, the protection plate still gets well used. The underbody plate also has allowance for the rated recovery point that is secured to the front cross member.
Also protecting the Everest is an ARB Summit steel bullbar, brush bars and side
1 2 Articulation and lateral grip make the Ford easy to drive. 3