THE last time Carsguide roadtested a Ford Everest, it caught fire. Colleague Peter Barnwell escaped unharmed and Ford, after inspecting the charred remains, traced the problem to an incorrect battery replacement at the plant in Thailand.
Even before this “one-off” incident, we were keen to get acquainted with this revived segment of the market.
Amid the popularity of “faux-wheel-drives” and “softroaders”, heavy-duty 4WD wagons with seven seats have made a bit of a comeback.
The reason? They’re relatively cheap because they’re largely based on ute underpinnings (the Ford Everest is the same as the Ranger ute from the front doors forward).
And some buyers want to really get off the beaten track rather than just dream about the big getaway.
We wanted to spend some time with the new Everest given Ford had boldly priced it $7000 above the RRP of the Toyota Fortuner and Holden Colorado7. Given that Holden has a longstanding discount on Colorado that widens the driveaway gap to $15,000, we were keen to see if the Ford was worth the extra money.
The range starts at $54,990 for the Everest Ambiente but that’s a bare-bones proposition; we have the most popular variant, the $60,990 Everest Trend.
There’s no doubt it drives better than its direct body-onute-frame rivals but it’s not as planted as, say, a car-derived Ford Territory.
We also noticed it takes a few seconds for the transmission to warm up. Several times after starting the engine from cold on a slight incline, the Everest unexpectedly rolled back rather than engage in gear — even though Drive in the six-speed auto has been selected.
I’m now accustomed to waiting five seconds before selecting D, something that’s not necessary in the 250 or so other cars we drive each year.
First impressions are good, though. And I’m starting to notice the subtle changes between the Everest and the Ranger. Apart from the Everest’s more sophisticated rear suspension and brake setup, audio boffins might appreciate the superior audio.
We’re also looking forward to sampling its towing abilities. Until next time …