Our Long Term Review of the Ford Everest. See my initial review of the Ford Everest here
So, I’ve had the Ford Everest Trend since March 2020, and I’ve put over 35,000km on the clock to date, with plenty of towing of our Tvan included over the period, and plenty of time off the bitumen. I’ve also been enhancing the Everest for Touring and while I’ve also been sharing that journey, I’ll update you on how I’m feeling about things there too.
To give some context to my experience with the Everest, I’ve taken it on trips to the following places both with and without our Tvan:
- Blue Mountains
- South Coast NSW
- Corner Country and Western NSW
- Barrington Tops
- NSW North Coast
I’ll try not to cover the same ground in this Long Term Review as my initial review above, and to make sense of this review, I’ll structure it into the following:
Off the Factory floor, the Everest Trend 4WD is heavy. In fact, it weighs 2387 KG at the kerb (from the factory with all oils and fuel). But with a 3100KG GVM, that is technically a 713KG payload – more than a Landcruiser 200 series GXL. Given we had a tow pack added too, the Everest was over 2400KG from factory. That is a fair bit of weight, and makes the fuel consumption figures obtained on the bi-turbo even more impressive (although I’m generally light on the throttle).
Since we received the Everest, we’ve also added a fair bit to it as well. A list of the mods we’ve added is at the bottom of the review (I’ll do a full build article soon).
So far, these items have added almost 400 KG of weight to the vehicle – I’m now sitting at 2800KG with a full tank of fuel, and tools, without factoring my weight in, sleeping gear, or trailer ball weight. And that weight obviously has implications for fuel economy.
Despite the additional weight, I have to say that performance from the vehicle is still great. The Ford Everest is still responsive when you put the foot down, unless I’m towing with the thing loaded up and the Tvan, when you need to allow speed to build if wanting to overtake.
At what I’ve done to the vehicle to date, I’m still able to stay within GVM, but I do need to be mindful of it. Most people would probably want to get a GVM upgrade just to have a bit more flexibility in managing weight, although there are not many people doing upgrades for the Everest right now.
The interior on the Everest is nice and modern. It is so quiet when you drive, you almost can’t tell whether the engine is on. Despite doing over 10,000km off-road out of the 35,000km total, the only rattles or noises I’ve noticed have either come from tools in the back, items rolling around in the inner door storage spaces, or the aerial attached to the bullbar (which now rattles after being runover when it came loose while off-road).
The seats are comfortable and the drivers seat is all electronically adjustable (I believe new models now have the electric seat standard for the front passenger too). The inbuilt Navigation system works pretty well, although I find that using Google Maps and Apple Play is sometimes necessary in newly built areas because it seems to be updated more regularly. Controls are pretty easy to use, and once you get the hang of the left and right displays on the dash, they are pretty intuitive to use.
My only real bugbear is the auto engine stop, which I have to turn off manually every time I start the car because I don’t like the engine stopping by itself, even if it starts back up really quickly, (a personal thing). Other than that, everything works like it should. The carpet is nice, but given the off-roading it gets sand and dirt in it (especially when the kids are in tow!), although a set of mats for the second row seats have pretty much solved this issue.
I’ve also added an interior liner into the boot area and it has been great at keeping sand and dirt out of the rear carpet, especially given how much I change the setup depending on what I’m doing. Sometimes I’ve got a fridge and tools, other times I’ve got a vehicle full of boxes for an event, and other times I’m packed with camera gear for a trip, or taking the family for a picnic or bike ride. The boot space is huge with the 3rd row seats folded down, and while they don’t fold completely flat, it hasn’t been an issue.
Nothing has broken, and everything is still in like new condition, despite the significant use the vehicle has had, from long touring trips to carrying boxes of gear to events, and everything in between.
The exterior of the vehicle has obviously been augmented in a number of ways. The additional weight of the bullbar and winch was handled much better with new suspension, which also gave us approx. 40 mm of increase in clearance for the body of the vehicle (check out that article here). The improvement is very noticeable when towing, where the rear of the vehicle no longer droops under load.
Even with the Rhino-Rack Platform roof rack and Batwing awning attached, the vehicle remains under 2.1m tall (even with the suspension lift and wheels and tyres). This makes it still practical for parking in the city areas when I need (I just need to remember to take the Recovery Tracks off the roof). More on the roof rack install here
Despite plenty of off-roading, the wrap we have on the car has served well to protect the paint from pinstripes, so everything has held up very well. The factory side-steps are great as a step to get in and out of the Everest, although they hang down a bit. I’m looking into replacements, but they’ve held up well so far to off-roading, and I haven’t really scrubbed in too many places after the lift, so they are definitely fit for purpose unless you plan on tackling boulders and extremely Rocky terrain.
Exterior styling is very similar to the Ranger, although the wheelbase is slightly shorter and as you would expect, there is less rear overhang.
On-road performance is really where the Everest shines over the competition. With 500nm of torque, and a 10 speed gearbox, the 2.0L is a pretty good overall package. As you’d expect it isn’t quite as responsive with all the extra weight we’ve added, but its no snail either, and still accelerates nicely when you put the foot down.
The 10 speed gearbox keeps the 2.0L producing peak torque, but this also means that under acceleration the transmission doesn’t hold gears or generally rev out as much as a 5 or 6 speed gearbox would. The result can leave you feeling like the Everest isn’t as responsive, and it doesn’t feel as fast, although I can assure you that it very much is – it is just that you don’t get the same kind of feel given the technology and number of gears available.
The vehicle feels very stable at all times, and there isn’t too much body roll. It responds surprisingly well to throwing it into a tight corner for its size and weight, even with the weight we’ve added, thanks to the well matched suspension kit from Tough Dog.
I’ve done plenty of long trips, and I have to say that this has been an absolute pleasure to mow down the miles in. I feel far less fatigued after driving long distances in this than I did in our previous vehicle. And with all of the technology (including AEB, active cruise control, lane keeping functions etc), it is even easier to drive long distances. I know my Mrs feels much more comfortable knowing how safe and solid the Everest is when I’m doing a long drive.
Off-road is where the Everest has surprised me. I can assure you that it is surprisingly capable. With a shorter wheelbase than the Ranger, it seems to handle climbs quite well, and with the additional weight it feels like it grips better than the Ranger on rocky climbs in particular. Rock Crawl mode in these conditions works amazingly well.
With a watts link setup at the back, there is some pretty reasonable travel in the rear, although the front IFS travel is limited, and like all IFS vehicles, it will lift wheels pretty easily vs older live axle 4X4’s. However, this isn’t an issue because the traction control systems are so well developed.
The Everest is actually a full time 4X4, with an automatic locking centre differential. This activates when a loss of traction is detected, although it is also engaged in certain 4X4 modes. I’ve found the traction control system very good, particularly the sand mode and the rock crawling mode. The sand mode delays gear changes to keep vehicle revs and momentum up and also reduces the sensitivity of the traction control system to help driving on sand. Rock crawling mode on the other hand dials up the traction control to maximum sensitivity to make the most out of every bit of grip the vehicle has.
Like with all modern 4X4’s, when you get to a tough bit of track, you’ll get a bit of wheelspin, and the temptation is to put the foot off the pedal and stop. However you need to gently stay on the pedal, and let the wheels spin because the traction control system is detecting the spin and calculating what it needs to do to get the vehicle moving. Holding that extra half a second often sees the vehicle move forward like it was never stuck.
The rear diff lock is also a great feature, and where the going has been particularly tough it has given me that extra ability to move forward. The great thing with the Fords is that the front traction control system still stays active, meaning that it still works on the front wheels where some brands disengage all traction control systems when the diff lock activates.
I’ve driven the Everest out in all conditions now, from sand to mountainous terrain, mud and snow and everything in-between, and I have been impressed with what the vehicle is capable of, despite the fact that clearances are slightly lower than the Ranger out of the box. The suspension lift and tyre size increases made a big difference to the ease at which the Everest has traversed terrain off-road, now avoiding scraping side steps or touching the underbody when before those changes I’d sometimes get a slight scrub.
Fuel economy has been surprising for me. When I first got the vehicle, I reported being able to get 7.6L/100km consistently. This includes about 50% of my km, and 1/3 of the time on highways. That economy obviously hasn’t kept up, but at the same time I’m impressed by the figures I can maintain given the vehicle weighs about 2880KG (including me) before I add the family. Having a Roof Rack with accessories means it is not as Aerodynamic, and when I head away I’m right up near my GVM (although I’m very careful about managing this to ensure I’m not overweight).
At current weights, I can manage 9.5L/100km when I’m not towing, which I think is very impressive for the weight of the vehicle. I’m no lead foot, but depending on conditions this can jump up to 10.5L/100km. Still very good in my opinion for the weight of the vehicle.
When off-roading, this will jump up to between 13.5 and 15.5L/100km, depending on the type of off-roading I’m doing.
If I’m towing the Tvan, I’ll average between 12.5 and 15.5 L/100km, although on really sandy or difficult off-road tracks it has been as high as 17L/100km.
This is where I think Ford shines. They have really innovated in this space, leading the way with the implementation of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) and pedestrian detection technology across their Ranger and Everest Range.
The Trend comes with:
- Pedestrian Detection and avoidance
- Lane keeping assist
- Adaptive Cruise Control
Luckily, I’ve never needed to test the first two, but I can say the adaptive cruise control and the Lane Keeping Assist are very handy. Adaptive cruise control uses an inbuilt radar and camera to detect the vehicle in front, and then determine and match the speed based on the safety distance, which you can adjust. The Adaptive cruise control is so good and so smooth you don’t even notice the drop in speed unless the vehicle in front brakes. This is a good and a bad thing as you can easily get caught behind a slow vehicle without realising.
Lane keeping is just that, and can warn you if you are not staying within the lane, as well as autocorrecting, depending on the settings you choose.
The great thing about the Ford system in my opinion is how customisable it is. You can turn off the adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist, as well as adjust the sensitivity and the response, whether that is correcting steering, or just notifying you with a warning and vibration of the steering wheel.
These settings are remembered too, which means you don’t have to adjust them every time you get into the vehicle (except for Auto-engine stop).
Most of the time with the Everest I tow about 1500KG, and the Everest handles it very well. I have towed up to 2600KG with it though, and I have to say I was able to maintain 100km/hr on all but the steepest of hills with that load, which I think is pretty impressive.
Fuel economy while towing 1500KG increases to between 13.5 L/100km and 15.5km/h, which I think is pretty good given the additional weight.
Transmission temperatures with 1500Kg increase from about 90-95 to between 100 and 105 degrees. The highest I’ve seen was 106 degrees when towing on a steep uphill ascent over an extended period. Even when towing the 2600KG the transmission temps stayed the same.
I’ve also towed the Tvan up some particularly steep off-road tracks, which have had me driving at low speeds up significant inclines for up to 40 minutes at a time. On the most extreme hills in normal driving mode the transmission temperature reached 106 degrees, but as soon as I changed into low range, the transmission temperature dropped back to low to mid 90’s. On this particular day the temperature was in the high 30’s, and to be honest the track was not really designed for towing a camper up them because of how steep it actually was so I’ve been well impressed with the towing ability.
The 2.0L has handled towing duties very well all things considered, although it is definitely working hard all the time when towing, which is evident in the boost readings. Despite that though, the water and transmission temperatures remain very steady at around the 100 degree mark, even when the outside temperature jumps up.
Overtaking while loaded close to GVM with 1500KG is definitely not as spritely, and you need to allow the vehicle to build speed a bit longer to manage an overtake, but once you build that speed it will hold it nicely.
Overall, the Everest is a great vehicle to tow with, and I’ve had nothing but good experiences with it.
I’ve not experienced any issues with the Everest, except for picking up a bad batch of fuel. There are a few things I’ve learned or mistakes I’ve made from driving it though. They are below:
Accidentally shifting into sand mode while towing
While I was out near Corner Country with Photographer Scott Mason earlier this year, I accidentally knocked the terrain mode selector into Sand mode while on the highway. The result was that the Everest started holding gears and then wouldn’t go past 8th gear on the highway.
I was convinced I had a transmission problem as a result, until I looked down and saw sand mode on the dial. Once quick flick of the switch and everything was OK.
Skipping 2nd gear when taking off while towing
It might seem strange, but the Everest actually adjusts the way it responds to the way you drive, and given the number of gears available, it always selects what it believes is the right gear for the job. Sometimes this means skipping a gear completely.
One thing I’ve noticed is that when towing, if I’m too easy on the throttle on take-off, I find that the Everest jumps from first gear to third, which seems to then labour the engine as it tries to make speed before eventually locking out 3rd gear and picking up speed. My solution to this has been surprisingly simple – I actually accelerate a bit harder off the mark, which then results in the transmission selecting 2nd gear after first and results in better acceleration with less labouring.
Want to know what gear you are in?
The Everest doesn’t show you what gear it is in generally, but there is a trick to show that information. While in Drive, simply push the + or – button on the Transmission lever, and then the gear information shows on the Dash!
The Everest is the complete package for anyone looking for a 4X4 Wagon. You won’t find something that can match the power and torque figures with the on-road handling and comfort, surprising off-road capability, payload capacity, fuel economy, solid feel and safety features.
It does everything well. It can transport the family around during the week, carry stuff away for a weekend, tow big loads, and take you to some seriously out there places. And that is before you realise its full potential with a suspension lift and some bigger, more off-road biased tyres.
While the 2.0L engine is small, in my experience even under serious load and in difficult conditions, the cooling system has demonstrated that it is more than up to the task of keeping temps in a safe zone, and the thing produces more than enough torque and power for anything you’d need to tackle.
This is not just my opinion either – many of our staff have had the pleasure of driving both our Everest and Ranger Raptor off-road, and many of them were very surprised by the Everest’s performance vs the Raptor (easily one of if not the most capable 4X4 ute out of the box in Australia). One of our staff actually choosing to buy an Everest themselves after following our build and driving it themselves.
If you are looking for a new Wagon to tour with, do yourself a favour and make sure that you test drive an Everest, even if you’ve already got something else in mind, because you might just be pleasantly surprised.
What we’ve added to the Vehicle
Tred HD Recovery tracks and brackets