2017 Best 4WD: Ford Everest Trend 4WD

Sales of SUVs have overtaken passenger cars as Australian tastes shift toward more versatile vehicles – even if some would struggle to take you much further off-road than a family sedan.

But there are still plenty of excellent four-wheel-drives on sale. Drive differentiates between soft-roader SUVs and full-bodied wagons with genuine ability in the rough stuff, machines that can go exploring, tow a heavy load and take you where you need to go.

2017 Best 4WD: Ford Everest Trend 4WD

Ford’s Everest was the first high-riding model to win Drive’s overall Car of the Year title, taking the main prize as well as a class trophy in 2015. Having won the category again in 2016, the Everest has done it again this year, with a hat-trick of Best 4WD titles.

That’s because the Ford Everest Trend is the complete package.

Composed and sure-footed on the road, the big unit is equally impressive on broken surfaces, where its grunty five-cylinder engine, low-range automatic transmission and sophisticated driver aids make it easy to access interesting territory

We put this class through a dedicated 4WD test in country NSW, where the Everest offered effortless performance climbing a steep and rocky slope. Able to get the job done in low or high-range modes, the Everest’s feels planted off-road, and its five-cylinder diesel engine gets the job done without feeling over-stressed.

You can sense the work Ford’s Australian engineers have put into making the Everest work in the real world – from the multi-mode Terrain Management System designed to tackle a variety of environments, to suspension that maintains its poise on country roads at highway speed, this is a large car with real finesse.

The blue oval’s biggest machine has a lot going for it – including plenty of space for families. There are thoughtful touches throughout, including charging points for all three rows and a household power outlet in the centre of the cabin, and air conditioning vents that reach each seat.

Ford’s Everest Trend is Drive’s Best 4WD for 2017. Photo: Mark Bean

Priced from $58,990 plus on-road costs in mid-range Trend form, the Everest offers an outstanding level of equipment including an 8.0-inch touchscreen with a reversing camera, sat nav and Apple CarPlay, and driver aids such as active cruise control, forward collision warning and lane keeping assistance as standard kit.

Feature-laden, with strong off-road ability and impressive behaviour on tarmac, it’s hard to go past the Everest as our best 4WD for 2017.

The numbers that matter:

  • 800 millimetres – The amount of water Everest can wade through
  • Seven – The number of power outlets in the Everest’s cabin
  • 2407 kilograms – The Everest is the heaviest Drive Car of the Year finalist

Verbatim: “As a four-wheel-drive it certainly ticks that box, it can do everything and do it fairly easily,” – Andrew MacLean.

What we liked: Excellent value, standard equipment, versatility

What we didn’t: Could use more power, heavy weight, third-row space tight.

Price and specifications:

Price: From $58,990 plus on-road costs

Engine: 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel

Power: 143kW at 3000rpm

Torque: 470Nm at 1750-2500rpm

Transmission: Six-speed automatic, four-wheel-drive

Fuel use: 8.5L/100km


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