2017 Ford Everest Ambiente 4×4 review – Tow Test
A proper, heavy-duty tow test for the 2017 Ford EverestAmbiente materialised thanks to equal parts coincidence and five-steps of sheer stupidity – but the rare opportunity to put a large-SUV through its heavyweight towing paces on the highway was a chance not to be missed.
What’s that sheer stupidity you ask?
Step 1: Buy an 1800kg, 1965 Buick Riviera from interstate.
Step 2: Think to yourself, ‘yep I can tow that home no problem’.
Step 3: Realise most common hire trailers are rated to 1400kg max.
Step 4: Also realise most trailers won’t be big enough for the 5200mm long car.
Step 5: Confront the reality that most SUV test vehicles don’t have the requisite electric brakes.
And then, like a bolt from out of the Blue (Oval), in steps the Ford Everest, booked in for review anyway, ideally for a proper tow test, and with the correct electric braking system, at just the right time.
The only negative? I have 800km of driving ahead of me – each way – over two days. Road trips are never fun if you have all the time in the world though, are they?
First up, we found two Kennards Hire locations in the Sydney metro area that have almost new (not even on their website yet) heavy-duty car haulers. Rated to carry a maximum load of 2240kg, and with clever 12V-powered Bluetooth brake controllers, not to mention a tough hand winch and plenty of tie downs, the trailers are more than a match for the task we had in mind. We paid $177 per 24-hour period to hire the trailer, compared to around $90-$100 to hire a conventional trailer.
Weighing in at 900kg, the trailer would bring the total weight to 2700kg (give or take a few kg), bringing the tow value close to the Everest’s 3000kg limit. To be fair, we’d have liked to set the Buick back a little further on the trailer but the sheer size of the thing made strapping it into the trailer hard enough – not to mention the sharply pointed nose, that would have copped a surgery job from the winch mount if we’d pushed the car any further forward.
That aside, the trailer itself is excellent, and allowed us to position a behemoth of a car nicely, thus distributing the weight safely, too. Don’t do what we saw on the way south either, and load a lard-arse like a Jeep Commander backwards on a car trailer, so all the weight is over the very back of it… hmmm.
You know our general thoughts regarding the Everest, but a couple of tow-specific, road-trip focused points come to mind after 1600km behind the wheel.
The seats and the trim Ford has used are excellent. Comfortable, broad, soft enough without being formless, and breathable, a long run down the freeway is easy and comfortable. There is no fatigue to speak of and these seats (the same as the Ranger’s) are as good as it gets, even compared to vastly more expensive, luxury cars.
There’s plenty of cabin storage for wallets and smartphones, bottle holders where you want them, and a console bin large enough to hide valuables like a third-party satellite navigation unit – which you’ll need because the Everest doesn’t have one.
I like to use one anyway to check real road speed when using the cruise control, so being able to hide it out of sight is a bonus. The Bluetooth system is excellent, with a rock solid connection and excellent audio streaming response too – great for long road trips.
With the cabin details noted, it’s onto the driving. First up we had to tow the empty trailer 800km. The Bluetooth controller, which simply plugs into a 12V power socket and ‘talks’ to the trailer is excellent. It has a display, which allows you to dial the brake sensitivity back as far as you like, or turn it up as much as you need.
We set that system just above zero and the in-car electric brake system to zero with the empty trailer on. If you’re wondering whether the Bluetooth controller works, I moved it to the mid point, and the trailer brakes would lock up the minute I touched the brake pedal – very clever, effective technology and a simple-to-use system.
The broad external rear view mirrors are also excellent. Many standard 4WD vehicles don’t provide mirrors large enough to work well for towing, but the standard offerings on the Everest are excellent. Even with the car loaded onto the trailer, I could see right down past it, making lane changes and manoeuvring particularly easy.
You won’t need any ugly add-on mirrors with the Everest, unless you’re towing a particularly wide caravan for example. For almost all normal towing duties, the standard mirrors are perfect, which is clever work by Ford given how many manufacturers overlook this simple addition.
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