Home' Open Road Western NSW : OR0516 Contents TO SAY THE FORD EVEREST is based
on the Ford Ranger ute doesn’t really
do the new model justice. The Ranger
has a more commercial focus,
targeting tradies who will use the tray
and impressive towing capability
more regularly. The Everest is aimed
at families – the top spec model is a
seven-seater – and buyers will want
their vehicle for a variety of urban
pursuits while knowing it can handle
serious off-road scenarios.
The Everest’s full-time 4WD system
has three off-road modes (‘snow/
mud’, ‘sand’ and ‘rock’) and the
system splits power 60/40 with a
rear-wheel bias. The dampers are
positioned outside the chassis rails
to provide better ride control and
stability. It also has low range, an
electronic locking rear diff, hill start
assistance and hill descent control.
Ford’s excellent 3.2-litre in-line
five-cylinder diesel is the only engine
choice in the range initially and, with
143kW and 470Nm at 1750rpm,
features excellent numbers if you’re
considering it as a tow vehicle.
Three spec levels are available,
starting with the Everest ($54,990),
Trend ($60,990), and the top spec
Titanium ($76,990), which is our
test vehicle. Sitting on a 20-inch
wheel and tyre package, visually
it’s an imposing piece of kit. Alloy
sidesteps give the tall body a touch
of extra width and mask its 225mm
FORD EVEREST TITANIUM
DRIVEN Ford doesn’t hide its high expectations
for its all-terrain family wagon – and rightly so
Step up inside (yes, it definitely is
a step up) and the Titanium interior
looks impressive. The clean horizontal
dash design opens it up and creates a
sense of spaciousness, despite it being
almost 40mm narrower than a Ford
Territory. The eight-inch touchscreen
is perfectly positioned high in the dash
and Ford’s latest SYNC2 system lets
you use voice commands to adjust
things like air con and audio. You can
even find a restaurant if you say, “I ’m
hungry”, and it’s more intuitive than
before. The interior finish rivals that
in many fancy European brands –
although it should at this price.
Not surprisingly, ride quality is firm
– the chassis has to keep almost
2500kg in check, with a lot of that
weight up high. Ford engineers have
come up with a good compromise
between ride quality and keeping
the Everest on an even keel. Definitely
not as agile as the Territory, the
Everest feels more like your
traditional large 4WD.
While dual cab utes are finding
favour for their versatility, ruggedness
and towing ability, vehicles like the
Everest, Toyota’s Fortuner, Mitsubishi’s
Pajero Sport and Isuzu’s MU-X , which
are based on the underpinnings of
their respective ute cousins, offer
mostly the same attributes. These
attributes, however, are wrapped in
a family-friendly package, making
them far more attractive for
everyday use. – Tim Pomroy
VW PASSAT ALLTRACK
Volkswagen’s version of the Subaru
Outback has become a worthy
competitor in the medium all-wheel-
drive wagon SUV market niche.
By numbers, the VW Passat
Alltrack is a five-door wagon with a
2.0 -litre turbo diesel engine. It sends
140kW and 400Nm to all four wheels
via VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive
system and a six-speed DSG
transmission. It can even tow 2200kg,
which is more than respectable.
What sets it apart from a normal
Passat wagon is an additional 27.5mm
of ground clearance, underbody
protection, an off-road driving mode,
plenty of fancy ‘Alltrack’ badging and
highlights, plus the aforementioned
4Motion system. Without boring you
with a list of luxuries, it has almost
everything you’d expect. Where it gets
fancier is in the safety technology.
There are nine airbags in total, as well
as a large suite of active safety aids.
It’s also a comfortable car to drive.
The driver can electronically change
lumbar and knee support. Very little
road or engine noise pervades the
cabin and, even on gravel roads, the
suspension can dampen harsh jolts –
as we discovered on an unexpected
cattlegrid and potholes on the Mount
Horrible road behind Bathurst, while
recording fuel economy as good as
5.7L/100km over a few hundred
kilometres of driving.
Off-road considerations aside,
Volkswagen has done a very good
job of building a practical, fuel
efficient diesel SUV that isn’t boring
to drive (we’re looking at you, Subaru
Outback). It’s backed by a nearly
faultless transmission and, if it
weren’t for the transmission lag
when dropping down gears for quick
acceleration, we could get rid of
the ‘nearly’. – Brendan Batty
ENGINE: 2.0 -litre turbo diesel TRANSMISSION:
six-speed DSG auto POWER: 140kW TORQUE: 400Nm
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 5.4L/100km (claimed)
ANCAP: ★★★★★ PRICE: $49,290 (plus ORC)
TOWN; TOWS WELL
A BIT EXPENSIVE;
ENGINE: 3.2 -litre
10L/100km (as tested)
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