Car reviews - Ford - Everest - Wildtrak
Ford brings more adventurous spirit, stand-out look to Everest range
12 Dec 2023
FORD whet our appetite for an Everest Wildtrak large SUV back in May but it has arrived in time for the Christmas stocking priced from $74,704 excluding on-road costs. Billed as an adventure model, the Everest Wildtrak joins three Ranger Wildtrak ute siblings with similar spec apart from the more hard-core off-road Ranger Wildtrak X.
But not everybody wants a rear leaf sprung ute and this particular (penultimate) Everest with coils on the rear axle is a possible alternative to the likes of Toyota’s expensive LandCruiser 300 that starts above $100K for the base model.
The V6 turbo diesel Everest Wildtrak doesn’t have any direct competition as all possible contenders are either more expensive, petrol powered, have four-cylinder engines or are soft roaders.
The 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel heart of the Everest Wildtrak is good for 184kW and 600Nm hooked up to a 10-speed auto transmission driving all four wheels full-time if desired or with a choice of 2WD and 4WD high and low range. The rear diff has a lock up function for extra traction.
In addition to the 2WD/4WD drive choices, the Everest Wildtrak offers Normal, Eco, Tow/Haul, Slippery, Mud/Ruts and Sand modes. So, something for pretty much every contingency.
It’s a ridgey-didge fourbie built on a ladder chassis with the boxy body bolted on top, high ground clearance measured at 226mm and can wade to a depth of 800mm. On top of that, the vehicle has a 30.2 degree approach angle, 25.0 degree departure and 22.0 degree ramp over with a reasonably tight 11.8 metre turning circle.
The 80-litre tank gives a theoretical range of around 850km at Ford’s claimed combined 8.5 litres per 100km fuel consumption.
Pitched one step below the Everest Platinum, the Wildtrak is features rich with goodies like leather upholstery with contrasting orange stitching, a 10-way powered adjustable driver’s seat with memory function, eight-way power adjustable passenger seat, front seat heating and ventilation, a panoramic roof, 360-degree camera technology, exterior zone lighting and ambient LED lighting.
Adding to that are three 12-volt power outlets providing one each seat row, two USB outlets in the first two rows, wireless phone charging in the centre console and dual-zone climate control with third-row vents and a handsfree powered tailgate.
You can pick the Everest Wildtrak externally by its front grille and bumper design while the bonnet, doors and rear tailgate are all plastered with bold Wildtrak badging. The bumper’s H-bar, grille surround, wheel lip mouldings, guard vents and mirror caps are all finished in a dark grey, while chrome stand-off roof rails are fitted up top.
Housed within the excellent 12.0-inch portrait style centre info screen are tech features including an embedded modem, FordPass Connect II, 8.0-inch colour digital instrument cluster with configurable display, 10-speaker audio, Bluetooth with phone / audio streaming, built-In satellite navigation with one year of connected navigation services included, Ford’s SYNC4A with voice-activated controls and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Active, passive and ADAS safety tech is commensurate with the Everest’s five-star ANCAP rating.
For more demanding off-road driving, Everest Wildtrak is available with 18-inch alloys and more off road oriented rubber as a no cost option over the standard 20-inch hoops. Both wheel choices are machine faced over matt black and both have tyre pressure monitoring.
All external lighting on the Everest Wildtrak is LED and it has auto wipers and headlights with adaptive high beam.
Ford is drawing a long bow calling this a seven-seater as the rear pew has minimal legroom, unless you slide the middle pew forward which compromises legroom for those passengers with a knock on effect in the front seats. And the load space down the back with the third row in place is once again, minimal.
However, if you treat it like a five-seater, the Everest Wildtrak is pretty comfy.
It comes with a large retractable sunroof which robs headroom for people over 180cm tall even with the seats on full low setting and could be problematic for rough, off-road driving.
There’s no paddle shift for the 10-speed auto that came as a bit of a surprise but you can use a manual button down on the shift selector. Speaking of which, hesitation between gear selection and actually hooking up the drivetrain particularly coming out of Park is somewhat irritating.
Engine output in terms of power and torque is impressive suggesting sporty performance and gear changes through the 10-speed auto are slick, both tempered by the vehicle’s weight at 2488kg which dents acceleration from a stop or low speed, less so on the move.
Ford claims combined fuel consumption at 8.5 per 100km with the test vehicle showing 9.8 for the same driving scenario.
In designing the model, presumably concurrent with the new Ranger, Ford took the opportunity to refine its ride quality that shines through most of the time. When fully loaded with seven people including two (small, cramped) adults in the third row the ride quality loses composure over large bumps and dish drains on the road bouncing up and down annoyingly in the back.
Like most new models, the Everest Wildtrak has some pesky advanced driver assist systems that wrest control of the vehicle at inopportune times but they can be switched off... every time you get in.
We had an ongoing Bluetooth hook-up fail that randomly disconnected when driving along necessitating we stop and reset.
The Everest Wildtrak has a good general drive feel and is comfortable and well appointed. The leather clad seats are the right shape with effective side bolstering that enables easy access.
Arriving at the desired driving position is facilitated by multiple power adjustments and a large, clear instrument console has easily accessible menus and readouts especially when used in conjunction with the multi-function wheel.
The centre screen is impressive as it is a good size and easy to use working in concert with other in- car systems. With 10 speakers, the audio was always going to be good, and it certainly is…
During our short stint in the Everest Wildtrak, we drove it around town, on sand, on gravel roads and on the freeway – all accomplished stress free. The suspension is indeed well resolved for off-road driving (two-up) as is the electric steering, and there’s always a ratio in the 10 speeder for any given circumstance.
We were unable to hook up a rig for towing but suggest the Everest Wildtrak would be pretty handy at this task.
We like the chunky looks of the beast as it has presence on the road added to by the Wildtrak specification that provides a more individual appearance and yes, we’d tick the Luxe Yellow box.
The 2024 Ford Everest Wildtrak is available now.
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