For fear of feeding ALL the gender stereotypes – 4x4ing isn’t exactly something you imagine a bunch of girls doing right? It’s exactly what my friend Anne and I got up to recently though. We had a chance to get behind the wheel of the new Ford Everest and try our hand out on the trails.
I’ll be honest, it was pretty scary in the beginning. The Ford Everest is a big car and when you’re driving a long a narrow dirt road going up a mountain and you can’t always see over the top of the bonnet as you’re climbing up it can be pretty daunting. For the most part though? The car does it itself. We’ve reached the point where technology has developed to such a level that you can basically flick a few buttons and the vehicle does the rest… or at least the Ford Everest did.
I was underwhelmed after awhile. We didn’t spin out, or get stuck, or roll down a mountain in to the back of our instructor’s vehicle. That’s because the tech in the Ford Everest does all the hard work for you. Now, not everyone is running off to purchase a car to 4×4 in. I get it. But if you’re a fan of the extreme, towing your boat to the river so you can wakeboard or having to load up with kayaks for your sons’ rowing expenditions – here is some of the tech in the Ford Everest that might appeal to you.
Tech to help you 4×4:
- The Ford Everest has an advanced Terrain Management System which gives you four options: Normal, Snow/Gravel/Grass, Sand and Rock.
- Depending on the mode you’re in – the vehicle adapts and changes its traction control, four-wheel drive system and throttle response.
- If you’re on slippery roads courtesy of a Jozi thunderstorm or maybe you’re hitting a dirt road you’d move into the Snow/Mud/Grass mode.
- Sand mode changes the vehicle and allows you higher torque transfer and throttle sensitivity if you’re cruising on a beach somewhere obscure.
- Rock mode is when you’re trying to get round off road and we used that a lot on our 4×4 adventure.
- The Electronic Stability Program in the car is really the shining star though. It includes traction control, hill launch assist, hill descent control and trailer sway control. So basically you just operate the steering wheel and the breaks – the car does the rest. I can attest to this. You just hang out feeling like you can 4×4 when really, the car is doing the work.
The tech you want when you drive:
So like I said, we’re not all planning on 4x4ing every weekend. There are a few other extras in the Ford Everest that you might like.
- The Trailer Sway Control is a genius little add on for those of you who spend a lot of time out and about with bikes, boats and the like. The car adjusts to how your trailer moves on the road. I’ve towed a horsebox for years and it is a pretty daunting feeling knowing you have a heavy moving object behind you. It does sway on the road and I think this is a huge benefit for anyone who tows.
- The back seats fold all the way down but they’re automatic – so no more pulling levers and getting physical. Just flip the switch.
- The usual Ford favourites like Active Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Warnings and forward alert with collision mitigation are all thrown in to the Everest. I was curious about how many people actually use these features. I’ve always presumed that while the tech is rad, people tend to switch it off and not really use it. According to Ian Fosten, the Ford Everest’s Global Chief Designer, while they aren’t able to collect data from each and every vehicle (they should, when they service them and plug them into laptops, I think), various studies and case studies have shown that once drivers switch over to the tech they don’t switch it off. I can attest that the added bells and whistles make all the difference to your driving experience.
- My favourite tech feature in the Ford Everest is the Electronic Stability Program which includes something called Curve Control. Basically this helps you to keep control of your vehicle when you enter a turn to fast. If you drive big vehicles long distances this combined with the Roll Stability Control and Traction Control definitely make you feel safer. However, they wouldn’t let me test it out. Pity.
- There’s also Tyre Pressure Monitoring which is a fun feature that notifies you if a tyre is losing pressure – no more flats on the side of the road!
And now, to prove we really did 4×4, here’s a quick snapshot of our adventure shot off the TomTom Bandit:
For more information about the Ford Everest go here. Our trip to Cape Town and 4x4ing experience was courtesy of Ford South Africa.