I checked the tire nameplate and adjusted the tire pressure to a higher load value for this part of the test, and the rear end instantly felt tighter and bumpier – I figured that would help it handle the weight of the tow ball with ease when I hooked up. up the caravan.
I used the 360 camera zoom feature on the rear view camera to see the tow bar/pin more easily and aligned it in one go. I felt very happy.
It was noticeable how much the rear suspension sagged from the hitch – about 10cm lower, according to the tape measure – although the rear did not do a speedboat or praying mantis lift.
As I left Avida at Emu Plains en route to Robertson in the Southern Highlands, I instantly felt the rear suspension was compressed, with less travel meaning the ride suddenly became much more abrasive, picking up smaller bumps and spreading them on the cabin.
This did not improve during the day as the low speed ride comfort was quite harsh compared to the comfort of the open road.
But I was most surprised by the “luxury” on country roads, where undulations disturbed the driving rhythm, and the soft suspension made it a little shaky. Granted, it was just me and my cameraman on board, and no luggage, so maybe with a bit more spread weight it could have evened it out a bit.
As the Everest has a shorter wheelbase than the Ranger, it’s no surprise that the SUV doesn’t feel quite as stable as the ute, but I’d expect it to be a little more composed on country roads.
The steering was still pretty decent, although it took more correction than I thought it might. The trailer sway assist worked to help keep things in line, as the Everest did tend to be quite spread out, especially compared to the Ranger, and especially at 100km/h and above.
But the big plus of this whole experience was, of course, the V6 engine. It really makes towing something as heavy as light work, with an impressive amount of mid-range pulling power and heaps of lift and standoff.
The transmission was great too – I didn’t use the progressive system (where you can lock up the higher gears if you know you won’t need them) so instead I left the gearbox to drift and it was happy. sitting in 10th gear on the freeway at 110 km/h, the engine only revs to 2000 rpm.
It was also good in terms of engine braking on a slope – the transmission constantly selected the right gear and allowed the engine to assist, so as not to put too much pressure on the braking system. For reference, at 70km/h down a steep hill in the southern highlands, it happily held third gear and revved to 4500rpm.
And unlike the Ranger, brake pedal feel in the Everest was good. Not much play at the top of the pedal and good progression down the pedal. For reference, I had the onboard electronic brake controller system set to 6.0 boost.