The popularity of the SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) has grown dramatically over recent years. Now an SUV comes in a range of sizes from “jacked up hatchback” to “portable house”. An SUV has many benefits for families with a ride height for simple loading of small children, prams and shopping as well as never hitting the kerb with the bodywork. It’s handy!

The added ride height, generally the equipped 4WD system and with plenty of space in the cabin, what happened to the sense of adventure? When did the SUV become more recognised as a car for taking to the shops than for taking on “out there” experiences?

We’ve been testing the Ford Everest, it’s a car commonly seen at your local soccer grounds and near shopping malls. It has room for seven, sits high, has all the creature comforts you expect in a modern car and best off all, has 4WD. Many owners won’t understand the benefits of owning a 4WD, and that couldn’t be more wasteful. Owning a 4WD is a VIP ticket. It is an access all areas ticket to some of the best places on the planet. Roads are built to take you so far, 4WD’s will take you further.

No large bull bar, no insane after-market modifications and no “dirt cowboy” stickers on the back window, the Ford Everest is ready to be driven out of the showroom and onto the dirt. Australia is a country full of opportunity for the adventurous and for even those living in Sydney, a dirt track is never far away. With little to no experience we spent 15 minutes on Google before deciding to head to McMahon’s Point in the Blue Mountains. It is a 20km trail that takes you to one of the most amazing and unique look outs in the mountain ranges. We were informed it would be easy for a 4WD and they were so right.

The view from McMahons Point

The Ford Everest has multiple modes for use when off-road but we rarely needed to use it for this track. The Ford Everest is extremely capable and along the way we also met with plenty of people taking this trail with all forms of 4WD. From utes to small SUVs being off-road doesn’t need to mean monster truck mayhem. The trail led us to a place we would have never seen in a normal road car and certainly would never have seen if we only used our SUV for trips to where the tarmac goes.

We’re fortunate to live in a country where trails are aplenty, the internet is full of information about them, and the trails are also full of people willing to help, chat and share experiences. If you own a vehicle that has remotely any off-road ability then we highly recommend using it. Take the family for a picnic where the others dare not venture. It won’t ruin your car, it won’t be a scary nightmare, it will however show you more of this beautiful land. You might even enjoy it and try more trails. You need to try it once, you need to understand a new reason for why you own a 4WD. Freedom.