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Road Test: Ford Endeavour [2009-2014]

CarWale Team, 15-Sep-2009. Car Tested: Endeavour [2009-2014], Version: 3.0L 4x2 AT
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Introduction

SUVs in India are a strange breed. You can have the true mudplugger, but don’t expect much by way of creature comforts. If it has good on-road manners, forget about off-road prowess. If it’s both you like, you can be reasonably certain that it will be priced well beyond your budget. Ford India has refreshed its Endeavour, their SUV, and added the option of an automatic gearbox on the 3-litre version. This automatic gearbox is Ford India’s first auto ‘box in ten years, and endeavours to offer the consumer a comfortable mile-muncher without compromising on the vehicle’s butch image or go-anywhere ability. Does it work?

Exterior

The Endeavour retains its boxy, old-school dimensions, but some details have been changed. The headlamps are now peeled back at the upper outside edges and have ‘eyebrows’ that make it look a lot more modern, following the international Ford family look. There is also ‘Endeavour’ embossed on the chrome strip at the top of the grille, with three horizontal chrome strips going across the grille, which now boasts an oversized Ford badge. The bumper has been redesigned as well, with the intercooler now clearly visible behind it and silver fog lamp surrounds. From the side, the first thing you’ll notice is the new graphics that run from the side scoop with the ‘Endeavour’ bullet, another design detail from Ford’s international family look, as can be seen on the 2010 Taurus SHO. Chromed mirror housings and door handles are new as well, as are LED indicators on the mirrors. The new five-spoke split-spoke wheel design is very appealing and easy to clean. The rear remains mostly the same; the tail-lamps get a nose job and the rear bumper is a three-piece unit, making replacement cheaper for the owner should it get damaged while off-roading. The 2.5-litre Endeavour can be distinguished from the 3.0-litre immediately by the absence of graphics on the sides. Everything else on the outside is similar. Personally, we like the cleaner exterior on the 2.5-litre variant.

Interior

   There’s a mix of beige, black, silver and brown on the inside of the Endeavour. The colours go well together, with nothing looking out of place. The centre console is dominated by the touchscreen audio system, which is the first thing that will catch your eye when you enter this vehicle. The next thing you will notice is how comfortable the front row is. The seats have supple leather and are bolstered in the right places, and hardly need any adjustment. Fit and finish is of a high order, with consistent panel gaps and plastics that look and feel good. The instrument binnacle remains the same, with the speedometer dominating the tachometer and the temperature and fuel gauges. A new addition is the row of lights that indicate what position the gear lever is in.
    The driver will quickly find a good driving position, what with the comfortable seat. The steering wheel doesn’t telescope, however, and the pickup-truck handbrake, when engaged, will hit the left knee of any tall driver who likes to sit close to the wheel. There will no complaints from the person riding shotgun – there’s a surfeit of space in that seat. The second row is comfortable as well, and despite the three seatbelts provided, the middle passenger wouldn’t be very comfortable. The third row is best left alone – the seat base is almost at floor level, and the tops of tall people’s heads will be inches from the roof.
    There is a separate air-con blower for the second and third row, with the control knob set within easy reach of the occupants of the second row. The air-conditioner didn’t chill fast enough for our liking when the motor is idling, but begins cooling effectively enough once the engine is revved. On the terribly hot day that we drove the car, it took a little time before cool air was blowing from the vents for the second and third rows.
     The audio system utilises a Kenwood touchscreen head unit that is quite the magic box – it will accept a DVD, will play mp3s, has a slot for SD cards, has a USB port in the glovebox, can be configured to play a movie on the roof-mounted screen and music on the front speakers, will allow you to make and receive calls via Bluetooth, help you find your way around with the inbuilt satellite navigation system and display images from the reverse camera – and all this is standard! We didn’t get the opportunity to give the roof-mounted LCD screen a go, but we can tell you that along with an easy-to-use interface, the system sounds reasonably good. The audio settings were locked, and we couldn’t find a solution in the user manual, so we couldn’t tweak it to our satisfaction, but it should be enough for all except the most particular of owners. It reads mp3 discs quickly and phone conversations are loud and clear. The SD card and USB slots make it extremely convenient for you to carry a lot of music, and the optional iPod connector will help those who prefer using that particular device. It offers  the occupants the option of splitting audio output, so that the second and third rows can enjoy a movie while the driver has a conversation over the Bluetooth-paired phone and gets directions from the sat-nav system’s voice commands. The sat nav subscription plan has free upgrades for a year, post which the owner will have to pay for upgrades.
    There is a lot of storage space in the car – the glovebox is large, there are two cupholders for each row including the third row, the door pads have bottle holders big enough for a one-litre bottle and there are three power outlets in the car – two in the centre console and one in the boot. The boot is large enough with the third row folded, but is too small to be of any real use when all three rows are in place.

     This is where the 3.0-litre and the 2.5-litre variants are worlds apart. The 2-DIN touchscreen on the 3.0-liter is absent on the 2.5, and this makes a world of difference to the perception of the interior. The 2.5 retains an aux in jack and a radio antenna, to make it easier for an aftermarket audio installation. The gear lever for the manual gearbox falls neatly to hand, and the pedals are spaced well apart. It’s nice to see that dual airbags and ABS are now standard across the Endeavour range.

Engine, drivetrain, fuel efficiency

Engine
   The Ford Endeavour Auto is available only with the 3.0-litre engine from their Duratorq lineup. This four-cylinder 16-valve engine displaces 2953cc and produces about 155bhp at 3200rpm and a whopping 380Nm of torque at 2500rpm. This engine has a variable geometric turbo, which kicks in at 1800rpm, to boost power. The engine is fairly quiet and refined at idle and even whilst cruising. Put pedal to metal and the torque at low revs will please you with the way the Endeavour surges forward. Our initial test figures tell us that the Endeavour does 0-100kph in 20.7 seconds, which may appear slow. However, this wasn't a full road test and we're sure that the car can better that time. We'll update you when we get it for a full-road test.

  The Endeavour’s common-rail 2499cc four-cylinder turbodiesel mill makes 142bhp@3500rpm and 330Nm@1800rpm. This isn’t much less than the 2.0-litre’s output. This engine is extremely low on noise and vibration – only when revved hard does it get vocal, and even then vibrations are well damped. The drivability of this engine pleasantly surprised us – it hums along at a mere 1500rpm in top gear when the speedometer indicates 80kph, and 2000rpm at an indicated 100kph. Floor the loud pedal, and it begins to haul the car from 1500rpm onwards, with a strong surge from 1900rpm up. The torque begins to tail off after 3000rpm, but the engine will soldier on to at least 4700rpm. The dash to 100kph was covered in 14.0 seconds and the quarter mile covered in 19.4 seconds.

Drivetrain
   The five-speed automatic transmission is the Ford India's first automatic . It offers the driver five forward gears with 2H, 4H and 4L modes. This gearbox disconnects the engine once you get off the throttle, so your vehicle coasts in what is effectively neutral, saving fuel. Drive is engaged once you depress the throttle. This is characteristic of the family of gearboxes that this auto comes from – it is similar to the gearbox used on the Explorer and, among other models, the Mustang. Gearshifts feel slow, but the car manages quite well with the amount of torque available. The vehicle did a 30-50kph run in 3.7 seconds and 50-70kph in 4.5 seconds.
   The gear lever has a button to shut out overdrive for quick overtaking manoeuvers, and the lever can also be placed in the slots which limit the car to the bottom one, two or three gears. The lever has a smooth yet positive action when moved through the gate.

   The long-throw gear leverof the 2.5-litre manual slots neatly into all five forward speeds positively, but cannot be hurried. The ratios feel quite tall, but the enormous torque from the engine makes sure there aren’t any hiccups at any point. The tall gearing means the 30-50kph slog in third gear took 4.3 seconds, and a slow 8.5 seconds in fourth gear. This also meant that the 50-70kph run in fifth gear took 10.2 seconds. Power goes only to the rear wheels, but the limited-slip differential keeps things in check during enthusiastic cornering.

Fuel Economy
    Our test of the 3.0-litre wasn’t done on our usual cycle and test route, but the figures we got indicate that this is an efficient vehicle for a just-over two-ton behemoth with a large engine and automatic gearbox. Owners can expect about 9-10kpl. We’ll update this figure as soon as we can put it through our standard test procedure.

    An overall figure of 9kpl wasn’t too bad for the 2.5-litre manual, considering the amount of hooliganism the Endeavour was subject to. It dipped to 6.9kpl during testing, our most rigorous cycle.

Ride & Handling, Steering

  The ride in the first two rows is smooth. However, the ride for the last row gets harsh over large bumps or through big potholes thanks to the progressive linear leaf springs attached to the solid beam axle. The Endeavour corners well with a bit of body roll which is understandable due to the vehicle’s high centre of gravity. It grips exceedingly well through the bends and is surefooted over varying road surfaces thanks to the torque-sensing limited slip differential.
  The 3.0-litre Endeavour’s steering response is slack around the centre due to the ball & nut system, which isn’t as precise in feeling as the rack and pinions we’ve all got accustomed to. It is accurate around corners, although a little more feel would have upped driver confidence a lot more. On driving the 2.5-litre, we suspect that it was a problem unique to our test car - we'll update you once we get an example for a full test.

  The 2.5 handles so much better than the 3.0: it could be the addition of welcome engine braking to slow this behemoth; it could be the fun of stirring the stick to change gears; it definitely was the better steering feel our test car in Mumbai offered. The 3.0 we drove in Chennai only offered straight-line thrills, but surprisingly, the 2.5 was a lot of fun through bends as well.

Braking, Tyres, Safety

Braking
    The Endeavour still has drum brakes for its rear wheels, which robs it of feel and stopping power. The automatic gearbox’s characteristic of disconnecting the drive when the driver gets off the throttle also doesn’t help the brakes’ cause. ABS and EBD are present, and the Endeavour managed to stop from 80kph in 41.0m and 3.3 seconds.

    Downshifting to get the maximum out of engine braking in the 2.5-litre manual gets the brake pedal pulsing madly under the activation of the ABS, but at no point will the car undermine your confidence by doing something untoward. The 2.5 halted from 80kph in 40.6m and 3.0 sec.

Tyres
    The new wheels are shod with 245/70 R16 MRF ZVRL tyres that offer a good blend of on-road performance and off-road capability. They can get a little noisy at speed.

Safety
    The Ford Endeavour shares a similar platform with the Ford Ranger pick-ups sold in Thailand, hence this ladder frame has crumple zones engineered into it to keep the passenger cabin intact in the event of a crash. The Endeavour also features four airbags for the occupants of the front row - two being two-stage airbags for the front and two for the sides - and an anti-lock brake system with Electronic Brake force Distribution. It is nice to see that both variants have ABS and dual airbags as standard.

Cost, Overall evaluation

The Endeavour is the second example of Ford India giving its customer exactly what he wants without having to resort to aftermarket accessories. The Fiesta 1.6S was the first example – it didn’t need anything added to it if all you wanted was a sports saloon. The Endeavour is another example of Ford hitting the nail pretty much on the head – all we would want to add to the vehicle is window tint. The nearest diesel SUV with an auto ‘box is the Chevrolet Captiva, and it is a soft-roader that is priced a few lakh more than the Endeavour. This difference can get you a small hatch! The Endeavour is the only true off-roader with a diesel engine and an automatic gearbox at its price point, and comes loaded with features which customers in this segment want. It is a product which deserves to succeed at the price, especially considering Ford’s efforts to reduce ownership costs and the recent investment of 500 million USD towards their small car plant, which shows their commitment to the Indian market. The 2.5 manual, at Rs 16.8 lakh, ex-showroom, Mumbai, makes a lot of sense when you consider the amount of car you get at the price. We’d pick the manual over the automatic for its great driving characteristics and install a good aftermarket audio system to get the best of both worlds. Plus, there’s no denying the fact that when it comes to road presence, the Endeavour leads the rest of the SUVs.

 

Test Data

Engine Specifications - 3.0L 4x4 AT

2953cc, 4 cylinder in-line turbo diesel. 155bhp@3200rpm and 380Nm@2500rpm. View specifications

Speedo Error

Speedo Reading (kph) Actual Speed (kph)
40  -
60  -
80  -
100  -
120  -
140  -

Max in Gear

Gear Speed (kph@rpm)
1st  47.5@4200
2nd  67.2@4200
3rd  97.3@4200
4th  -
5th  -
6th -

Performance Test Data

Top Speed -
0-60kph  8.7sec
0-100kph  20.7sec
Quarter Mile (402m)  22.4sec@104.2kph
Braking 80-0kph  3.3sec@41.0m
30-50kph in 3rd*  3.7sec
30-50kph in 4th*  4.5sec
50-70kph in 5th* -

Fuel Efficiency

  City Highway Overall Worst
Mileage (kpl)  - -
-
-

 

 

Engine Specifications - 2.5L 4x2 

2499cc, 4 cylinder in-line turbo diesel. 142bhp@3500rpm and 330Nm@1800rpm. View specifications

Speedo Error

Speedo Reading (kph) Actual Speed (kph)
40  35.7
60 54.7 
80  74.7
100  93.7
120  111.6
140  130.7

Max in Gear

Gear Speed (kph@rpm)
1st  41.2@4900
2nd  71.2@4700
3rd  112.0@4600
4th  154.7@4300
5th   ---
6th -

Performance Test Data

Top Speed** 162.3kph 
0-60kph  5.5sec
0-100kph  14.0sec
Quarter Mile (402m)  19.4sec@116.7kph
Braking 80-0kph  3.0sec@40.6m
30-50kph in 3rd  4.3sec
30-50kph in 4th  8.5sec
50-70kph in 5th  10.4sec

Fuel Efficiency

  City Highway Overall Worst
Mileage (kpl)  --  10.4  8.4  6.9

 

*In kickdown

**Achieved while testing

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