I can totally see the charm in buying a Toyota Fortuner. I am driving one that has done over 25,000km; and hard ones at that since this is a media car. But, there isn’t a rattle, a squeak, or any issue whatsoever that I can point out marking its age. It’s almost like a new car minus the glow on the outside but enough and more on the well-used steering wheel. And that myth about other road users moving out of your way when in a Fortuner? Well, that’s true. No wonder, Toyota has been shipping over 1000 units a month of this mammoth, full sized SUV for years now.
However, last two months have seen a dent in its popularity. The reason? Launch of the all-new Ford Endeavour. And by all-new, we actually do mean all-new. From the chassis to the body to the suspension to the engines and even the interiors, have all been improved by leaps and bounds. This new Endeavor then, is in the truest sense, a generation upgrade.
So how do these towering SUVs compare? To find out we have both the SUVs in 4x4 automatic trims, the ultimate expression of capability and convenience.
Hulking good looks?
Hulking, yes. Intimidating even. But good? Maybe not. These are old-school body-on-ladder frame SUVs. So, winning beauty contests isn’t on top of their agenda. Between the two, the Fortuner is the older car and it looks a little jaded. The metal work, the stance and even the various design elements have ‘aged’, but not in a good way.
The Endeavour with its lower roofline, curvier panels, more bling all round and those 18-inch wheels, looks more up-to-date.
More so, when you step inside. The new Endeavour uses leather, metal inserts, and plastic that looks more expensive than one used on the Fortuner. Even the design of the Endeavours’s interior is significantly more modern and pleasing (and it looks like it’s inspired by Land Rovers). The Ford also gets more equipment.
There’s a nice touchscreen multi media system with everything from Bluetooth to a reversing camera and navigation. Plus, it gets three-zone climate control, a more info-rich part-TFT-part-analogue instrumentation, a panoramic sunroof, electric tailgate and electric fold for the last row of seats.
That’s not all. It also gets seven airbags, multi driving modes for better off-roading (again Land Rover inspired) and a self-park feature. All of this is missing on the Fortuner.
What’s also missing on the Toyota is similar amount of interior space. The Endeavour is longer and it sits on a longer wheelbase as well. It is also wider. No wonder when it comes to shoulder and knee room in the second row, the Ford scores higher.
It also has more room upfront. As for the last row of seats, these are equally useless for full sized adults on both cars. It is however easier to access the last row on the Fortuner.
Another plus for the Toyota is the flexibility its second row seat offers. Not only does it split and fold 60:40 like on the Endeavour, but it also reclines all the way back to produce a bed of sorts; something you don’t get in cars twice the price.
Easy to drive?
Not really. Not with that size. But, the Endeavour is the lesser of the two evils. There’s nothing to choose between the two when it comes to visibility – these are tall, wide and equally cumbersome. The Endeavour though has a lighter steering and it feels lighter on the throttle and under braking.
It also has a self park feature which picks a spot between parked cars and then steers into it without the driver having to constantly look left and right, watch the mirrors and then ask his co-occupants to step out and help. To call it convenient would be an understatement.
On the highway though both SUVs are more or less similar. They track fine in a straight line, don’t mind changing lanes in a hurry and shed speed with no drama at all. Take them up on a hilly road though and the Fortuner seems more up to the task. Now both the Endeavour and the Fortuner have no real steering feel, but the Toyota’s unit is better weighed giving the driver a hint more confidence in the SUV’s capabilities. It’s also easier to modulate the Fortuner’s all wheel drive system to return neutral turn in and handling The Endeavour just loves to understeer.
The Toyota is also stiffer of the two in terms of suspension setup. So, at slow speeds over undulating roads, broken surfaces and even road joints one can feel and hear everything that is happening underneath. And because the Fortuner is a ladder based SUV, there’s no getting away from the jiggly ride either.
The Endeavour’s ride is suppler, quieter, and more absorbent. There’s a hint of jiggle to its ride as well but it’s less intrusive compared to the Toyota. However, it’s the less pronounced side-to-side movement over poor roads, which really makes the Ford the more comfortable of the two.
Well, these are both diesels. Both displace over 3-litre in capacity. And both churn out almost 350Nm of peak torque. Okay, the Endeavour puts out a lot more. So, yes, these are torquey machines. But, these also weigh in excess of two tonnes; the Endeavour most certainly does while the Fortuner is a fence sitter here. Little wonder both the Endeavour and the Fortuner take over 11 seconds to hit 100kmph.
Between the two, even though the Ford is heavier, it is also the quicker SUV. It takes 11.3 seconds to hit 100kmph while the Fortuner takes 12.1 seconds. But then you’d expect that given that its 3.2-litre diesel engine pumps out 197bhp and a handsome 470Nm of peak torque. The Ford isn’t just quicker under flat out acceleration but in terms of driveability too.
It takes lesser time to complete both the 20-80kmph and the 40-100kmph runs in kickdown. The Endeavour completes the 20-80kmph run in 6.8s while the Toyota takes a second longer. In the 40-100kmph kickdown the difference is nearly two seconds with the Ford wrapping this up in 8.6s. What’s more, it takes lesser distance to come to stop from 80kmph as well!
But, the Ford diesel unit is loud. It has a grainy texture to its note that is more noise than sound. And it is mated to a 6-speed slush ‘box which works like an on/off switch. So, you are either at 3,000rpm making a lot of noise or at idle freewheeling listlessly. It’s a little better in Sport mode but nothing that deserves praise.
More so when you consider that the Ford comes with this while noise cancellation thing, which is supposed to significantly improve NVH. It certainly doesn’t do its job well at high engine rpm, but, when cruising at low revs, yes, the Endeavour is a serene place to be in.
The Fortuner’s gearbox is equally annoying. And it doesn’t even get Sport mode. And it only has five speeds. But, as a saving grace the engine –3-litre, 171bhp, 343Nm four-cylinder diesel – is only as noisy as the Ford; actually it is a little less at full clip. It also feels a little more refined than the Endeavour.
So, as you can tell, neither the Ford nor the Fortuner are great drives with their average auto ‘boxes. And though the Ford is a little quicker, the two are pretty evenly matched otherwise.
Final Score: 376/600
Price: Rs 34.5 lakh, OTR, Mumbai
The all-new Endeavour has rewritten the rules in its class; a class that also has vehicles like the Chevrolet Trailblazer, the Ssangyong Rexton and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport in addition to the Toyota Fortuner. The Endeavour is younger, better specced, more comfortable, safer (in equipment terms), and the easiest to drive. It is also the only SUV in its segment that can actually be termed as a ‘value-buy’ given the amount of stuff one gets as standard for this price. And it can off-road too. So, if you are still wondering which Rs 30 lakh full sized SUV should you be buying…well, the Endeavour it is.
Final Score: 348/600
Price: Rs 33.3 lakh, OTR, Mumbai
The Fortuner was never going to win this contest. It is after all, for all means and purposes, a decade old car. And it shows compared to the new Endeavour. It doesn’t have the quality, the ergonomics, the space or even the premium feel of the Ford. It can’t match the latter on equipment either, be it for comfort and convenience, or safety. And, it is not a whole lot cheaper to buy either; these are only priced a lakh apart. How does one justify that? The one thing that still works in the Fortuner’s favour, nonetheless, is a proven track record.
Photos: Kapil Angane
|CAR NAME||Ford Eneavour
|Variant||Titanium 3.2 4X4 AT||3.0-litre 4X4 AT|
|Installation||Front, longitudinal||Front, longitudinal|
|Displacement||5 cyls, 3198cc||4 cyls, 2982cc|
|Valve gear||4 valves per cyl DOHC||4 valves per cyl DOHC|
|Power||197bhp at 3000rpm||169bhp at 3600rpm|
|Torque||470Nm at 1750rpm||343Nm at 1400rpm|
|Power to weight||82.33bhp per tonne||84.5bhp per tonne|
|Torque to weight||196.32Nm per tonne||171.5Nm per tonne|
|Gearbox||6-speed automatic||5-speed automatic|
|CHASSIS & BODY|
|Tyres||265/60 R18||265/65 R17|
|Spare||265/60 R18||265/65 R17|
|Type||Rack and pinion||Rack and pinion|
|Type of assist||Electric||Hydraulic|
|Front||Ventilated Discs||Ventilated Discs|
|CAR NAME||Ford Endeavour
|Variant||Titanium 3.2 4X4 AT||3.0-litre 4X4 AT|
|PERFORMANCE & BRAKING|
|20-80kmph in 3rd gear||6.48s||7.28s|
|40-100kmph in 4th gear||8.62s||10.7s|
|Tank size||80 litres||80 litres|
|Seat back height||540||480|
|Loading lip height||820mm||780mm|
|Parameters||Max points||Ford Endeavour
|Feeling of space||20||15||12|
|IN THE CABIN|
|Feel of quality||20||13||12|