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2019 Ford Endeavour 3.2 4x4 Automatic First Drive Review

Introduction

This is the new Ford Endeavour. It’s not brand new from a generation upgrade standpoint, but it is a facelift. It gets some minor changes on the outside, some upgrades on the inside, and the re-introduction of the manual gearbox, which we will talk about in a bit.

Now, we have always quite liked this particular generation of the Endeavour. Not only is it butch and towering and a little in your face, it’s also comfortable, dynamically able, and very well built. Especially for something that sits on a ladder platform, can genuinely go off-road, and excel at it too.

We drove the new version around Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. We drove it over narrow, arrow straight and undulating roads; over narrower but massacred tarmac; and over dirt trails that were narrower still. And, it traversed across it all with utmost grace. But, the highlight of the drive was the dune-bashing we managed to do on this two-tonne plus beast. How cool is that!

How is it on the inside?

It’s more or less the same. So, the quality of plastics, the fit and finish, the look and feel, and the operability of switches, buttons and knobs, all feel decently upmarket. There’s no change to the interior design either and the facelift carries over the same dash, centre console, steering, aircon vents, and instrumentation.

What has changed though is the multimedia screen. The new Endeavour uses Sync 3 and it employs a bigger screen. The resolution is good, the touch response is immediate, and sound quality for the system is outstanding. In terms of features, all the prerequisites are there. It gets various media inputs; there’s Apple Carplay and Android Auto; there’s in-built navigation; and it doubles up as the reversing camera screen as well. 

Other features in this Titanium Plus include three-zone climate control system, semi parking assist, a panoramic sunroof, electric fold for the last row of seats, keyless entry and start, hands-free boot opening and closing, and power adjustment for both the front seats. There’s no shortage of safety kit either – there’s ABS, ESP, parking sensors at the front and back, auto headlamps and wipers, and seven airbags.

What’s more, the Endeavour’s cabin remains a quiet and comfortable one. There’s noise cancellation, courtesy smart speakers; the seats all round are large, cushy and supportive and there's ample space. Besides that, with the powered tail gate and split and fold for the second and third rows of seats, there’s plenty of flexibility that comes as standard on the Endeavour.

What we would have liked better though is the look and feel of plastic at places. It’s on the ball almost everywhere, but the flat black plastic around the gear shifter looks tacky. Also, the start/stop button could have had a higher sense of occasion to it.

How does it drive?

This variant here is powered by the 3.2-litre, five cylinder diesel. It only comes mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The drivetrain is identical to the older car. So, when driven with a light foot, it munches miles without noise or bother. Even if you feather the throttle, the Endeavour just picks up its skirt and canters along effortlessly. So much that unless you look at the speedo, you wouldn’t know you have been cruising at three digit speeds.

The engine still produces a little under 200bhp, and it still generates a mountain of torque from a pretty low rpm – 470Nm at 1,750rpm to be exact. This is good enough to propel the Endeavour to 100kmph from a standstill in under 11.5 seconds. But, this heavy footed driving causes a little too much engine noise. And, if you keep that throttle floored, fuel efficiency will take a dive. 

On the roads we traversed in Jaisalmer – the straight, the undulating, the broken, and the missing kind – the Endeavour was a dream. Yes, it kicked its rear up a few times when we failed to spot a speed breaker, but otherwise, it smothered almost everything in its path. But then again, the ride was always one of the hallmarks of this generation of the Endeavour.

It’s not all ungainly over winding roads either. For starters, it has a relatively quick steering, and the turn-in into corners isn’t exactly slow either. Sure, it doesn’t feel like a hatchback, but for a body-on-ladder SUV riding on tall profile tyres, it’s impressive.

Then there’s the Endeavour’s off-roading capability. This, the 3.2 comes with Terrain Management System as standard. It has three specific off-road modes barring the auto mode. In Sand mode, throttle response is more direct and the ESP allows more slip. In Snow / Mud, the throttle response is standard but the ESP is more alert. And in Rock mode, the throttle response is dulled while 4x4 Low allows for higher torque multiplication in lower gears to improve tractability over rocky terrains.

We have used Mud and Rock before on the older car during our Off-Road Day tests, and the Ford did really well then. But, Sand was new to us. Firstly, it is soft, and the Endeavour is a heavy car. Then, we had regular road tyres on instead of purpose built ones. But, we did drop the air pressures to give us a larger contact patch to help slow down our sinking.

But, as was the case in the other two modes, the Endeavour nailed the Sand test as well. Whether it be banked turns on the dunes, steep 45 degree drops, or even 30 degree uphill runs, the Ford did it all. Now, I did get the SUV stuck once while negotiating a tight left uphill sweep. Then too, it was my doing – I just turned the steering too much and didn’t floor the power pedal hard enough. But, all I had to do was back up the SUV, and with higher momentum, less steering lock, and full gas, I made it!

Why should I buy one?

If it’s a capable, imposing, well-specced, safe and a full-sized SUV that you want – one that can take you to office, your extended family away for a weekend getaway and you and your friends for some serious off-roading fun – well look no further. The new Endeavour fits the bill.

This is the top of the line Titanium Plus 3.2 4x4 version. However, if you aren’t the serious offroading kind, but want the rest of it, there’s a rear wheel drive automatic with a 2.2-litre diesel engine to choose from as well. And, if you must have a manual, because well, it’s the traditional thing to do, there’s also a 6-speed manual one can opt for with the 2.2 diesel.

Where does it fit in?

Honestly, not much has changed under this head. The Toyota Fortuner is still the Endeavour’s biggest rival. And, the bit players like the Isuzu MU-X and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, continue to be, well, bit players. There is a new entrant in the Mahindra Alturas G4, however. But, it’s too early to surmise just how big a challenge the Alturas will pose to the Endeavour.

Photos: Ruel Rebello

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Ford Endeavour Price in Popular Cities

CityOn-Road Prices
Mumbai₹ 34.2 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 34.2 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 31.52 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 33.88 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 35.55 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 33.44 Lakhs onwards
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