Why would I buy it?
- Looks good, well built, well specced
- Can off-road
Why would I avoid it?
- Noisy engine
- Not as powerful as competition
The Ford Endeavour is the best full-sized SUV in it class. It has the road presence, a fantastic ride quality, and even though it has a smaller engine compared to its competition, it doesn’t feel slow or boring. Additionally, it might not command as high a resale value as say the Toyota Fortuner, but its relatively upmarket interiors, better on-road dynamics, and the higher comfort co-efficient give it enough of an advantage.
Engine and Performance
The new two-litre diesel is more efficient than the previous engine. And though it’s not as powerful, it doesn’t make the Endeavour feel slow or lethargic or tiresome to drive. The 10-speed automatic it comes mated to, meanwhile, helps the engine deliver good drivability and shorter kickdown times. The shifts, especially when accelerating are seamless too. This heart transplant from the larger 3.2-litre diesel to the two-litre, four-cylinder unit had taken place earlier this year as part of the BS6 shift. The advantages of the new engine are obvious – it is lighter, more efficient, and as it turns out, it’s still pretty driveable. And that can be explained by its output figures. It makes 170bhp and 420Nm of torque, which for a two-litre, you’d agree is very impressive.
Add to it a smart 10-speed automatic which brings down the kickdown times, and the driveability sees another boost. What’s more, the gearbox doesn’t pick a gear too low to spoil the driving experience by revving too high, making too much noise, or giving the occupants an unnecessary head nod. It skips gears as well, which again, helps in picking just the right gear for a situation. The end result is a drive that’s calm, relaxed, but quick and alert enough to feel effortless, be it in the city or out on the highways.
However, go over 2,500rpm and the engine does get loud and clattery. Not that one needs to rev it beyond this mark frequently, not with the engine’s thick spread of torque. But when driving fast, or making quick overtakes, the engine note does take on an unrefined and metallic note, which can get bothersome after a while.
Ride and Handling
The ride on the new Endeavour is fantastic. This is especially true when one goes over badly ravaged monsoon roads of Mumbai. The ride is supple, consistent, quiet, and comfortable. The handling on the other hand, isn’t the Endeavour’s forte. It can go around a corner, no doubt. But it rolls and understeers, and it isn’t very happy about quick direction changes either; especially since it struggles to keep its rear under check. But, in a straight line and even off-road, it is nice and able.
Back to ride quality and it must be said that the Endeavour does move a little from side to side and bit front to back over mildly undulating roads at slower speeds. But, there’s nothing alarming or uncomfortable about it. And as the speed picks up, undulating roads, broken roads, bumpy roads, and what have you, are all dealt without a jolt or thump being transmitted to its occupants.
In fact, it rounds the bumps and the potholes so well – even the scary looking ones – that you might wince on seeing them, but nothing really happens when the Endeavour flies over them. Furthermore, the rear hop one used to get on the previous Endeavour is history as well. So, not spotting speed breakers now, isn’t a problem.
Off the road, the Endeavour has the ground clearance, the engine torque, and the wheel articulation to handle it all. Well, almost. Be it a bit of rock climbing, taking on gravel roads, or simply going up and down some slippery inclines, the Endeavour is clearly up to the task. Helping it along is the Terrain Management System. It has pre-programmed computer aided modes that help deliver the most amount on traction for a given surface or condition.
As for living with it in the city; the good news is that the visibility all round isn’t bad. Even via the rear windscreen. And the steering on the Endeavour is light too. It doesn’t require too many turns lock-to-lock either. And, of course, there are parking sensors, a reversing camera, and a self-park feature to further sort out things.
Interior Space and Quality
Given the Ford Endeavour’s girth and length, and the flexibility a sliding second row offers, space has never been an issue on the Endeavour. Even for the last row occupant given one positions the second row sensibly. The quality levels are good too. The plastic used, the finishes employed, and even the choice of switchgear all around, makes you feel like you are in something expensive. If anything, we would have liked to see soft grain plastic used in more places.
As we see it, words like modern, upmarket, feature-rich, well-built, and intuitive, are what best describe the Endeavour’s interior. The plastic all round looks and feels premium; the finishes all round add that hint of richness to the cabin; and all the buttons and stalks and dials that you work, have a proper feedback. And nothing inside feels flimsy or cheap or second rate. It’s a nice place to be in.
The Endeavour scores handsomely on the space and seating as well. Head, shoulder, knee and legroom both front and back is more than adequate. And then the front seats are large and cushy and adjustable for almost everything. The second row bench too is almost like a couch – comfortable to sit in or even lie down on. The last row though, not so much. One can make more kneeroom by sliding the second row forward, but headroom and thigh support are still at a premium.
Features and Safety
Be it the safety kit or the comfort and convenience features, this top spec Black Edition has almost every thing covered. From simple one touch up and down functionality for windows all round to a semi self-park feature, not to mention a plethora of airbags, there are plenty of feel-good features onboard as well. But then, for its price, one would expect that. The Endeavour Sport is identical to the Titanium Plus trim when it comes to features. So, you get a multifunctional steering that adjusts for rake, electric adjustment for both the front seats, multi-zone climate control system, a detailed driver information system with loads of info and adjustments to be had, and the multimode touchscreens system is quite elaborate in its functionality too. Additionally, you have one touch operation for all four windows, rear aircon system, and armrest and cup holders abound.
There are some nice feel-good features too – a panoramic sunroof, handsfree tail gate opening, parking assist, and in this 4x4 version – an elaborate Terrain management system which is a boon for noobs like us when we choose to go off-roading.
As for the changes relating to the Black Edition, it gets smoked headlamps, black ORVMs, black grille, black fender gills, black front and rear skid plate, black roof rails, black alloy wheels, black inserts on the side steppers, and when we move to the rear of the SUV, there’s some black garnish on the tail gate as well. And yes, it also gets sport decals on the rear doors and tailgate.
The top spec Titanium Plus 4x4 Endeavour costs over Rs 40 lakh on the road. This one with its ‘black’ bits costs a little more than that. Its main rival, the Toyota Fortuner costs nearly the same. Now, the Fortuner makes more power and torque and it’s more capable off-road. Plus, thanks to the Toyota badge, it will have better resale too. But the Endeavour claws back the advantage when it comes to ride comfort, the interior look and feel, overall quality levels, seating and space, and even the on-road driving dynamics for that matter. And as a package, we feel, it’s the best in class.
Pictures by Kaustubh Gandhi