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CarWale Off-Road Day 2016- Ford Endeavour

Introduction

 
We are standing at the entrance to 19 Degree North beside our little fleet of SUVs and ahead of us lies a massive off-road trail and a full day of mud plugging. Our organisers turn up and quickly everyone calls dibs on various vehicles. Caught in a moment of temporary distraction I’m left with the massive Ford Endeavour for the day ahead. On the face of it, I contour my expression into a mask of acceptance but secretly, like Chinese Olympian swimmer Fu Yuanhui, I am pleasantly surprised at my fortune and gladly jump into the driver’s seat of the vehicle I had been eyeing all along!

The Numbers

Before I get into my experience on the path less taken here are some of the facts about the Ford Endeavour. The car that we had was the top-of-the-line 3.2-litre 4X4 AT Titanium variant. Its massive five cylinder engine produces 197bhp and a healthy 470Nm of torque.

Power is sent to all four wheels via a six-speed AT and a torque on demand AWD system. There is also a low range system as well as what Ford likes to call a Terrain Management System which modulates various things like torque, throttle and steering response depending  on which mode you choose. In addition you also get 225mm of ground clearance, ability to wade into water of up to 800mm and 265/60 R18 tyres. Lastly the Endeavour is 4.82 metres long and weighs a hefty 2.39 tonnes.

Going off-road

Priced at Rs 31.17 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai) it is on the expensive side and will more often than not be purchased by those wanting something large, luxurious, fashionable, comfortable and have the ability to go to most places without much hesitation. It is this last feature that we wanted to explore as we wanted to know what it would be like to muscle such a huge vehicle on an off-road expedition for the average buyer. It would also give us a chance to fiddle with all the kit that Ford has fitted into the car with regard to making it a capable off-roader. 

Our first step to discovering this was to try out all the modes of the Terrain Management System. There are four mode- normal, snow/mud, sand and rock climbing. We used normal on the road while switching to snow/mud mode dulled the response of the throttle in view of the rough terrain. Through every pit, rut and water body that we forced the Endeavour, it manged to come out unscathed and we only had to back off after a certain point due to narrowness of the path and in some cases the degree of incline.

Impressed so far with the ability of this massive creature, we decided to give the rock mode a try and went and found ourselves a rocky path. This would give us an idea of its ability to articulate over uneven surfaces. Now doing something like this is a bit extreme and as is the case with anything extreme, you have to prepare yourself. To activate the rock climbing mode, the four low has to be engaged and only then you can enter the rock climbing mode. The Endeavour is derived from the same platform as the Ranger pickup truck. This means you get some massive suspension travel, a boon when it comes to climbing over obstacles but a lot of effort when it came to us wanting to show it in the photographs. The rock mode can be combined with the hill descent control to help you climb down a steep slope in a controlled manner. It is another matter that size and weight of the vehicle will intimidate you when upon lurch forward to make the descent.

If its sensation and a bit of theatricality that you are looking for then this car does quite a good job as you can feel the weight shift around when  you move in any direction. You can also feel the electronic differential shift torque between the wheels when the SUV is struggling for grip. Oh and when you have to force the car out of a slushy pit/ waterbody, you can feel the rear dance around behind you. There is a bit of visual element too as you get a compass, angle readouts, altitude as well as barometer as a part of the package. 

But there is a catch right?

However, it is not all wind in the willows with the Endeavour and we discovered a few downsides when it comes to off-roading.  Firstly, it is massive thanks to the weight and length which means that you would definitely need a navigator/spotter to guide you and you will be limited in terms of challenges that you can tackle.

For aesthetic reasons the spare tyre has been moved underneath. Puncturing any of the mains is going to make things quite gruelling for you. Because of the massive bonnet and height it is hard to judge the edges.

Oh lest we forget, and this is a big one especially if the car is a daily driver- It has creamy beige interiors which while looking pleasing to the eye gets soiled faster than single ply tissues being used to clean up spilt food. After a day out in the wild you are going to have dirt caking the car in places you did not think it was possible to do so.

Conclusion

As the sun set and the plummeting temperature began to attack us, we bade farewell to 19 Degree North and climbed down Aamby Valley. Out on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the Endeavour returned to being a quiet and comfortable mile muncher letting me reflect on our day out. I had a blast with the SUV and would definitely recommend it if you plan to do some off-roading once in a while.

Pictures: Kapil Angane

Location courtesy: 19 Degree North

An adventure sports outfit located at Aamby Valley City near Lonavla that offers activities like riding ATVs, paintball shooting, Zorbing, and Jungle Safari among others.

Click here to read the introduction of CarWale Off-Road Day 2016

Click here to read about the Renault Duster AWD at the CarWale Off-Road Day 2016

Click here to read about the Land Rover Discovery Sport at the CarWale Off-Road Day 2016

Click here to read the road test of the Ford Endeavour

Photos

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Ford Endeavour Price in Popular Cities

CityOn-Road Prices
Mumbai₹ 32.57 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 30.02 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 32.3 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 32.57 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 31.93 Lakhs onwards
Bangalore₹ 33.85 Lakhs onwards
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