For – Butch looks, comfortable ride, loads of equipment
Against – Slow-witted gearbox, headroom(3.2 variant)
Verdict – A huge step-up over the old car that is impressive in most departments
Rating – 6/10
We Indians love living an XL life. We love owning big houses, large phones, big dogs and despite our ever crowded streets we crave for large brawny SUVs. A year back if you wanted to buy a rugged SUV for around Rs 30 lakh, the Fortuner was your default choice. Toyota hit the sweet spot with its tough build, off-road capability, punchy engine, bullet proof reliability and minimal competition. Yes we had the Mahindra Ssangyong Rexton, the Isuzu MU7 and the most recent Chevrolet Trailblazer, but none of them made a big enough impact on the mighty Toyota. Now though Ford has brought the latest generation Endeavour to our shores and by the looks of it, it has the potential to really ruffle Toyota’s feathers. It looks imposing, has two powerful diesel engine options, is loaded with segment first features and has a high-tech four-wheel drive system too. So just how good is the all-new Endeavour? Read our extensive road test to find out.
Design and Style
Stand next to the Endeavour and the high bonnet looks intimidating and it simply towers over most cars on the road and demands respect. The large grille looks macho and the terrific-looking headlights with daytime running LEDs gives you all the visual drama you need. The front bumper is mounted high up too which showcases the massive 225mm ground clearance on offer.
Unlike the old car, the Endeavour looks well rounded and the tapering D pillar enhances the looks. The near 5-metre long profile is dominated by the flared wheel arches and the massive 18 inch wheels. At the rear the design is more generic and the thick chrome strip joining the tastefully designed tail lamps dominates. Unlike the old car, the spare wheel is mounted under the boot and not on the tailgate.
The Endeavour is entirely new and shares nothing with the previous generation SUV sold here. The Endeavour still uses a rudimentary body on ladder construction but the new car has far better body rigidity and packaging. Ford has also ditched the leaf spring rear suspension for a modern coil springs setup as the engineers wanted to improve the old car’s main weakness, its ride comfort and dynamics. The 3.2-litre version comes with permanent four-wheel drive system with a low-range transfer case and Land Rover like Terrain Response System. The 29-degree approach angle, 25-degree departure angle, massive 800mm wading depth and 225mm ground clearance makes this Ford a highly capable off-roader. For braking duties Ford has fitted discs all-round with ABS and EBD standard across the range.
The new Endeavour’s cabin feels three generations younger as compared to the old one. The design is modern and materials in the upper portion of the dash look really nice. The dash top is wrapped in quality leather and the chrome accents and grey finish help make the cabin lively. The large integrated touchscreen and beautifully crafted steering wheel further add to the overall ambience. The touchscreen though is slow witted and needs a firm push to operate. The instrument cluster has a speedometer in the centre and is flanked by twin digital screens which display numerous vitals including a tachometer. The 3.2 variant also gets the SYNC 2 system which gets Bluetooth telephony and voice command. Although overall quality is good, plastics and switches used for the air-con feel low rent and even the door pad material could have been better.
What you will really enjoy is the sheer size of the big and airy cabin. The design of the dash is functional and the leather seats are wide with lots of support. Like most Ford cars, the seat cushioning feels slightly hard but this is good for long drives. There is plenty of space for front seat passengers and the armrests make sitting on the large seats a comfortable affair. The rear is decently spacious too and you sit higher as compared to the front passenger. However, the high floor results in less under thigh support. The 3.2 Titanium variant also comes with a large sunroof which compromises middle row headroom. The third row is quite cramped for adults and is only good for children. The narrow access to the third row makes things even more challenging.
As for boot space, with all rows up, there’s adequate space that expands to over 500 litres with the last row folded and to a massive 2,300 litres with both the second and third rows folded on the floor. A neat feature in the top 3.2 version is the electric folding third row that folds flat into the boot floor. In the lower versions third row operation is manual but is easy nonetheless.
Safety and Equipment
The top 3.2-litre variant comes packed with features like leather upholstery, sunroof, powered driver’s seat, powered third-row folding, rear camera, powered tailgate, an auto-dimming mirror, automatic HID head lamps and auto park assist.
You also get seven airbags, ESP, traction control, hill launch assist and hill descent control.There’s a TFT touch-screen music system with 10 speakers and a Sync system with voice control along with the regulars.
Even the 2.2-litre motor comes in the top Titanium variant but interestingly it misses out on quite a few features. It misses out on features like sunroof, powered third-row, powered tail-gate and it also gets one airbag less.
Engine, Performance and Braking
The Endeavour comes with two diesel engine options. While the smaller 2.2-litre 158bhp engine comes with an auto as well as manual transmissions, the larger 3.2-litre engine just gets the automatic option and comes only in 4x4. We drove the the 2.2-litre 4x2 auto and the larger 3.2-litre 4X4 variants.
Let’s start with the larger 3.2-litre motor and it produces a very healthy 197bhp and 470Nm of torque. It has loads of grip off the line and this helps the car post a quick 0-100kmph time of 11.4 seconds. However, flat out, the engine does become noisy and this is despite the noise cancelation tech Ford has employed in the car. Then there’s the slow-witted automatic gearbox that takes much away from the driving experience. This also results in relatively slow 20-80kmph and 40-100kmph in-gear times of 6.48 seconds and 8.62 seconds respectively. You can change gears manually via the Tiptronic function which makes things much better. This large capacity motor feels best when driven in a relaxed manner. There is loads of torque right from the word go and even the strong midrange makes overtaking easy. When driven at part throttle the gearbox shifts early and keeps the engine in the meat of the powerband and performance feels effortless. Sound insulation is good too with wind and tyre noise only making their presence felt post 120kmph.
The 2.2-litre motor on the other hand has just four cylinders and is rear-wheel drive only. By deleting the all-wheel drive gear, the 4x2 sheds a massive 170 kilos. So, despite being 40bhp down on its all-wheel-driven sibling, you’ll never feel the need for more power. There’s little lag to speak of and the smaller motor feels even more responsive in slow moving traffic. The 0-100kph time of 14.37s is entirely respectable and the 2.2-litre’s refinement is slightly better too with the engine remaining quiet at low and cruising speeds with a bit of a growl when you accelerate hard. It’s only when you are on the highway will you notice the difference when past 2800rpm the smaller motor starts running out of fizz. There is no point mashing the throttle too as it makes more noise than grunt. The 2.2 version is more suited for relaxed cruising and if you need the extra power then you are better off with the 3.2-litre engine.
Ride and Handling
This is one department where the new Endeavour feels completely transformed as compared to the old car. We weren’t expecting this big Ford to have great corner carving abilities but it actually felt better than we expected. There is a bit of body roll, but it's not disconcertingly so and the 3.2 version with on demand AWD makes it feel surprisingly surefooted. The 4X2 variant feels even better. The steering feels more direct and less corrupted as compared to the 4X4 as there is no push-pull of the four-wheel drive system, and this makes it noticeably better in town use. What we would have liked though is more grip. The wide all-terrain tyres squeal even during mild cornering and more road oriented tyres would have been welcomed.
The ride is impressive too. The Endeavour absorbs everything our roads throw at it. Potholes are dispatched with distant, well-damped thunks and it manages to retain decent composure without feeling uncomfortable. If anything, it is that this absorbent ride leads to a bit of pitching at higher speed but by segment standards it isn’t half bad.
We also drove the Endy in peak hour traffic and the sheer length and width can make it a bit of a squeeze through tighter spots. Still, the big glass area and square sides make it easy to judge where its extremities lie. Owners will also appreciate the top versions Park Assist feature, which will automatically steer the car into a parking slot if it decides the space is big enough.
The 3.2-litre Endeavour also comes with a low range gearbox and the massive ground clearance and its 800mm wading ability gives it great off-road potential. It also comes with Land Rover like Terrain Response System which has three modes – Snow/Mud, Sand and Rock mode. This system alters the traction control, ABS and ESP to make it capable in any given situation.
Price and Fuel Economy
Rating : 3/10
The Endeavour range starts from Rs 23.6 lakh for the base 2.2 manual variant. The 2.2-litre 4X2 AT Titanium variant we have tested here costs a competitive Rs 26.1 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) and the top 3.2-litre Titanium version is a bit pricey at Rs 28.2 lakh. While the more powerful variant seems expensive on paper it comes loaded with never seen features in the segment.
Understandably the 3.2 variant is less efficient than the smaller 2.2. It returned a low 7.5kmpl in the city and 11kmpl on the highway. The 2.2-litre on the other hand returned 8.5kmpl in the city and 12.1kmpl on the highway cycles respectively. We feel the disappointing efficiency figures are mainly down to the Endeavour’s two tonne plus kerb weight and the slow witted gearboxes.
Final Rating: 3.75/5
The new Endeavour has definitely been worth the wait and it shines in many areas. It rides and handles well for a big SUV, it is spacious, comes loaded with features, and the interior quality is decent too. Where it lacks as compared to the rest of the car is in its engine and gearbox package. Though both motors aren’t underpowered, a better gearbox would have made it much more potent package.
According to us the 2.2-litre variant will suffice for most. It is more refined, feels better for in town driving, has much better efficiency and is more affordable too. The 3.2-litre on the other hand will give you more grunt on the highway, lot more features and a potent 4X4 hardware if you are ready to spare two lakhs more. As an overall package we think the Endeavour is a well-rounded SUV that is better than its main rivals in many respects.
Photography by: Kapil Angane
|CAR NAME||Ford Endeavour|
|Variant||2.2 AT Titanium 4X2||3.2 AT Titanium 4X4|
|Displacement||4 cyls, 2198cc||5 cyls, 3198cc|
|Valve gear||4 valves per cyl, DOHC||4 valves per cyl, DOHC|
|Power||158bhp at 3200rpm||197bhp at 3000rpm|
|Torque||385nm at 1600rpm||470nm at 1750rpm|
|Power to weight||70.59bhp per tonne||82.28bhp per tonne|
|Torque to weight||172.02Nm per tonne||196.32Nm per tonne|
|Gearbox||6-speed auto||6-speed auto|
|CHASSIS & BODY|
|Construction||Five-door SUV, ladder on frame|
|Type||Rack and pinion, electric assist|
|PERFORMANCE & BRAKING|
|20-80kph in kickdown/3rd gear||7.46s||6.48s|
|40-100kph in kickdown/4th gear||10.02s||8.62s|
|Tank size||80 litres||80 litres|
|Seat base length||500mm|
|Seat base length||480mm|
|Loading lip height||820mm|