Rarely does it happen that a premium product finds more appeal than a mass market product of the same brand, especially in a market like India. But looking at its popularity over the years the Ford Endeavour proved every theory wrong. It has been around for more than a decade and has been the choice of wheels for the kinds who want to own a big muscular SUV. Naturally then this new generation of the Endeavour has been keenly awaited. A 7-seater SUV that looks great, promises to be big on luxury and features and also drives well; the American car maker has promised the world to their future buyers, but in a segment where the buyer is amongst the most conscious it’s never an easy task irrespective of how great the car is.
For starters keeping in tune with the changing times Ford has given the Endeavour a much needed makeover when it comes to design. It’s not so edgy anymore and a lot of curves find a place on the car. The first striking thing is the double barrel projector headlamps that fit very well into the body structure. Then there are daytime LEDs as well which means that this one is an attractive set of wheels on the road.
The Octagonal grille looks imposing and the best part is that it is covered with a lot of chrome and nothing else. Overall from the outside the Endeavour looks like a perfect mix of sophistication and muscularity. The silver shaded guard on the front and rear does the same job that plastic cladding does on smaller cross hatches but in a much better way. The 18 inch wheels look massive and eager to take on any terrain and even the bigger wheel arches somehow manage to not be an eyesore. In a market where sub 4 meter is a very commonly used term the Endeavour is almost 5 meters long and that just means good space inside. The spare wheel now finds a place under the car instead of the rear hatch which itself now opens upwards instead of sideways. It can be opened and closed at the touch of a button. The way the chrome bar on the rear merges into the tail lamps also presents a very pretty picture. Other design elements that should be there in a SUV like roof rails and rear spoiler are here as well. Getting in and out of could be a bit cumbersome despite the presence of a big footboard. The sunroof only finds a place on the top Titanium variant.
The cabin is plush, comfortable and feature rich. There’s a touch screen infotainment system which comes with now popular Ford Sync system that apart from making and receiving calls also reads text messages and takes voice commands. The meter console is made of two digital screens on either side of an analog speedometer and the best part is that these screens adapt to give the driver different sets of information. The combination of black, beige and leather is very premium and looks great to the eye. Some other nice touches include electronically controlled driver’s seat and customizable mood lighting. The 10 speaker sound system does its duty well here and goes on mute in case the front passengers are not wearing their seat belts. The steering wheel is all black and probably could’ve done with a few lesser buttons on it. What is most disappointing is the absence of satellite navigation on an SUV that costs this much and is also supposed to go off-road. With all 3 rows of seats up there’s isn’t too much luggage space but the third and second row of seats can be folded down to create a lot of room inside the car. Also the second row comes in a 60:40 ratio and it can also be slided to make more space in the third row. But getting into the third row itself is a struggle as the second row of seats are not fully foldable like many other 7 seats. The good thing is that the third row has individual AC vents, cup holders and the back rest can be reclined.
The 18-inch wheels look massive and eager to take on any terrain and even the bigger wheel arches somehow manage to not be an eyesore. In a market where sub 4 meter is a very commonly used term the Endeavour is almost 5 meters long and that just means good space inside.
The Endeavour comes with a lot of aids that make it more convenient for the driver. These include cruise control and trip tronic function again on the top variant. The SUV also comes with a very smart ‘Active Noise Cancellation’ technology that ensures least possible cabin noise. Microphones emit a low-frequency sound to oppose and minimize the noise made by the engine. There are two Diesel engine options on this new Endeavour. A 2.2 litre 4 cylinder motor churns out 158 bhp while the more power 3.2 litre 5 cylinder motor gives 197 bhp. There are manual and auto options on the smaller engine and the bigger engine gives options of a 4x2 and 4x4. The 6 speed auto gearbox that we sampled does take some time to get into its good form. There is slight turbo lag initially but a few moments into the drive it shy’s away. Mid-range is where you’ll enjoy the Endeavour the most. In any case this is not a car made to win drag races. This is a heavy set of wheels but even then 2.2 litre motor does a great job of carrying it along. With manual transmission, this motor delivers a fuel economy of 14.12 kmpl while Automatic transmission will deliver a fuel economy of 12.62 kmpl.
Ride & Handling
The ride quality is the biggest highlight on the new Endeavour. The suspension is tuned extremely well to handle all the bad roads and the car gives a very comfortable ride to all passengers. Despite big dimensions the car is agile and handles really well. The super light steering wheel also helps in a relaxed drive. Its only when you throw the car around at corners at high speeds do you feel some amount of weight transfer but that isn’t a situation you would want to face in a SUV too much. Generally it is one hell of a supremely confident and comfortable drive, no matter how high or low the speeds are. The Endeavour also comes with different traction control settings for offroading that includes Snow/Gravel/Grass, sand and rock. Some features that make this one a safe car include Curve control, Roll stability control, 7 airbags, Hill decent & ascent, blind spot warning and lane departure warning.
The new Ford Endeavour is a complete all round package that delivers on all counts. This includes its features, looks and the way it drives. The starting price of Rs. 23.64 lakh is being billed as pretty attractive and undercuts the main rival, the Fortuner by some margin. The top automatic 4x4 3.2 litre variant rounds off at Rs. 28.15 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). All this just means that when Toyota comes with the new Fortuner sometime later this year it’ll have to come up with something that will match up to this fantastic set of wheels.