Ford seems to know the heart of the Indian SUV buyer. The company knows that Indians love a big, brawny-looking car that delivers on road presence. It should also have a punchy diesel engine and seven-seats are an added bonus. Perhaps that’s why, the original Endeavour was a runway hit with Indian SUV buyers when it was launched. The car’s big, boxy shape and gigantic proportions endeared it to SUV lovers. Also, the fact that it had no real competition in the segment in its initial years meant it was the default choice for many.
Ford is hoping that the new Endeavour will build on the strengths of the outgoing car and bring in more customers to its dealerships. Well that’s the plan, atleast.
There is no doubt that the Endeavour really looks the part. The huge rectangular shaped chrome grille is the highlight of the face, as are the square shaped lamps. The LED-units look cool and upmarket. The high mounted grille also gives a sense of indestructibility to this car. The side profile with its chunky tyres and puffed up arches gives it a muscular look. It is the side angle which also gives you a true sense of the car’s girth. This SUV has a longer wheelbase then both its main rivals, the Toyota Fortuner as well as the Chevrolet Trailblazer. The rear gets rectangular lamps and a chrome strip running along the tail gate. Overall, it’s a muscular design that commands plenty of road presence and something that SUV buyers will love.
The big boxy shape on the outside helps liberate loads of room inside. The last row of seats is surprisingly roomy once you slide the middle row forward. Unlike rivals, which offer the last row as an ornamental addition, the Endevaour’s seats are actually useable for taller adults over long journeys. Last row occupants get their own AC vents as well as cupholders for longer journeys. The middle row is generous on comfort as well with ample seat cushioning as well as support. There is a big hump in the floor panel, but because it is a genuinely wide car at the back seating three should not be an issue.
The front occupants will get a good view of the road ahead from the nicely perched up seats. The quality of interiors is definitely superior to the outgoing car and as good if not better than its main rivals. The design of the AC vents and touchscreen unit is similar to the much more expensive Range Rover Discovery, which gives it an upmarket feel. Overall, it’s a stylish and spacious space to be in.
Engine, performance and gearbox
The Endeavour will come with two engine options. There’s a 3.2-litre diesel TDCi with 198bhp and a smaller 2.2-litre TDCi with 158bhp of power. The top-end engine comes with only a six-speed automatic, while the smaller engine comes with an auto as well as manual gearbox. We drove the big 3.2-litre engine. It is brilliant for sheer power delivery. There is a bit of sluggishness below 1,800 rpm typical of most diesels but after that power is available in huge torrents. The engine is also pretty responsive in nature and loves to rev all the way to its redline.
You have to be careful about flexing your right foot because before you know it the Endeavour is doing illegal speeds. Refinement levels are good as well once you are on the move. The automatic gearbox though is a little slow to respond to throttle inputs at times and even though it is adequate at performing its duties, it does let the hugely capable engine down ever so slightly.
Ride and handling
Most big SUVs aren’t supposed to offer adroit handling but the Endeavour is different. The steering is responsive and offers good feedback and there is very little body lean as well when pushing it into tight corners. The chunky tyres also go a long way in absorbing bumps. This car doesn’t allow anything to enter into the cabin. Ride at slow city speeds and highway speeds is excellent for comfort. It’s only the largest of undulations that make their way into the cabin.
Safety and features
You get seven airbags, traction control, hill descent control, ABS, Ford’s Terrain management system, cruise control, dual zone climate control, powered tailgate, electrically operated driver’s seat and a host of other features as standard kit on the top of the line Titanium version. It really does come loaded.
The Endeavour offers a unique mix of comfort, luxury, strong road presence as well as punchy diesel engines. It also offers a lengthy list of features and 4x4 capabilities. All this for an expected starting price of Rs 25 lakh makes it the best SUV in its segment and a better bet than its main rivals.
Images by Mohd. Nasir