Ford Endeavour 2016
Ford has launched the new Endeavour 2016 and how does it stack up against the Renault Koleos, Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, Nissan X-Trail and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.
When the car was originally launched in 2003, the SUV market was a very niche space. Only chosen by a select few. Now, SUV is the buzzword and you get one in every size. But the Endeavour competes in the true blue SUV market. It biggest competitor is going to be the Fortuner from Toyota. Toyota is launching a facelift later in the year, and Ford will have some breathing space to get a foothold in the market till then.
Looks wise, the Ford has not made an attempt to make it look upmarket, sleek , luxurious .. you get my drift. But it does look good at the end of the day. The car, rather a beast , conveys what it wants to – that it is a big, macho, powerful car to intimidate everyone else on the road.
From the inside the car is luxuriously appointed. The leather on the dashboard, the plastic and chrome fit and finish befits a car in this price range. A notable feature is the active noise cancellation - a system that uses microphones inside the cabin to detect the levels of noise coming from outside, and actually feeds opposing sound back into the cabin to cancel the excess sound.
The car's instrument cluster is also modern and feeds you plenty of info - using two TFT screens on either side of an analogue speedo. The Trend variant gets most of the add-ons like the rear parking sensors, reverse camera and the power tailgate! The Titanium even has power-folding third row of seats - but even the manual seats are easy to fold and open. The 3rd row isn't the most spacious though, however there's loads of luggage space when you keep those seats folded. All variants have 3-row air-conditioning, while the tyre pressure monitoring, front parking sensors and the sunroof are only on the Titanium.
But in an SUV the most important part is beneath the hood. The American carmaker has given two-engine options. the 3.2 and 2.2 litre Duratorq. The car will be available only with two trim lines - Trend and Titanium. But combine that with the two engine options and the 2WD / 4WD , Automatic and Manual, you get many variants to choose from.
The automactic gearbox is from the Ford’s F-series pickups in the US which is a 6 speed and so is the manual. The 2.2 TDCi is available in Trend 2WD/4WD manual or 2WD automatic and Titanium 2WD automatic. The 3.2 TDCi is only available in 4WD automatic in Trend or Titanium avatars. The 2.2 litre TDCi has 157 bhp, which kicks in at a reasonable 3200 rpm. Torque is great at 385 Nm.
On the whole the 2.2 is not a beast, but feels adequate. I think there are two factors here that helped it to make a good impression with me - first the fact that the new Endeavour handles way way better than the last, and second that I drove it before I drove the 3.2 TDCi!
The 2WD and 4WD both serve as good off-roaders with the 4WD obviously being the better of the two. The car does not have that much roll around corners and is quite steady inspite of the big size.
You get an option to choose between different road surfaces to drive in the 4WD. The options being Rock, Snow/Mud and Sand modes. And the system works well on gravelly and rocky roads. Obviously we are not going to encounter much snow in India.
The 3.2 litre powerplant is obviously the one you really want. It is a different character instantly, and you're immediately aware of the massive power at hand. The massive 196 bhp is evident - but the truth is that it is more exciting and roars very nicely at lower rpms. Try and push it past 4500 rpm and the roar starts to whimper a tad. I didn't find that kind of flagging feel on the 2.2 to be honest. But the 3.2 is faster, punchier and definitely more fun - since none of us wants to really go the fastest in a straight line in a car like this. The Endeavour is definitely a true sports utility and for that the engine does the job. The 3.2 is only available with the automatic though - so if it is a manual you are after, make do with the smaller engine. And in fact therein lies Ford's strategy I think - an aggressive sticker price on the 2.2 Trend manual to take the fight to the Fortuner, and a fully loaded - all bells and whistles 3.2 Titanium auto at the top - which can hold its own against the more luxurious Santa Fe.
I had expected Ford to be very very aggressive on pricing by severely undercutting the Fortuner. But by offering prices that start just under 24 lakh and top off at around 28 lakh Ford has left plenty of room for Toyota to comfortably price it's upcoming next gen Fortuner with ease. A real miss I would think.
Class-leading ride comfort, great equipment list, plenty of grunt and looks befitting the price tag. I think Ford has a very strong flagship for its SUV range.