The All New Ford Endeavour
The Americans as we all know have always tried to compete with the Europeans,in the field of cars at least. Bob and Bill in the factories have always tried to make something better but, unfortunately they were always distracted by some sort of hamburger?! And, Americans have been so ambitious in fact that Chevrolet even once thought “ Yes,we can make a car which would be much more superior than the Ferrari Enzo”and as we all know the result was the Chevrolet Corvette ZR1…(a facepalm moment for Mr. Enzo Ferrari). But, times have changed now and they are constantly trying to mend their ways and with another ATTEMPT to do so…Ford has come up with the New Endeavour.
Ford introduced India to the Big, Bulky,Butch(Useless) SUV’s away back in 2003 when it was first launched. It looked like a car which has been stretched in order to fit those fat blokes from Kentucky or Canada and that meant it was quite BIG!! and that caught the eye of the Indian Buyer who is always in search of a “BAADI GAADI”. It became an instant success and turned the fortunes of Ford but, as time went by and with the introduction of new SUV’s in the market especially the Toyota Fortuner it lost its charm. Now, after so many years of failure and lukewarm response from the market, they are finally back and boy they have done it…
From the outside i must say that the design has improved a lot, it has retained its big and bulky looks but now it doesn’t look out of place. Its a handsome car and standing next to it won’t make you look an idiot. There are major changes done at the front in the form of distinctly structured fog lamps, revised air dam and bumper which now sports a skid plate which helps to give it a more tough and ‘take me anywhere’ appeal.The radiator grille has been heavily reworked and takes a bit of cues from the Ford’s pick-up truck range. The grille also has horizontally positioned slats,embedded with company’s logo. The headlight cluster are equipped with halogen lamps(while everybody else is moving towards BI-Xenon). Then there is the model’s lettering given on its bonnet(copied from Land Rover). The masculine wheel arches are now fitted with chrome plated alloy wheels. From the side the car looks high and masculine, also there is an aluminium side stepper with rubber studs and the window for the third row of passengers has also become a bit small, which might make it claustrophobic for the last row passengers. The rear also looks quite good and goes well with the overall profile of the car. The taillight is mounted on the D pillar and it also features high intensity brake lights which are needed on an SUV of this size. It has a large windscreen which boasts a defogger with a wiper and washer system. Overall, its a handsome car and Ford has done a great job on the designing front.
The interior is the USP of this car. The interior is a giant leap from the earlier one on the Endeavour, it feels premium and the quality of materials being used is top-notch. The switches and all the other things are positioned just right and fall in hand very easily. Its instrument cluster hosts a tachometer,fuel gauge,notification lights and all other driver related aspects but, i must say that the digital display looks really good and it is very informative.It also has a four spoke leather wrapped steering wheel and houses many switches for audio and infotainment controls. The main colour scheme though is, ebony and camel colour which looks different from the same old “Beige”. But, sadly though these are only limited to the mid and top models of the Endeavour. The seating position is very supportive and commanding and makes you feel like the “King of the road”, also the second row of seats have 50:50 split folding seats,whereas the third row is electronically foldable and removable,which is a nice feature from Ford and isn’t seen on any other car of this class.The second and third row of passengers get A/C Vents which are smartly placed in the roof which means they eat up no legroom,Nice thinking their Ford. You see, some features in this car are worth mentioning not because they are their but because they make everday living with a car much easier, although one could manage without them but, if they are their they make a whole lot of difference for example: electronic folding third row of seats and electrically closing boot.
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE
Ford is offering the Endeavour with 2 layouts, 4X2 AT and 4X4 AT which come with two engine options an entry level 2.2 litre TDCI diesel motor and the top end 3.2 litre TDCI diesel motor. The 2.2 litre motor churns out 158bhp@3200 rpm and 385Nm@1600-2500 rpm. Now, the problem arises here i feel that the power figures are not satisfactory, I mean a 2.2 litre turbocharged engine could easily give around 180bhp and at least 400 torques but these figures are quite low, i bet they are not planning to save fuel though. Instead i think this is a trick in order to attract customers towards the more powerful 3.2 litre diesel motor which gives out 198bhp@3000 rpm and a mammoth torque of 470Nm@1750-2500rpm. The 4X4 AT version boasts shift-on-fly that distributes torque output to all four wheels so that now you don’t have to lock any differentials and all. The All wheel drive system is updated and works more like Land Rover’s Terrain Response system which is a good thing.The car gets off the line effortlessly and also has a light steering which makes it easier to manoeuvre in the city at low speeds. Both the engines drive well and the difference is not really noticeable but the 3.2 litre mill does pack a lot of bite, it responds quite well in part throttle situations too, which helps in reaching the 100Km/h mark in 11.3 seconds which isn’t bad at all in respect to its size. The 3.2 litre mill does sound strained when pushed and the noise can be heard although Ford is using Active Noise Cancellation System. The 6 speed gearbox is the only thing which spoils the complete package as its slow to react and cannot keep pace with the driver’s inputs. Mind you, if you are an enthusiastic driver this might be the deal breaker.
RIDE AND HANDLING
The ride quality is good and the suspension takes pretty much anything which is thrown at it. The SUV is really agile all thanks to the new electric power steering which is very direct and sharp and also has some feedback an it isn’t dead or passive at all, like other electric power steering systems in the market. The ride is a bit bouncy at times and bigger potholes do get filtered in but that’s very rare. The Terrain Management System allows the driver to choose from various modes: Normal,Gravel,Grass,Snow,Sand and Rock by deciding and controlling the gearbox response and engine outputs and also by providing better traction depending on the mode selected. It can also wade through a staggering 800mm of water which is quite commendably and is certainly needed at the time of rain. It also has some pretty decent safety features like: ABS with EBD, Curve Control,Roll Stability Control, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning and also seven airbags.
MY VIEW POINT
Ford has worked hard and they have come up with a brilliant package which packs in all the stuff which is needed to become the market leader and i personally do like the Endeavour very much, they have captured the spirit of their pick-up trucks very well which will work in favour of this SUV and is a much much better alternative to the Toyota Fortuner. I hope you are listening Toyota, BEWARE.