So the tough-as-nails MU-X is priced really well. But can this budget behemoth also go toe to toe with the best?
Published on Jun 06, 2017 07:00:00 AM
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Leather dash top and variety of colours and textures, not to mention the touchscreen, make the Ford feel more modern.
The Ford Endeavour is our favourite of the big, tough, seven-seat premium vehicles that can also transport your family in comfort while simultaneously fording a medium-size perennial river. Last year, it emerged bloodied and battered, but victorious, when it locked horns with the mighty new Toyota Fortuner, and that's part of the reason it also drove off with our annual 'SUV of the Year' award in January. It's because it does a bit of everything and not just the tough stuff, but comfort, luxury and technology too. The thing is, all of this comes at a price, and, compared spec-for-spec with the MU-X 4x4 automatic we've just tested on the pages prior, the Endeavour in the top Titanium trim is a hefty Rs 31.50 lakh! For a whole Rs 5.5 lakh less, you could have the Isuzu, which claims to do all of those things as well. So which SUV deserves your money more, the expensive favourite, or the value upstart?
What meets the eye
Which one do you think looks more the part? The two have virtually the same dimensions, apart from a bit more length on the Endeavour, but in passing, the Isuzu looks far more compact. Perhaps it's because of that pointy nose, but whatever the case, it definitely looks the more aggressive of the two. Its dark-coloured 17-inch alloy wheels may be a size smaller than the Ford's but they do look very attractive hanging below the huge wheel arches. The Endeavour, is more subtle, if you can call something so huge 'subtle'. It doesn't have as many obvious lines and details and instead uses its sheer size and upright proportions to make its presence felt. It also piles on the chrome, with loads of it in the grille, on the tailgate, and of course, the 18-inch wheels, which are made of the shiny stuff.
Inside, the Isuzu's dash design is actually quite attractive, but it's let down by hard plastics that just don't feel rich enough, as well as an all-black colour scheme that doesn't look exciting either. The Endeavour, in comparison, feels altogether richer. It has a horizontally segmented dash, the top of which is wrapped in brown faux leather with a gunmetal grey plastic insert in the middle and beige around the bottom. It may not have the cool, round climate control dial of the Isuzu, but it does get dual-zone climate control.
And on the topic of equipment, though the MU-X seems to have all the bases covered in its single trim, the Endeavour in Titanium spec is just a cut above. Both have touchscreens, but while the Isuzu's is a simple, monochrome item, the Endeavour has Ford's latest Sync 3 system with a high-res colour screen, voice commands, smartphone integration and so much more. And while the MU-X has the unique advantage of keyless entry and go, as well as a 10-inch roof-mounted entertainment screen for rear passengers, the Ford's list just trumps it. Semi-auto parking assist, navigation, an electric tailgate, electric-folding third row seats, a panoramic sunroof, five more airbags and then some.
Where the MU-X takes a crucial victory is with its seats; no matter where you're sat, you'll be more comfortable and have more space than in the Endeavour. The front chairs don't look like much, but their cushioning is very comfortable, space in the middle row is immense and the third row is placed high enough that you get enough head and knee room and a decent seating position too. The Ford's front seats are fine, if a bit flat, cushioning all round is a touch firmer, the middle row doesn't have quite as much knee room or thigh support, and the third row is really cramped and uncomfortable. Plus, access to the third row is tricky as the middle row doesn't flip forward, whereas in the Isuzu, it tumbles with just one lever pull.
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