• slider image
  • Light steering makes the bulky Endeavour less cumbersome ...
    Light steering makes the bulky Endeavour less cumbersome in the city.
  • slider image
  • Interiors are luxurious, dash  looks simple yet elegant. ...
    Interiors are luxurious, dash looks simple yet elegant. Steering wheel feels great to hold.
1 / 0
Rating 8 8

New Ford Endeavour review, road test

8th Feb 2016 12:50 pm

Read the New Ford Endeavour review, road test from Autocar India; Ford's true-blue SUV is reborn and it's the best Endeavour yet.


  • Make : Ford
  • Model : Endeavour

‘Built Ford Tough’ was the slogan Ford used for its pick-ups and SUVs from way back in the late ’70s, and what it implied was that they were able to stand the test of time. Perhaps 12 years is the sort of time the company had in mind, at least for India, because that’s how long the first-generation Endeavour was on sale for. Multiple facelifts, variants and new engine and gearbox options did little to keep the big Ford competitive amongst newer, better competition over the years. The gestation period for the all-new car has been unusually long, only getting the green light in 2015 and going on sale in January this year, but is it too little, too late? That’s what we aim to find out with this road test. Late it may be, but this car claims to be ready for not just this generation of SUVs, but the next as well. With a new chassis, new powertrains and a whole lot of tech, it’s meant to be better both on the road and off it, while being easier to live with too. Time to get under its skin.

Fuel efficiency is not something that’ll make or break a product in this segment. Understandably, these vehicles are heavy and relatively thirsty. The claimed figure of the Endeavour is 12.62kpl for the 2.2 4x2 A/T and 10.91kpl for the 3.2 4x4 A/T we have tested. In our test cycle, the 2.2 returned a decent 8.1kpl in the city and 11.8kpl on the highway, while the heavier 3.2 managed a noticeably lower 7kpl in the city and 10.3kpl on the highway. These aren’t the best figures in the class and, apart from the weight, one of the big reasons for such low figures in the city is the gearbox holding gears a bit too long under normal operation. Still, with a fuel tank capacity of 80 litres, the Endeavour 2.2 has a realistic range of  796km, while the 3.2 should cover 692km.

Ford Endeavour
Ford Endeavour

Rs 34.72 lakh * on road price (New Delhi)


The Endeavour is as massive as Africa and is also very menacing to look at. Details like the huge wheel arches, meaty scuff plates and the long, sculpted bonnet (which will be at chest height for most) give it strong road presence. The large, twin-slat chrome grille is one of the standout features in the front and it completely dwarfs the projector headlamps. Despite its gargantuan proportions, however, the Endeavour slips through air with an impressive claimed drag co-efficient of 0.38. This aerodynamic efficiency is down to an aero-efficient frontal area and the sharply raked A-pillar which also allows it to look a little less bulky. Then there are the large wing mirrors that go nicely with the bulky SUV shape and also offer good rear visibility. On the flanks, there’s a badge to denote which engine and gearbox the car uses, and despite the absence of the now somewhat clichéd body cladding, its size alone allows it to look more than macho enough. The 18-inch wheels look proportionate to the car, but even 19-inchers wouldn’t have looked out of place in those massive wheel wells. The styling at the rear isn’t as dramatic as the front; the large chrome shroud with ‘Endeavour’ embossed on it catches the eye, but the wraparound tail-lamps look small and simple. Overall, the Endeavour is a welcome departure from the plain and boxy look of its aged predecessor, and manages to appear modern and sophisticated without sacrificing that macho bulk you expect from such a vehicle.

The chassis sits on an independent coil-over-strut suspension in the front and Ford engineers claim to have tuned it differently for the 2WD and 4x4, the difference in kerb weight, centre of gravity and torque distribution all taken into account. At the rear, the use of coil springs and having the rear shock absorbers mounted outboard of the frame rails are big changes. These aid better stability and comfort on broken roads. The Endeavour also features a Watt’s Linkage instead of the commonly used Panhard rod. The Watt’s Linkage is designed to minimise lateral movement of the rear axle, which in turn gives the car better dynamics and stability. It’s evident that a lot of engineering muscle has gone into making it better on and off the road than its predecessor.

Step inside and you’ll be happy to note that the vast exterior dimensions have liberated good interior room, and with it has also come a much plusher feel. The dashboard top is covered in double-stitched leather and feels nice to touch, although lower down in the cabin, you’ll find some bits that seem low-rent for the price. The Titanium variants get a nice 8-inch touchscreen with Ford’s latest infotainment system, called Sync 2. In addition to providing Bluetooth connectivity and streaming music, it also uniquely allows for voice commands, and a valet mode that can shut off the display when you are handing over the car to someone else, protecting any personal data you might have stored in the system.

The touchscreen system is flanked by two large air-con vents and on top of the glovebox is a nice, chunky, satin-finished plastic strip. The steering wheel feels great to hold and is well designed, but has a few too many buttons on it. There are two hi-res information screens in the instrument panel that sit on either side of a central speedometer. The one on the right is the car-and-driver interface, while the one on the left is a display for the audio functions. The centre console looks nice and simple, with not too many buttons except the AC and audio controls. Below this there are multiple power sockets followed by a nice cavity to store odds and ends. Just ahead of the gearknob, there are buttons to control the park assist, traction control system and a dial for the off-road controls. This rotary dial operates Ford’s Terrain Management system. There’s space behind the gearlever with two rubberised cup holders and all the doors get bottle holders too.

Sink into the large, powered driving seat and finding a good driving position is quite easy. You immediately realise the new car is much wider on the inside than the earlier one and there’s an abundance of legroom in the second row too – the seats, though a touch too low, are quite comfortable with good cushioning. Headroom is not too great on variants equipped with the panoramic sunroof though. The third row, however, isn’t quite spacious enough for adults – you are sat low, it’s cramped for kneeroom and headroom, and access is quite a chore. The ability to slide the second row forward does at least afford some relief, making it possible to use the last row occasionally over short distances. Impressively, the third row is powered, and can be folded away at the touch of a button, but even with them in place, luggage room is not too bad. Fold them away though, and space is properly impressive. Unlike the previous Endeavour, the boot opens via a hatch, not a door, and it’s powered. This also means the spare wheel has had to be moved to beneath the car.

You’re well catered to on the safety front too, with all Endeavours getting ABS, EBD, ESP, Traction Control, two airbags and Ford’s clever Emergency Assist system as standard. Higher variants get more airbags, the 2.2 Titanium with a total of six and the 3.2 Titanium a total of seven. Also, Ford has used ample noise deadening material and there’s the noise reduction technology. This system plays back low frequency sounds from the speakers to cancel out the noise from outside.

Ford is offering two all-new diesel engines in the Indian market – a 2.2-litre four-cylinder and 3.2-litre five-cylinder. The 2.2 is quite refined and very responsive at low speeds. There’s minimal turbo lag and it feels well suited to the cut and thrust of city driving. In traffic, it feels quite tractable and responses are quite good too. In fact, in our performance test, the smaller motor impressed us with a sprint to 100kph in a scant 12.68sec. That’s really impressive for a vehicle that tips the scales at 2.2 tonnes. Even in-gear timings are impressive with 20-80kph taking just 7.76sec and 40-100kph achieved in 9.57 seconds. However, performance tails off past 140kph, after which it struggles to accelerate any further.

In comparison, the Endeavour with the larger 3.2-litre motor manages to do the 0-100kph run in 11.2sec. The 3.2 feels a lot more effortless on the open roads and achieves its 178kph top speed much quicker than the 2.2. However, the gap opens up only after 120kph; until then, the 3.2’s performance advantage is not actually that significant. There’s also a slight delay before the five-cylinder motor comes to life and there is not much to explore beyond 3,600rpm. This motor is not very quick revving, but it builds up torque in an impressive manner. The resultant in-gear timings are faster, with 20-80kph taking 6.3sec and 40-100kph taking just 8.58sec. All in all, the Endeavour is a good highway cruiser, and at speeds of 100kph, either of the engines will be spinning at a lazy 1,800rpm. It is equally good in the city too, especially the 2.2-litre variant. Overall, while the more powerful 3.2’s brute torque allows it to get a move on with little effort, the 2.2 also offers surprisingly impressive performance.

Both cars use the same 6R80 six-speed automatic gearbox, and interestingly, the gear ratios remain common, resulting in the same maximum speeds in each gear. Even their top speed is identical. This gearbox is quite smooth at slow speeds and at part throttle. In D mode, at part throttle, it shifts up at 2,500rpm, but will instead shift at 3,500rpm when you punch down hard. Shifting the lever into S mode just liberates a few more revs, with the shifts happening at a shade under 4,000rpm. In manual mode, operated only via the gearlever (there are no paddles), the gearbox will hold on to gears, sometimes until as high as 4,800rpm. However, back in automatic mode, we feel it holds each gear for a bit too long at medium throttle inputs during everyday driving. When you demand a quick kick-down downshift, it’s a little too slow to respond, at times eliciting a jerk at slow speeds. Even upshifts aren’t as quick as some of its competitors that use similar gearbox technology.

Off-roading was an area where the old Endeavour wasn’t quite as good as its rivals, but Ford has made sure to address this with a very high-tech solution. The knob on the centre console allows the driver to toggle between various modes – Normal, Snow and Mud, Sand, and Rock. The Snow and Mud and Sand settings adjust the traction settings and either blunt or increase throttle responses. However, the Rock mode works in conjunction with the low-range transfer case to provide maximum traction and precise low-speed control. There’s Hill Descent Control and also Hill Start Assist to help scale up or down steep inclines, and it can also wade through up to 800mm of water.

The Endeavour gobbles up bad roads, and you only hear a muted thud driving through sharper undulations. At low speeds, it does get a bit jiggly on bad roads, and passengers sitting in the second and third rows feel it the most, but this is quite typical of SUVs built on a ladder-frame chassis. As the speeds increase, the Endeavour settles down nicely and it doesn’t get ruffled by high-speed bumps. Straightline stability is quite good too and even at very high speeds, the car feels composed.

Full marks to Ford for handling – this feels surprisingly agile for a vehicle with large overhangs weighing over two tonnes. The previous Endeavour was pretty good to drive for what it was, but the new SUV moves the goalposts further. The chassis balance is quite good and unless you do anything extremely silly, you won’t find the ESP intruding either. Big credit goes to the steering – there’s some slack, but it weighs up nicely at speeds and gives confidence to the driver. There’s some body roll, but it doesn’t feel as top-heavy as its size suggests; in fact, overall, it feels very light-footed for a vehicle this size. Ford has found a great balance between ride and handling for the new Endeavour.

The Endeavour uses a pretty modern touchscreen unit with a high-resolution display. It’s not the most responsive of systems around, but it does offer a good deal of functionality. It’ll play music from CD, USB, aux-in, SD card and your phone through Bluetooth. What’s nice about the system is that it understands voice commands with reasonable success and this makes using audio functions a hands-free affair for the driver. The screen also doubles as the display for the rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors. Sadly, satellite navigation is a paid extra.

A long time coming but well worth the wait. The Endeavour is a huge step in the right direction for Ford in terms of engineering and technology. It feels like a premium car on the inside as much as it’s a true-blue tough SUV from the outside. Ford has also ensured that it ticks all the right boxes when it comes to off-roading capability. Performance could have been better, it’s extremely heavy, the gearbox has its flaws and it’s quite thirsty too. However, with a starting price of Rs 23.64 lakh, it undercuts the segment-leading Toyota Fortuner whilst the more powerful and far better equipped 3.2-litre variant costs only a lakh more. All things considered, then, the Endeavour’s shortcomings can be overlooked for the strong package of style, technology, equipment and premium feel that it offers. One of the first SUVs in this segment has now leapfrogged the others, and how. 

Copyright (c) Autocar India. All rights reserved.

Tell us what you think.