Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic test drive

Ford India have only one SUV, the Ford Endeavour, in their Indian portfolio whereas internationally, Ford Motors have a wide range of SUVs as well as the pickup trucks on which they are based. The Ford Endeavour has been the favourite of the SUV buying public, looking for a full size SUV, this side of Rs.20 lakhs. There was the Mitsubishi Pajero later on to give it competition however it was too dated to be any threat. Ford India have always refreshed the Ford Endeavour’s booty to keep its dominion intact. However the real threat for Ford India and for the Ford Endeavour came from Toyota and in the form of the Fortuner SUV. Its dimensions were the same as the Ford Endeavour however due to the Toyota badge, the SUV started selling like hot cakes. In a bid to keep its perch intact, Ford India have given the botox treatment to the Endeavour and now are offering an auto transmission on it as well. Earlier the 4×4 was given the same treatment and now the 4×2 has been given same pill. I couldn’t resist this opportunity to get my hands dirty with the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic. Here comes the rest of the story from my view of the new SUV……..

Looks

The Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic comes with the same face lift as seen on its 4×4 auto brethren. It has a far more sober and rounded design than the first generation Ford Endeavour doing duties in India. Curves are in and boxes are out is the now Ford Mantra. Some elements of the Ford India’s “kinetic design theme” filter onto the new SUV as well. The head lamps are wrap around ones and have got clear lens as well. 5 horizontal chrome ringed slats line the grille. The Blue Oval logo sits in between this grille. A bull bar like bumper is now present and flanking it are the low set, clear lens fog lamps. The air dam is a two piece affair and adds to the overall aggressive face of the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic. The bonnet is one of the longest on an SUV and I sorely missed a scoop on it.

Viewed from the side, the first thing that comes to mind is the huge tyres. They are 16 inch multi spoke alloys and are chunky. However they fail to fill the flared wheel arches. Nevertheless, the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic still looks big. The huge glass area gives a hint at the space inside. The roof rails are chrome misted ones and complement the butch look of the SUV. There are side skirts as well as chrome running boards to help the vertically challenged ones into the cabin. The outside rear view mirrors are huge and in sync with the bigger the better theme. They are housed in chrome casings and have the turn indicators fixed in them. There are many body graphics doing the round and I personally liked the Black color of the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic and its sort of pinkish graphics. Overall, the side profile does display the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic’s wheel base of 2861 mm and the 210 mm of ground clearance is capable for most off road ventures and those dirt safari trails.

The rear hasn’t changed much from the first generation Ford Endeavour however the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic now has clear lens tail lamps which are vertically stacked. The huge rear glass sorely misses out on a a rear wiper however a rear defogger and demister are available and these compensate for the lack of the former. A huge spare wheel is present and it is covered with a poly urethane covering. The huge door covering the rear is flanked by a chunky door handle coated in chrome. The bumper is body colored and two reflectors along with the reverse lights. The stop lamp is mounted high up on the rear glass.

Interiors

Gone are the dark cabin interiors of the Ford Endeavour. The new Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic has got a beige cabin along with lots of fake wood inserts and brushed aluminium. The leather seats are of the same soft material as found in some of the premium cars like Skoda Laura. They have the right amount of bolstering however they could do with a little more thigh support for tall drivers. The steering wheel is a 4 spoke one and unfortunately doesn’t have any audio controls on it. It is also big but not truck like and is adjustable for rake and reach. Three circles inside the hooded binnacle consists of the speedometer, revometer and also the fuel and temperature gauges. They are chrome ringed as well. In keeping with the theme of the car, there is also a navigation system thrown in for good measure. There are many cubby holes inside the cabin and the glove box is also quite big.

Three rows of air conditioning vents with a 4 speed adjustment ensure that all the occupants are comfortable during the journey. The pedals are done in brushed aluminium and are drilled for a better sporty effect. The driver would miss out on his seat adjust though. There is a roof mounted DVD screen and a 6 CD changer system with a touch screen option. Overall, all the passengers would have plenty of room to stretch out, except for the ones in the last seat. It seems more like a make shift arrangement one and suitable only for kids. With the rearmost seats in place, the boot space is quite okay at 363 liters. Flip the rear seats down and you would get a huge 823 liters boot space, enough to load a mountain bike. We would have preferred a bit more of equipment like the automatic climate controls, a chilled glove box and some more but then nary do all the wishes get fulfilled.

Handling and ride quality

The front suspension is made up of Independent Double Wishbone and the rear is Progressive Linear Rate Leaf Spring. The rear springs show the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic’s truck roots. The ride quality is quite good at the front and middle row. I didn’t expect this ride quality from the middle seats due to the leaf spring suspension however surprise of surprise, this is a Ford after all. Only in the rear most seat would you feel the bob of the suspension whenever it goes over a big pot hole. The handling is at par with others in its competition though the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic does feel a bit top heavy. There is nothing disconcerting in this though as it is to be expected with a vehicle this heavy. As with all Ford India cars, this one shrinks around the driver and doesn’t make one realize about the size of the car. Its only in heavy traffic conditions or in parking speeds that you feel the girth of this vehicle. As in any other Ford India car, the steering is direct and is a speed sensitive hydraulic unit. It points the front wheels in exactly the direction that you want to place this SUV in. The lockable differential comes into play in the dirt trail and give some sembalance to the handling. The reverse parking sensors help in easing the load while parking this SUV.

The cabin is also a quite place to be though speeds of 130 kmph and above does bring in some wind noise and also the harshness of the engine.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

The biggest change is one in the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic’s heart. It has the 3.0 liter engine from the 4 wheel drive version. This 3.0L Turbocharged Diesel VGT I-4 with a DOHC and Crdi technology is a stonker of an engine. It belches out 156 Bhp of raw power and a shattering 380 Nm of torque. Due to the Variable Geometric Turbocharger, the engine can easily move around at 20 kmph in 3rd gear and even have decent top end power at the same time. The transmission is a 5 speed auto and shifts quite well however not as perfectly like the ones that the Japs have in their cars. Use of Crdi and also high performance Piezo electric injectors gives the engine high tractability. The torque is evenly spread out across the rev range and while selecting D on the auto transmission, the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic just lunged forward with a zeal and gusto belying its 2014 kg kerb weight. The tranmission does let you know when it is shifting though.

The 0-100 kmph run was warped in a good 17.2 seconds. I made it touch 165 kmph on the Mumbai-Pune highway. The engine doesn’t seem lacking at any speed and has a wide power band. Hauling this beast in a timely manner are 4 wheel disc brakes coupled with ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System) and EBD. For the safety conscious, there are 4 air bags, anti-whiplash head restraints, collapsible steering column, child safety locks, seat belts with pre-tensioner and crumple zones built with the usually high Ford Safety Standards.

The fuel efficiency that I derived from the behemoth was an amazing 10.2 kmpl in the city and 14.4 kmpl on the highway run. This is in compliance with the ARAI given figures for the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic. Add the 71 liters diesel fuel capacity to the equation and you have a high 781 kilometers range to go before needing a refill. Been a diesel means lower running costs as well, perfect fit for the long distance traveller.

Verdict

Ford India in a bid to retain their market share for full size SUVs are enticing the car buyers with more and more options. In short, going the BMW way by filling up niche segments. They have the auto tranmission for both their 4×4 as well as 4×2 versions. This makes it an easy decision for the SUV loving public. It has good space all around, quality interiors, Bluetooth integration with phone and many features, decent performance as well as good fuel efficiency from a 3 liter engine. Now, it has an asking price of Rs. 16,3889 {Ex- showroom, Delhi}. This makes it completely value for money and in the bargain, you get a full seven seater SUV. There is going to be an all frills one version of this SUV and it would be called the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic XLT.

Technical Specifications of the Ford Endeavour 4×2 automatic as driven

No. of Cylinders: 4
Number of Valves: 16
Displacement: 2953 (cc)
Compression Ratio: 11.3:4
Fuel pumping: Common Rail Direct Injection
Performance figures (0-100) km/h: 17.72 (secs)
Valvetrain: DOHC
Transmission Type: 5-speed Automatic
Drivetrain: Rear Wheel Drive
Max. Power: 156 Bhp @ 3200 rpm
Max. Torque: 380 Nm @ 2500 rpm
Overall Length (mm): 5063
Overall Width (mm): 1789
Overall Height (mm): 1825
Ground Clearance (mm): 211
Wheelbase (mm): 2861
Kerb Weight (kgs): 2016
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 71
Trunk Capacity (litres): 823
Seating Capacity: 7
Front Brakes: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brakes: Solid Disc
Antilock Braking System and EBD: Yes
Min. Turning Radius (m): 6.3
Steering Type: Variable Power  assist Ball and Nut, hydraulic unit
Front Suspension: Independent Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension: Progressive Linear Rate Leaf Spring
Shock Absorbers: Tubular Gas-Filled
Wheel Type: Alloys
Wheel Size: 16″
Tyres: 245/70 R16  (Tubeless)
City (kmpl.): 10.2
Highway (kmpl.): 14.4
Overall (kmpl.): 11.8
Fuel Type: Diesel

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