This comparison should have been done long back when the Toyota Fortuner set its foot on the Indian soil however due to some unforeseen oversight, this was never done. I firmly believe that its never too late to compare the cars or in this case hardcore SUVs. Most of the times, when we see a SUV in our rear view mirrors, we involuntarily allow it to go ahead. I believe it has got to do with this notion that if we don’t give it the right of the road, then probably the SUV may end up tailgating us or worse hammer away our small hatchback to pieces. Such is the mentality. While US or Europe may boast of the big bad Hummers (they are no longer in mass production now), we at India have to be content with the likes of the Mercedes GL or Land Rovers. Am I missing something here? Oh yes, the protagonists of this plot, the Toyota Fortuner in India and the Ford Endeavour in India. Both these SUVs are the best in their class and provide the much needed “shadow effect” that SUVs this size are supposed to. I had earlier compared the Fortuner with the Santa Fe and now it was the time for the Fortuner to be stacked against the mighty Endeavour and also the long forgotten but very capable Mitsubishi Pajero in India. The latter has been the favorite of film stars and personalities alike from the time, the Fortuner and the Endeavour were in conceptualization stages.
In this department the more the intimidating, the more the prettier. Out here, the Fortuner feels the more intimidating with its raised on stilts look far more extendable than the car like one of the Endeavour. The air intake scoop on the bonnet of the Fortuner signifies its sportiness whereas the Endeavour gets a plain unit and a brick shaped bonnet. While the Ford Endeavour in India is more about looking like a bread box, the Toyota Fortuner in India is the more rounded design. The bonnet scoop on the Pajero looks a bit ancient like the rest of the car and it is as brick like as the Ford Endeavour. The Mitsubishi Pajero in India however has the dual tone color which the other lack and for some it may seem gawdy but for me, it looked fantastic. Mitsubishi have chosen to take this path since they firmly believe that this would mask the ageing design of this SUV. The wheel size also differs in each SUV here. While the Toyota Fortuner has got 17 inchers, the Ford Endeavour and the Mitsubishi Pajero are available with 16 inch and 15 inch tyres respectively. The Pajero’s dated looks are evident even from the rear side with no LED gimmick or even clear lens thing. The Ford Endeavour’s Christmas tree tail lamps also look a bit old however they are far better than the one in the Pajero. The Toyota Fortuner has a more car like split tail lamp configuration. However it seems that the Toyota designers actually forgot the rear end of this car and had exhausted all their resources on the front end of the car.
Based on the looks front, it would be the Toyota Fortuner which overall comes out in trumps. Next up would be the Mitsubishi Pajero and then the Ford Endeavour.
Not only does the Pajero look dated (with an old world charm), it also feels the same from inside. The meter dials wouldn’t look out of place in a 1970s BMW car with its all analogue instrument cluster. The 4 spoked steering wheel also looks ancient and more truck like. Liberal use of fake wood has been done to spruce up the cabin which otherwise looks Spartan. However the high set seats are comfortable to say the least. However the middle row and third row seat passengers would have a hard time with the lack of leg space. 427 liters of boot space is more than enough for a few trips to the malls. The Ford Endeavour in India has got a huge and spacious cabin. Its cabin doesn’t look ancient like the one in the Pajero. The 4 spokes in the steering wheel are nicely spaced out. The use of black plastic for the upper half of the dashboard and beige for the lower part does impart a luxury feel. There is a touch screen audio system along with a navigation system. Space in the front is more than ample and the middle row of seat is also comfortable. The rearmost seats however are a disappointment but not much as in the league of the Mitsubishi Pajero in India. Boot space is less than that of the Pajero at 363 liters. The Toyota Fortuner in India has got smaller meter dials than the Endeavour however these are legible as well. The steering wheel is a 4 spoke unit and the only one in this comparison to come with steering mounted audio controls. The use of beige lightens up the cabin as it seems a bit claustrophobic due to the high set seats and the less glass area. In typical Toyota fashion, wood trim is used on the door pads and for placing the power goodie controls. But then the Innova which is available for a good Rs 10 lakhs less has got similar interiors. Comfort is the other name which the Fortuner’s middle row is known by. It is the most comfortable of the threesome (don’t get any wrong ideas) here. The rear in the meanwhile can hold people south of 6 feet only. Boot space of 960 liters can be achieved via flipping the rear seats. Automatic climate control is part of the package for both the Fortuner and the Endeavour.
In this section, it is the Ford Endeavour which wins purely due to its equipment levels and the amount of space and comfort that it provides. The Fortuner follows it and needless to say, the Pajero is the last one out.
Ride and Handling
The Toyota Fortuner is based on the IMV platform on which even the Innova is based upon. The suspension of the Toyota is a bit on the harder side and hence it smothers everything in its path. However this is achieved when the SUV is fully loaded. If its just the driver and the vehicle, then under harsh braking, the car tends to pogo a bit. The handling is okay, mainly due to the permanent all wheel drive system coming into picture. However going around corners isn’t its forte as waddling around in slush is. Presence of parking sensors makes it easy to pilot this SUV around in town. The steering wheel however could have done with a lot more feedback. The Ford Endeavour has a top heavy experience going for it while the entire SUV tends to shrink around the driver when attacking a corner. The ride quality with leaf springs ain’t too bad either but then the Toyota feels a little more compliant over bumps. The Pajero is a front wheel driven vehicle but has a wide array of off-roading aids going for it. Low speed ride quality is the Pajero’s forte while higher speed sees the Pajero getting a bit nervous when it comes in contact with bumps. The Pajero is more of a mountain goat and has got limited slip differential locks, hill descent control and a 4×4 mode along with low ratio ensures that the Pajero reaches a certain place where the Fortuner and Endeavour can only dream about. As far as off-roading is concerned, there is no holding a candle to the Pajero but then it’s a tough fight between the Endeavour and the Toyota for the second and third spot. The 4×4 option in both vehicles does work well however the Toyota’s taller ground clearance and a bit more of engine power at lower revs ensure that it comes out on top of the Endeavour. As far as NVH is concerned, the Pajero is the one which is the most vocal of the lot followed by the Fortuner and then the Endeavour.
Overall, this is the territory of the Mitsubishi Pajero followed by the Endeavour and then the Fortuner. If its was off-roading, then the Pajero, Fortuner and the Endeavour would be picked up for their abilities.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Mitsubishi Pajero in India has got the latest engine upgrade. The ever tightening emissions norms mean that the 2.8L 4 cylinder turbocharged intercooled diesel engine now makes 108 Bhp of power and an even lower 260 Nm of torque. It is aligned to a 5 speed manual with long throws. Needless to say, the Pajero feels the sluggish of the lot, now moreso with the reduced power output and torque. The 0-100 kmph run was completed in a leisurely 17.8 seconds with the SUV topping out on a max speed of 156 kmph. Unfortunately rear discs are still missing and hence the Pajero recorded the highest braking distance when the brakes were slammed at a speed of 100 kmph. The SUV may be old school however Mitsubishi have kitted it with modern braking aids like traction control, EBD and ABS. Airbags are also a standard feature. The Toyota Fortuner in India features the most powerful engine in this lot. The 3.0 liter turbocharged intercooled engine makes 170 Bhp of power and 343 Nm of torque. A 5 speed manual gearbox which is similar to the Pajero’s handles transmission duties. This gearbox has a similar nature like that of the Pajero. The Fortuner breaches the 0-100 kmph mark in 12.9 seconds while the top speed is also higher at 176 kmph. The Fortuner being the priciest of the lot still makes do with rear drum brakes. Like the Pajero, the Fortuner is also blessed with various braking aids and safety supports. The 3.0 liter DOHC turbocharged diesel unit of the Ford Endeavour in India boasts of 156 Bhp of power and 380 Nm of gut wrenching torque. A 5 speed manual transmission handles the chores of gear shifting. It is a sweet shifting unit unlike the others. The 0-100 kmph mark however was dispatched in 15.2 seconds, much higher than the Fortuner’s mark. Top speed is also less than the Fortuner at 166 kmph. Brakes in this leviathan are fantastic and being all discs have better halting powers. The usual safety dragnets are present.
As far as fuel efficiency is concerned, the Pajero with its BS4 motor returns an overall 12.3 kmpl. The Fortuner returns 11.8 kmpl overall and the Endeavour turns in 12.4 kmpl. The Endeavour is a wee bit fuel efficient than the others here.
It is the Fortuner’s engine which shows an eagerness to rev more than the others and keep the driver delighted. Moreover, its fuel efficiency isn’t affected by a great extent due to this revving nature. However as far as the features list is concerned, it is the Endeavour which comes out on tops.
One thing is for sure in this comparison. Mitsubishi need to up their act or else, they would be in great trouble. Conforming to BS4 norms mean that they have lost out on their power rights bragging (which anyways was lower than the rest of the cars in this brigade). But it stands true to its roots and that is off-roading. If you need a SUV for everyday roaming as also for off-roading, then look no further than the Pajero. However if you are inclined to use it more for on-road use than for off-road, then it’s the Ford Endeavour for you. Its got tonnes of equipment and has a manual and automatic gearbox option (the only one in this comparison). Road presence is tremendous in this SUV as well. It has got luxurious interiors as well. The downsides are basically none and this enhances its appeal. It can be even brought in 2 wheel drive mode. The Toyota Fortuner in India is one hell of a SUV. It not only has tonnes of road presence but also oodles of space inside. However its Innova like interiors would make one to detract from the luxury feel. If you are willing to forgive its interiors, then this is the SUV for you. The Ford Endeavour trumps the Toyota Fortuner by a whisker here. The Toyota Fortuner price in India starts from Rs 19.88 lakhs and goes all the way to Rs 22.1 lakhs. The Mitsubishi Pajero price in India is Rs 20.1 lakhs whereas the Ford Endeavour price in India is the least costliest of all with its price starting from Rs 16,3889 and closing at Rs 19 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Delhi. The Endeavour it is then, all the way to go. Lest I forget, the Toyota Fortuner’s long waiting period would have you flummoxed as well.