2019 Ford Endeavour First Drive Review
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Ford’s big SUV gets some small updates for 2019. Did it need more?
The Ford Endeavour is one of the most popular full-sized SUVs in India. On sale in the country since 2003, the Endeavour has gone from a pure utility vehicle to one of the most tech-loaded SUVs in its price bracket, where it competes with the Toyota Fortuner, Mahindra Alturas, Isuzu MU-X, Skoda Kodiaq & Honda CR-V. The new generation Ford Endeavour was introduced in 2016 and three years later, it has received a few minor updates for the 2019 model year to improve upon what was already a very well rounded package.
Big, muscular and old school. These words perfectly describe the 2019 Ford Endeavour. With the update, the dimensions have changed ever so slightly. The new bumper has added about 11mm to its length, while standard side step plates add about 9mm to its width. What hasn’t changed, though, is the pure American car appeal of the Endeavour which contrasts the edgy design of its arch rival, the Toyota Fortuner.
No sharp lines, no super-sleek headlights or any whacky styling highlight, just bulbous body panels that flex the Endeavour’s muscle. Aside from the new, cleaner looking front bumper, it also gets a slightly revised grille.
To the side, the 2019 Endeavour has the same plus-sized appeal as ever and while it still rides on 18-inch wheels, the design is new. At the rear, the car receives no updates with this facelift but now that the variant range includes the Titanium & Titanium+ (instead of the Trend and Titanium), LED tail lights come as standard.
The rest of the package remains identical with features like HID projector headlights, front and rear fog lamps, chrome door handles and bulky skid plates. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get the headlamp washers which were deleted during a series of silent updates given to the outgoing Endeavour. One update, though, is something you will notice as you get inside the Endeavour.
No need to reach for your key anymore! The pre-facelift Endeavour got the same flip-key as the Figo which was quite surprising, especially since the EcoSport had passive keyless entry at the same time. Now, the Endeavour finally gets it too and all you have to do is climb into the car and hit the push button starter to get going.
The 2019 Endeavour sees no major in-cabin updates compared to the model it replaces. Notable changes include the black dashboard top, instead of the earlier mocha brown shade and a restyled gear selector that feels nicer to grip and gets some sleek chrome accents. Additionally, while the driver gets an 8-way power adjustable seat as standard, in the Titanium+, the front passenger gets one too. That said, there are some improvement opportunities missed here.
The steering, for example, is only adjustable for tilt, not reach. Although, finding a good driving position is easy, thanks to the excellent ergonomics, this would've been a nice plus one. Also, the second-row seats still only fold forward and don’t tumble forward, making third row access tricky, even for short adults. In this respect, the Toyota Fortuner does better. Not only does it offer a one-touch tumble forward seat for ease of access, but the last row itself is more spacious in the Fortuner.
Otherwise, the Endeavour’s appeal lies in its premium quality interior and commanding driving position that’ll make anyone feel like a boss on the road. It also comes with a rich features list that includes a panoramic sunroof, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay support, a 10-speaker music system, dual-zone climate control with rear AC vents and leatherette upholstery.
The 2019 Endeavour also adds the convenience of the hands-free function to its powered tailgate, using which, you can open or close the tailgate. This is in addition to previously available features like power folding last-row seats, sliding and reclining second-row seats and one-touch up/down power windows with anti-pinch for the front two rows.
That said, practical as the Endeavour is, it’s not as spacious as the big exterior would suggest. In the second row, there’s enough room for a six-footer to sit behind another, but it’s not exceptional. The middle-row seats do sit a bit closer to the floor than we’d have liked and tall passengers (over 6ft in height) will find under-thigh support and headroom to be average, but acceptable. Also, even with the side step plates, this is very much an old school SUV to try and get into, so older members of the family and/or those with joint pains will find getting in and out to be a task.
When it comes to practicality, though, the Ford Endeavour stays true to its utilitarian roots. With all the seat rows up, you get 450 litres of boot space. Fold the 50:50 split last row down and that expands to 1050 litres. Drop the second row down as well and you get a massive 2010 litres of boot space.
While the Thai-spec 2019 Endeavour did get a new 2.0-litre diesel engine, along with a 10-speed automatic transmission, the India-spec model carries forward the same engine options as before. The entry-level motor is a 2.2-litre, 4-cylinder diesel engine that produces 160PS @ 3200rpm and 385Nm @ 1600-2500rpm. This engine can be had either with a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic transmissions, only with rear-wheel drive. The top-spec Endeavour gets a 3.2-litre, 5-cylinder diesel engine good for 200PS @ 3000rpm and 470Nm @ 1750-2500rpm. This engine is only offered with a 6-speed automatic transmission and 4x4. Both engines can be updated for the BSVI norms and we suspect Ford didn’t get the smaller engine here, simply because buyers want the bragging rights of a big engine. After all, the Endeavour’s front fenders wear large chrome badges with the engine size engraved on them like a badge of honour.
The 3.2-litre engine remains our pick of the lot. It’s loaded with low-rev torque and even while given the task of moving a big and heavy SUV like the Ford Endeavour, it doesn’t feel sluggish. The transmission isn’t lighting quick like the Skoda Kodiaq’s 7-speed DSG, but is responsive enough for daily use. With this motor in particular, the Endeavour feels like a thorough all-rounder. It’s easy to use in the city even for novice drivers, it has adequate muscle to drive with a full passenger load, the throttle is responsive enough for overtakes at low or high speeds and it’s an absolute joy to use at high speeds on the highway. Even if you plan a 1000km+ interstate road trip in a day, this powertrain will get the job done without a fuss.
However, the Ford Endeavour is a heavy SUV. The top-spec model weighs about 2.4 tons. Combine that with the big body and engine and it’s not a recipe that’s tailored for the ‘kitna deti hai’ buyer. While the claimed mileage of the Endeavour 3.2 4x4 stands at 10.91kmpl, expect a real-world efficiency of around 9-10kmpl in the city and 14-15kmpl on the highway.
With the smaller engine, the Endeavour’s performance is adequate. With 160PS and 385Nm, it certainly doesn’t lack performance and at low-medium speeds, it feels quite lively. It’s punchy enough for quick overtakes and even load lugging. It’s also very adept as a highway cruiser since it’ll drive at 100-120kmph without breaking a sweat. But on the highway, its performance is similar to the Kodiaq’s - adequate, but nothing more. There’s no exciting surge of performance when you accelerate at high speeds and highway overtakes will need some planning, especially if you’re driving the Endeavour with a full passenger load.
If you have extensive highway usage and want the more fun to drive pick, the Endeavour 3.2 is the one to get. But if your usage is primarily in the city with occasional highway trips & you don’t see the need for 4x4, the Ford Endeavour’s smaller engine makes for a more sensible pick. Not only is it cheaper to buy, it’s also more fuel efficient (Endeavour 2.2 fuel efficiency (MT/AT) = 14.2kmpl/12.62kmpl) and slightly more affordable to maintain. Ford claims a maintenance expense of Rs 68,011 over 1 lakh kilometres and Rs 71,564 for the 3.2.
Ride & Handling
Like before, the steering on the Endeavour is truly praiseworthy. It’s lighter than in some hatchbacks at city speeds and weighs up just right as speeds increase. However, this is a tall SUV and behaves like one. So while you can have some fun through corners, there is evident body roll. The steering does inspire confidence to push the Endeavour through sharp turns but at the end of the day this is a body-on-frame SUV meant to deal with bad roads and punishing terrain, so don’t push it like you would a sedan.
Fortunately, the new Endeavour is ready for the worst of roads and laughs its way through potholes and poorly paved sections. It also rides quite comfortably over smooth roads, but like most seven-seat, full-sized SUVs, it’s designed to take heavy passenger loads. Drive with only two to three people on board and you may find it a bit bouncy and there’s noticeable vertical movement.
When you want to go off-road, there’s a healthy 225mm of ground clearance (unladen) and Ford’s Terrain Response modes for the 4x4 version - Normal, Snow/Grass/Mud, Sand & Rock mode, the last of which engages the 4x4 low range.
The safety package in the new Endeavour is very extensive. Standard features include six airbags, ABS with EBD, traction control, ESP, hill-start assist, auto headlamps and wipers, along with front and rear fog lamps. It also gets TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring system), a rear camera, rear parking sensors and a volumetric burglar alarm system that can detect movement inside the car. The Titanium+ adds features like an airbag for the driver’s knee, front parking sensors, hill descent control and an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror.
The changes to the 2019 Ford Endeavour aren’t extensive even by the standards of a facelift. It gets a few more conveniences and the standard equipment is now longer than before. Some aspects like the tricky third-row access and slightly bouncy ride with low payloads remain, but otherwise, the Ford Endeavour is still one of best full-sized SUVs you can buy in India. At Rs 28.19 lakh - Rs 32.97 lakh (ex-showroom India) it delivers excellent value for its combination of road presence, gizmos, safety, off-road capability and driveability. Simply put, it’s an SUV we’d gladly recommend buying.