To meet the BS6 norms, Ford gives the Endeavour a brand-new engine and gearbox – in fact, one of the world’s first 10-speed gearboxes. The question is, does the updated Endeavour still maintain the driving appeal of its predecessor?
The onset of new emissions regulations can often be a challenge for most automotive companies, especially when it’s such a big leap – as India has just done from BS4 to BS6, entirely skipping BS5 in between. But, on the other hand, it also allows manufacturers to breathe new life into their machines and give them another shot in the market.
Keeping the new regulations in mind, Ford India has taken the opportunity to upgrade the powertrain of the Endeavour completely. Not that there was anything wrong with the old engines and gearbox mind you – in fact, I loved the 3.2-litre engine – but the new emission norms mean that the Endeavour is now offered with a single engine option. Previously, you could choose between 2.2 and 3.2. The engine being offered now is a brand-new 2.0-litre turbodiesel unit, which produces 168bhp and 420Nm of torque, figures we’ll come back to later. Also, gone are the manual and automatic gearboxes, and now the Endeavour offers only a brand-new 10-speed automatic gearbox – one of the first units in the world with 10 forward gears!
Same old, same old
Visually, however, the Endeavour remains pretty much the same, which is understandable, considering that the facelifted version of the SUV only hit the Indian market about a year ago. The eagle-eyed among you, however, will notice that the Endeavour now features updated headlamps, which are now Bi-LED powered, which enhances visibility. In the cabin too, there are no real changes, however, the equipment count is slightly upgraded. The Endeavour is now equipped with the FordPass connectivity system. Via the FordPass, the user can perform many functions – such as starting the car, locking and unlocking it, and even getting an update on the fuel level – remotely via the FordPass app. Naturally, this adds to the convenience factor of the Endeavour.
The proof of the new drivetrain, however, is in the driving, and I have to admit that despite the big changes, the Endeavour still offers fantastic driving appeal. Sure, it’s not a hot hatch, but given its XXL size and weight, the Endeavour is a breeze to drive in all kinds of conditions. With its high-up seating and large glasshouse, the excellent visibility makes manoeuvring the car in traffic can easy job. Similarly, it’s well-tuned suspension and excellent ride makes cruising at high speeds a very easy task. And, special mention must be made for the steering feel of the Endeavour. With its natural feedback and weight, it is amongst the best steering setups in a vehicle of this size in India.
And we got to test the abilities of the Endeavour properly too, as Ford India had organized a dedicated dune bashing session in the sand dunes outside Jaisalmer, where the virgin sand – which is deceptively soft – allowed us to explore the outer limits of the Endeavour’s performance. With its super capable four-wheel-drive system in four-low mode, we also got to exploit a new feature in the Endeavour’s gearbox – the Selectshift system, where you can lock the number of gears that the gearbox can use. We locked it in 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears, which meant that response off-road was instant, and we never once got us stuck in the sand. And, lastly, special mention must go to Ford’s chassis engineers, who have set up the Endeavour so well that taking a near 2.5-ton SUV in ultra-soft sand never posed a problem at all.
Fly in the ointment
However, not everything is perfect with the Endeavour. For one, while it’s great to have 10 gears, the Endeavour’s gearbox also tends to hunt between gears quite a bit to ensure maximum efficiency. Which means that, in normal driving, gear kick down can be a bit lethargic, which is quite annoying – especially when you’re trying to overtake. Plus, what doesn’t help here is the reduced output of the new 2.0-litre engine. The older 3.2 unit produced 197bhp and 470Nm, and that difference of almost 30bhp and 50Nm can be felt when pushing the Endeavour hard, as the engine takes a bit of time to really pick up the pace. But, then again, this is simply the price to be paid to meet the new emissions standards – which requires engines to be downsized.
However, all said and done, with its combination of on- and off-road ability, a refined powertrain, excellent driving appeal and now even a slightly reduced price tag, the Endeavour remains our SUV of choice in its segment. And if you’re looking for a full-sized SUV that is fun to drive, I don’t think you can do better than the Endeavour in its price bracket.
- 2020 Ford Endeavour 2.0-litre
Engine: 1,996cc / Four-Cylinders / Turbocharged / Common Rail Direct Injection
Transmission: 10-Speed Automatic / Selectable Four-Wheel-Drive
Power: 168bhp @ 3,500rpm
Torque: 420Nm @ 2,000 - 2,500rpm
Price: ₹29.55 lakh - ₹33.25 lakh (Ex-showroom)
X-Factor: With a new engine and gearbox, but the same old driving appeal and practicality, the Endeavour remains our favourite SUV in its segment.