2020 Ford Endeavour: First drive review

The Ford Endeavour is the only potent challenger to the dominating Toyota Fortuner in the Rs 30 lakh segment in the market and it has remained so for a long time now. Ford updated the flagship SUV in the Indian market earlier this year with a new chrome-dipped grille, new alloy wheels and a new instrument cluster. Well, the update is not limited to the cosmetic updates only and that is why we travelled to Jaisalmer to get you the first-hand experience of the new Ford Endeavour. We tested the SUV on the open roads and to check the off-road capabilities, we tamed the massive sand dunes! Here is what we think about the new Endeavour.

Does it look different?

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If you have an eye for details, you will find a few changes here and there but Ford has kept the masculine design of the Endeavour untouched. Only a few styling updates on the outside including the new headlamp units in the front that get all-LED lamps replacing the old HID units.

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The fog lamps remain halogen illuminated with the update. The other changes include new badging on the sides that used to display the engine capacity of the old Endeavour. The 2.2 or the 3.2 figure has been replaced with the ‘Endeavour’.

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The Ford Endeavour remains massive, dominating, simple and clean and that is how the SUVs are supposed to be. Apart from the new chrome-dipped grille, a mildly revised bumper and new alloy wheels, nothing much is there to say about the Endeavour in the terms of looks.

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It can still get the vehicles out of the way and now with the LED headlamps, it will be easier to do so at the night time!

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The biggest change

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Looks are not everything and the Ford Endeavour lives by that statement. The new Ford Endeavour gets a new four-cylinder, 2.0-litre diesel engine and that is the only option that you get with the SUV now. There are no 2.2 or 3.2 engine options. The new BS6 compliant diesel engine is from Ford’s EcoBlue family and is somewhat equivalent to the EcoBoost petrol engine family of the brand. It gets a twin-scroll turbocharger. To keep the emission in check, it gets selective catalyst reduction with a separate AdBlue tank.

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If you feel that it is a low capacity engine, worry not. This engine produces a maximum power of 170 PS and peak torque of 420 Nm. Also, it produces 20% more low-end torque when compared to the 2.2-litre engine. Also, it is 14% more fuel-efficient than the 2.2-litre engine. According to the ARAI certification, the 4X2 variant returns a maximum of 13.9 km/l while the 4X4 trim returns a maximum of 12.4 km/l. During our drive on the sand dunes and open highways of Jaisalmer, the display showed little more than 11 km/l, which we think is extremely good for a vehicle of this size.

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The engine is pretty impressive but what is more impressive is the 10-speed automatic transmission that the new Ford Endeavour offers. It is the first 10-speed automatic transmission in India and it is very intelligent. The transmission senses the need for power and can jump gears. It is a single-clutch transmission and still effortlessly shifts and jumps between the gears. With the engine and transmission update, the Ford Endeavour has become less vocal. It still makes a fair amount of sound even with the noise cancellation technology. It is not an electric vehicle and we do like the grunty sound till the automobiles are taken over by the electric technology.

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How is it to drive?

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The new Ford Endeavour drives extremely good! Period. If you want to know more about it, read on. Let’s forget about the engine and let’s go deeper into the transmission. It is a massive upgrade from the 6-speed automatic transmission available with the older model. The 10-speed transmission can skip gears and it is not a few gears, the transmission can skip as many as five gears if needed in a blink. The upshifts are extremely smooth and you will not even realise the change. This feature is called SelectShift and works flawlessly. The transmission masks any void of the engine and hides any sign of lag that the engine might have.

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The engine remains relaxed through a wide range of speed and you will rarely see it crossing the 2,800 rpm mark unless you’re driving really spiritedly! We noticed that the tachometer hovers at around 1,500 rpm while cruising at 100 km/h in tenth gear. The transmission also gets the Sport mode that holds on the gears but in the long run, you will find yourself in the normal mode more than the sports mode. You can even change the gears through the buttons placed on the top of the transmission lever but there are no paddle shifters. Did we miss it? Not really. We were happy with the transmission and the way it behaved.

Still as capable?

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Well, there are various modes on the 4X4 version that we drove in Jaisalmer. You get the Sand, Snow, Mud and Rock modes. Also, there is a rear differential lock and low-ratio transfer case that can make it go through almost anything. Ford decided to choose the most treacherous terrain of all to give us a preview of the prowess of the Endeavour in the Sand Dunes.

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The SelectShift technology allows to restrict the number of gears and by clicking the Plus(+) and Minus(-) signs on the lever, you can even choose 1st gear on the display that will ensure that the car does not cross the first gear. This helps by maintaining the momentum and offering maximum torque. The Endeavour felt like the “Ship of Desert” and went through the dunes without any problem. We went on the virgin Sand Dunes in the restricted region of the area and the Endeavour did not shy away from doing any of the nasty stuff. Of course, we were with the experts to guide us through the terrain but Endeavour made us look like Sand Dune bashing experts!

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Anything more?

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The top-spec Endeavour that we drove offers a panoramic sunroof, a digital-analogue speedometer, and newly introduced Ford Pass that makes it a connected SUV. The front seats can be electrically adjustable and it is simply a loaded SUV and compared to the Fortuner, it costs much lesser giving it an advantage.

A Fortuner beater?

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Priced at Rs 29.55 lakhs, the Ford Endeavour goes up to Rs 33.25 lakhs! The base Fortuner is Rs 2.5 lakhs more expensive and the top-end version of the Toyota’s SUV is Rs 70,00 more expensive!  It now offers 170 PS and 420 Nm of torque, which is neither too high or too low. It is very usable on the Indian roads and conditions. Ford is known for its extremely affordable service and maintenance and we do think that the SUV offers the best of on-road and off-road worlds. It scores a lot of brownie points when it comes to price and capabilities. We give full marks to the new 10-speed transmission and it is a game-changer. However, these are introductory prices and Ford will jack up the price in May. If you want the benefits, go for it right now. Even after the price hike that is scheduled in May, you may get it at a better value than the Toyota Fortuner!

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