Brawn and Brains - Ford Endeavour 2.2 AT (4x2) | Expert Review
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Watch Expert Review of Ford Endeavour 2.2 AT 4x2
If I had to sum up the current era of motoring, I would call it the ‘Era of Downsizing’. Practically everything that we have loved is now, err..smaller. Take Formula 1 for example. Out went the glorious V10s and V8s; only to be replaced by something that is as big as your photocopier. Even back home in India, the sub 4-metre rule has given rise to a brigade of sedans that need the ‘compromise’ prefix, rather than ‘compact’.
Globally, most SUV manufacturers are making their humble giants shed weight too. Look at the new Pajero, the new Fortuner or even the new breed of SUVs like the Santa Fe and the Koleos. There’s this constant effort to make the boulder fit like a brick. Thankfully though, Ford thinks differently. I’m glad they do. The Endeavour remains as butch, as muscular and as imposing as ever. That’s a good start.
- Space. Proper big car that can accommodate 7 adults.
- Build quality. Feels solid and upmarket inside out. A trait that the current Fortuner skimps on.
- Expansive feature list: Panoramic Sunroof, Terrain Management System, Leather Upholstery, electric tail-gate release etc.
- 6-Speed Autobox is lazy to respond to inputs.
- No manual transmission available with the 3.2 litre engine
- Top-spec 2.2 litre version misses out on many features like the sunroof, electrically folding seats etc.
Stand Out Features
Terrain management system. Can choose between Snow, Mud & Grass, Sand and Rock modes for traction across various terrain.
Programmable second key is a segment first. Can limit audio volume and set a top speed limit.
The Endeavour has a completely new design. You simply cannot mistake it for it’s predecessor. That said, we wouldn’t blame you or assuming it should look fairly the same, considering the original one remained unchanged for a good decade. The core USP of the original Endeavour was it’s sheer size and bulk. The new one isn’t a lot different. It is still massive and imposing in flesh. The new Endeavour is 167 mm shorter, 74 mm wider and 11 mm taller than the outgoing version. Wheelbase is down by 10mm as well.
The design, is quintessentially Ford. As is the case with most of their SUVs, the Endeavour too gets a generous helping of size. The sheer visual bulk of the vehicle is hard to get past. The lines and curves are clean; very little to complain about from the design perspective.
Amongst the first things you notice, is the height of the vehicle. At nearly 6 feet tall, the large chrome grille sits just above the average person’s waist. The large headlamps flanking the grille, house a pair of projector headlamps and get a clean daytime running lamp setup as well. The large bumper houses a hard-plastic skidplate that is finished in matte silver. The Endeavour does have a ‘Get out of my way’ face, just what the Doctor ordered!
Two faint character lines run across the length of the Endeavour. The large glasshouse, flared wheel arches and those huge 18 inch wheels really bring in a lot of character to the side profile. Little dabs of chrome on the front fender, door handles and ORVMs look super classy. Bits like the side-step (footboard) and the roof-rails complete the 2XL SUV checklist for the profile.
The Endeavour gets 265/60 R18 tyres. While we would have loved to see the Endeavour get the 20” wheels that the international version gets, we understand that the 18 inchers are a more practical choice for Indian roads.
The rear ditches the famous tail-mounted spare wheel that the Endeavour was known for. The spare wheel now moves under the boot, just like the Fortuner. The wrap around taillamps are connected by yet another large strip of chrome with embossed Endeavour lettering. The skidplate on the rear mimics the front skidplate, complementing the butch stance.
The Endeavour looks like an intimidating, imposing, go-anywhere SUV. The brawny size and well-sculpted lines give it an authoritative stance. We will go out on a limb and say that the Endeavour is the best looking SUV in its segment.
Climb inside the big Ford and you are greeted by a good-looking, well-finished interior. The quality of parts, fit & finish is amongst the best in its class. Easily better than the Fortuner or even the Chevrolet Trailblazer for that matter.
The slab-sided dashboard is split into three sections. The top portion is draped in Chocolate brown leather, the middle section gets a anthracite/ dark grey colored panel that runs from door to door and beige envelopes the rest. The layout is simplistic and functional. Everything is just where you want it, the design is clean, contemporary and most importantly very user friendly. The Endeavour is a proper seven seater. To make things plush, all seven seats are upholstered in beige leather. The shade is a tad bit too light for our liking. Would have loved to see an all-black cabin here!
The steering is a large chunky unit that is wrapped in leather and gets adjustment for rake. We would have loved reach adjustment as well, but considering that the seat can be adjusted in myriad ways - finding a good driving position is hardly a task.
The instrument cluster is segmented into three sections. A large speedometer takes centre stage and is flanked by two smaller screens on either side. The left screen displays audio information, the one on the right displays vehicle parameters such as RPM, Distance to Empty, Trip Meter etc.
The driver’s seat can be adjusted electrically and has healthy range in terms of fore-aft movement. The view from the driver’s seat is commanding to see the least. You can view the edge of the bonnet and get a nice view of the road ahead. Cushioning and bolstering is just right, no complaints on that front.
The second row can be slid and reclined slightly to make the occupants more comfortable. While the bench is mostly flat, it provides reasonable support. Sitting three abreast isn’t too much of an issue, thanks to the sheer width of the car. When the third passenger isn’t around, the other two can enjoy a central armrest.
Entry into the third row isn’t the easiest of tasks. The second row does not fold up, and theres very limited room for you to stuff yourself into the third row. Once seated, the legroom (with the second row slid all the way back) is just about average. Headspace isn’t an issue. If you have particularly thinner homo sapiens, you can squeeze three into the third row too. You can, not saying you should.
All three rows, get their own set of AC vents. The second and third row passengers, get roof-mounted ac vents. The air-conditioner works flawlessly, we have no complaints on that front.
The centre console is home to the infotainment system and the controls for the dual zone climate control. The 8 inch touchscreen unit is broken into four quadrants and is color coded. The four quadrants are for Phone (yellow), Music (red), Climate Control (blue) and Information (green). Respective features can be controlled directly from the touchscreen and one need not necessarily use the physical buttons or knobs. For example, the AC can be controlled directly from the touchscreen unit. Response from the touchscreen was average, but it did not lag too much. The unit is connected to 10 speakers splattered around the car. It also gets Ford’s SYNC2 system that is capable of understanding over 10 thousand voice commands.
The buttons below the centre console are for the music system and the climate control system. The switches are XL sized and are good to operate. Quality again, is straight from the top-shelf - nothing to complain about.
Our favorite feature on the interior however, is the active-noise cancellation. It employs the same technology as noise-cancelling headphones. The cabin employs tiny mics above the first and second row that pick-up and negate any unwanted sound within the range of 30Hz to 180Hz. . It really makes the cabin a super-silent place to be in. The panoramic sunroof comes in a close second, it's a shame that it is available only on the top-spec 3.2.
There are a lot of cubby holes around the cabin including large bottle holders in the doorpads, a sunglass holder and recesses around the handbrake lever. Not to mention, the glovebox is XL sized and the armrest gets some storage space as well.
Boot space is colossal 450 litres; which can be increased to 750 litres with the third rows folded down. Fold the second row of seats away and you have a massive 2010 litres of boot space. (Note: the third row of seats can be electrically folded in the top-spec 3.2 version; others get a manual handle to fold the seats)
Engine and Performance
The Endeavour is available with two engine options. A smaller 2.2 litre, 4 cylinder engine and a bigger 3.2 litre in-line 5 motor. While the 2.2 is available with a manual as well as an automatic transmission, the 3.2 can be had with the 6-Speed slushbox only. Similarly, the smaller engine gets a 4x2 variant along with a 4x4 - the larger comes only with the latter.
Let us get one thing straight first, the 2.2 litre motor in no way feels underpowered for the Endeavour. Yes, more power is always welcome but the 160PS/385Nm combo does just enough to keep the big Ford on it’s toes. The engine does have a bit of turbo-lag upto 2000rpm post which the 385Nm is delivered in a single gush. Low-end grunt is really nice; the peak torque is achieved at just 1600 rpm. You can get the Endeavour rolling of the line in second gear if you wanted to. The NVH (noise, vibration & harshness levels) on the engine is well under control. Other than the initial vibrations and shake, the sound is well-damped. It is only under harsh acceleration that these noises seep inside the cabin again. Even with speeds climbing well past 100kmph, the Endeavour felt eager to pull.
In-city drivability of the big Ford is rather nice for something that is 15 feet long. The automatic gearbox selects ratios really well if you straddle along with a light right foot. If you do pick the 2.2 with an autobox, a word of advice - do not be in a hurry. The gearbox takes its own sweet time to figure out the gear it is supposed to be in, when you are heavy on the throttle. Be sure to shift to Sports mode or take control of the gears yourself if you need nothing but performance. However, on a relaxed cruise - the gearbox does just fine.
If cross-country hopping is your thing, the Endeavour will not disappoint. Although, we would recommend you pick the 3.2 though. That said, the 2.2 is completely at ease at high speeds. The engine is practically yawning at 100kmph; there’s no shouting or stress of any sort. It is amongst the most relaxed cruisers you can buy.
Ride and Handling
The Endeavour isn’t supposed to carve corners and do not expect it to be half as competent. The bulk translates into significant body roll when you chuck the big boy into a corner. Do remember that the Endeavour is based on the good ol’ body-on-frame construction and is nowhere as poised through the corners as a monocoque (read: Santa Fe). While traction control will ensure that you don’t spin out, some restraint on the right leg won’t harm.
The steering is amongst the lighter units out there. At city speeds, it is just as light as you would want it to be. It does weigh up nicely when the speeds climb. The steering feels nice and accurate at high speeds, there is no vagueness or dead-zone as such.
The 225mm of Ground Clearance let's the Endeavour simply gobble up the potholes and broken roads. It simply irons the undulations out. The 4x4 version gets Ford's terrain response system that will let it handle more extreme landscapes. However, the 4x2 is best kept away from muck and slush.
The Endeavour is loaded with safety tech. Dual airbags, ABS with EBD, Traction Control System (TCS), Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Hill Launch Assist comes standard across trims. The Titanium variants get Side and Curtain airbags, whereas the Titanium+ variant gets an airbag for the Driver’s knee as well!
I’ll stick my neck out and say the Endeavour is the best 25 lakh rupee SUV you can buy as of now. The styling, the presence, the technology and most importantly - the price, remains unparalleled. Starting at 24.75 lakhs, the mammoth does look like a bargain compared to the outdated Fortuner. That said, once Toyota turns up the heat, will we see the true fate of the Endeavour.