By T Murrali
Ford India recently organised a drive experience of its new Endeavour to give customers, the media and the enthusiasts a first-hand experience of the SUV’s off-roading capabilities.
Behind the steering wheel, this correspondent experienced the new Endeavour 3.2-litre five-cylinder TDCi mated with automatic transmission, relentlessly performing on a track simulating challenging off-road conditions.
Before getting into the facelift of the Endeavour a look around the SUV hardly tells of any notable change except for the new colour and the new diamond-cut alloy wheels. However, a closer look reveals a couple of striking modifications such as the newly designed grille, headlamp inserts and redesigned bumper with fog lamp housings. Another addition is the new keyless-entry function on the driver and passenger door handles, which have become standard feature even in B-plus segment cars.
The first feature in the interiors to catch the attention is the panoramic sun-roof, covering up to 50 percent of the roof space. It is attractive, especially for the off-roaders as two to three people can pop up through this opening. Another outstanding feature is the ‘Active Noise Cancellation’ (a technology used in noise-cancelling headphones), which prevents the low-frequency engine noise from entering the cabin. At the touch of a button the 8-way power adjustable driver and front passenger seats offer better comfort. Yet another addition in the interiors is the push start button, which is present even in small cars in India. The black and beige dashboard wrapped in leather and double stitching adds to the premium feel.
The vehicle has also ‘Semi Auto Parallel Park Assist’ that helps to locate the right-sized parking spot and steers the vehicle effortlessly. The ‘Hands-Free Power Lift Gate’ enables the users to open the boot by triggering a sensor in the rear at a simple motion of their foot. The new design 18-inch alloy wheels and the new colour – Diffused Silver – are head-turners.
The new vehicle offers two fun-to-drive diesel engines: 2.2-litre four-cylinder TDCi delivering 160PS of power and 385 Nm of torque, and 3.2-litre five-cylinder TDCi that generates 200PS of power and 470 Nm of torque. The new Endeavour is available in three-trims – 2.2L Titanium Manual, 2.2L Titanium+ Automatic and 3.2L Titanium+ Automatic.
Set amid natural surroundings on the outskirts of Chennai, the simulated challenging off-roading conditions include sharp turns, steep hill climbs and hill descent, wading through slush, uneven surfaces, and driving at high-degree tilt. The vehicle did manoeuvre sharp turns even at steep climbs effortlessly with good visibility. The SUV also features Hill Launch Assist and Hill Descent Control that make steep uphill or downhill drives convenient and easy.
The hill climb feature held the vehicle firm for about three seconds even when the vehicle was in a gradient of about 45 degrees, facilitating the driver to shift his foot from brake to the accelerator pedal. The hill descent feature makes the vehicle take control of braking and acceleration during steep descent while the driver needs to just handle the steering. The suspension was smooth even while driving on uneven surface and on irregular surface where one wheel was about a metre high, making the vehicle tilt to more than 40 degrees.
For a moment I felt as if I was behind the steering wheel of a speed boat in a lake, while driving the Endeavour in a 0.8 metre deep pond. The wading capability was impressive.
Though a short drive, the experience proved to be exceptional due to improved ride quality and dynamic handling of the SUV.
The vehicle comes with seven airbags, including a driver knee-airbag. Other safety features include ABS with EBD and ESC, parking sensors in the front and back with a rear parking camera, and tyre pressure monitoring system. Other features like automatic park assist, auto headlamps, terrain select, dual-zone automatic climate control, etc., are carried forward.