Our first drive review of the new 2019 Ford Endeavour, which gets updated looks, features and mechanicals too!
Majority of the readers of this article are bound to be car enthusiasts and if so, you would know that the new 2019 Ford Endeavour isn’t exactly new to the international market. While India was still waiting in line like other countries on the list, the new Endeavour saw its global launch happen in Thailand last year. It got updated styling cues, much-needed added convenience features and even a new engine paired to a new transmission. Needless to say, we were on our heels, waiting for Ford India to launch the new Endeavour with all the goodness it now has to offer in its international version.
After almost a year of twiddling thumbs and the new Endeavour has finally reached our shores in all its glory. However, don’t pop that champagne bottle just yet, ladies and gentlemen. I come bearing good news, and bad. Yes, there is a lot to talk about when it comes to the ‘new’ 2019 Ford Endeavour but in one particular area, I’m afraid, we’ve been dealt the short end of the stick - engine and transmission options. While we’re on the topic, let me tell you what we don’t get before I get to what we do in the Indian-spec Endeavour. Internationally, the new Endeavour or Everest, as it’s known elsewhere will be the recipient of a brand-spanking new engine from the Blue Oval. It is 2.0-litre Panther diesel unit which will be offered in two states of tune - a naturally-aspirated version producing 182bhp and 420Nm of torque, and a twin-turbocharged one which makes a healthy 215bhp and 500Nm of torque. Both versions will be paired to a new 10-speed automatic transmission, equipped with a four-wheel drive system and Ford’s Terrain Response Management system as standard. The new Ford Endeavour which is available in India is available with the familiar option of 2.2-litre and 3.2-litre engines from the outgoing version. However, while the same 6-speed automatic transmission continues duty, the new Endeavour will now also be available with the option of a good ol’ manual transmission.Before we get to all the mechanical goodness though, let’s start with the design updates.
If you took the new 2019 Ford Endeavour and parked it right beside the outgoing version, took two steps back and were asked to spot what has changed at first glance, you would be well-forgiven to be confused whether or not anything has. However, take two steps forward and the picture gets clearer. There are a total of four, yes just four changes separating the new Endeavour from the 2018 model Starting with the ones in the front, you now get a new front grille design, with three narrower-placed slats but further spread apart compared to the old design’s two broad slats running across the middle. Along with this, the front also receives an update in the form of a new frame design for the lower air intake, located just under the grille. All these updates now do their bit in making the front of the new Endeavour an even more menacing sight in someone's rear-view mirror. A car with a massive ground clearance of 225mm and front track width measuring a hatchback-and-a-half has its way of clearing traffic annoyances and cabbies out of your way, even before you reach to sound the horn on your leather-wrapped steering wheel. Coupled to the updates, the Endeavour still gets generous doses of chrome, sleek-looking HID headlamps with daytime-running LEDs and an aggressive-looking faux skid plate to complete the look. The side profile of the new Endeavour also sees a change, the 2019 models get similarly-specced 18-inch wheels but now gets a new, more aggressive design. The last update is the addition of a brand-new paint scheme, called Diffuse Silver. Overall, while design changes to this mid-life updates are less than substantial, there is no denying that the Endeavour still remains the best looking in the segment. We feel Ford still deserves a big thumbs-up for the commendable effort it took in designing this new-generation Endeavour in the first place.
Where Ford engineers have focused their efforts on while updating the new Endeavour was inside. Yes, the design aspect of the new Endeavour’s cabin hasn’t changed but what you now do get is a more upmarket beige-black contrasting colour scheme replacing the dreary beige-brown tacky combination in the outgoing model. Even so, it still manages to impress with the use of premium touches like a soft-touch dashboard, brushed aluminium accents and piano-black finishes, reminiscent of the feel-good factor you get from any European-styled SUV. One little niggle we have, however, is while the new Endeavour’s cabin exuberates the most character compared to its rival, I’m afraid the fit and finish aren’t the best around. With a few features that come out more tacky than premium. The biggest talking point about the 2019 Ford Endeavour’s cabin is the addition of a host of new convenience features. Let us break each one down to detail.
The biggest overlook we felt the outgoing Endeavour had was the lack of an option for a keyless entry-and-go system, well our cries of languishing haven’t befallen on deaf ears. Ford has finally reached into its parts bin and is now offering the 2019 version of the Endeavour with this option. The next update that we’re happy to report the new Endeavour now gets, is the addition of a power-lift boot lid which has the capability of opening or closing by waving your foot under the centre of the rear bumper. This is probably the most convenient addition for those who have a regular habit of being overburdened by luggage or shopping bags on their return to the car. Other added features include puddle lamps which illuminate the ground at night for safer ingress/egress and an 8-way power adjustable front passenger seat in addition to just power-adjustable drivers-side seat which was available in the old model. Other than this new addition to the convenience features list, the Endeavour continues to offer all the luxuries of the old. This includes the excellent, butter-smooth Ford SYNC 3 touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a massic panoramic sunroof and a total of 30 storage spaces for your knick-knacks. The Endeavour also continues to offer the two most important features to help park this behemoth in a country as crowded as ours, a 360-degree bird-eye-view camera to help you see everything around and the semi-autonomous parallel park assist system.
While it doesn’t come out as an all-new cabin, what Ford has done is take all the good bits of the old and shoved a whole lot of extra niceties to the new in order to make it well-kitted out and more pragmatic. In order to simplify the choices that it offers potential Endeavour customer, Ford got rid of the base Trend variants and offers just two choices - Titanium and Titanium Plus. While both variants are well loaded with luxuries like touchscreen infotainment with multiple smartphone connectivity and dual-zone air conditioning, Titanium Plus variants add extra niceties to the mix. These features include a soft-touch dashboard, ambient lighting, panoramic sunroof, power adjustable front passenger seat, power folding third row, parallel parking assist and an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror.
Engine, Transmission & Handling
Now let us get to the juicy bits of the car, what it holds under that long, new snout of its - the engine choices. Yes, we have already mentioned that Indian-spec 2019 Endeavour misses out on the new 2.0-litre twin-turbo engine and 10-speed automatic. Yet, for those going through the brochures of the new Endeavour, it shouldn’t matter because not only are the familiar pair of engines still a joy to drive but we now also get the freedom of a manual transmission. Let me first explain how these engines and transmission are segregated between the two variant choices. The 2.2-litre engine is the most versatile option and is available with both the six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission. The Titanium version serves as the base model and will only be offered with the 2.2-litre engine configured to the manual. The Titanium plus offers both engines, 2,2-litre and 3.2-litre units, both exclusively paired to a six-speed automatic. In our first drive review, we only had the chance to sample the top-end Titanium Plus variant with the 3.2-litre engine coupled to the six-speed automatic. However, we also got the chance to sample Endeavour four-wheel drive and Terrain Response Management system that the model is exclusively available with. Unfortunately, there is no option to spec the 2.2-litre engine with the four-wheel drive and Terrain Response system.
In terms of its driving dynamics, there are no new surprises in the mix. The 3.2-litre engine offers enough grunt to bring down a dilapidated building, with strong bouts of power most apparent mid-range mark of the rev counter. The car has minimal turbo lag for all daily driving conditions but when trying to actually notice that lag, it becomes woefully apparent. The six-speed automatic gearbox retains its familiar character as well. It is tuned to deliver the best efficiency that it can manage to offer but ends up feeling sluggish with the rubber band effect tapering off only once in the odo's mid-range mark. The saving grace, once again, is the sport mode it has to offer. Shift to ‘S’ when traffic and road conditions permit, and you immediately have a better sense of freedom in shifting gears. We also got the chance to hit some sand dunes in the Thar desert and this is where the car came into its own. The ample reserve of torque was perfect to get you out of the tricky situation and Ford’s Terrain Response system did wonders in assessing what sort of terrain we were traversing, in return keeping engine revs and gearing at exactly the right amount needed at that time. When things did go south though and I found myself stuck on a tricky section of the dunes, spinning my rear wheels right in, the Endeavour brought out its off-road party trick. A simple shift to neutral, push a button to engage 4x4 low, lock the rear differentials and voila! There’s that heroic turn of events which you can brag about to your friends later.
Once you finally do get back on solid ground, what you'll discover is the handling too remains unaltered over the outgoing model. The Endeavour moves around sure-footedly over most surfaces you'll encounter and feels absolutely planted even at car-impounding triple-digit speeds. Only north of 150kmph does the car start to wallow and start showing us its true-blue SUV nature. Push on from that point though and you'll soon realise, all you're doing is unnecessarily fighting your brain from doing the sensible things and backing off the throttle. However, we had a closed course at hand and these are speeds not recommended for our roads. Speaking of our roads, the ride quality does feel firm at low speeds and really large potholes are dealt with, with a mild, noticeable thud into the cabin.
All-in-all, the new 2019 Endeavour is new and isn’t too, as it turns out. There is plenty that sets it above the outgoing model but definitely has some misses opportunities too in the engine department. Then again, India is an extremely price-conscious and the decision to stick to the engine choices was one for feasibility reasons. What you get out of this though, is something even better. The new Endeavour has actually undercut its own price over the outgoing version, which is definitely worth applause. What you end up getting from what was already a worthy competitor to the SUV king crown, is a better look, better features, more transmission options and a cheaper price tag. Add to that a standard mind-easing manufacturer warranty of 5-years/1,00,000km and you get a serious threat to the easy-resting current king of the segment, the Fortuner. Now what remains to be chosen is your side of the personality crown. What will it be, a precision-cut, no-nonsense Japanese or the raw power of American muscle? I know which one I’d go for.
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