2020 Ford Endeavour BS6 | First Drive Review | A more capable Fortuner rival
The Toyota Fortuner might be the default SUV in the ₹25-30 lakh segment but the Ford has always delivered a capable rival in the Endeavour. The Endeavour was facelifted last February with a redesigned chrome-embellished grille, new alloys and a sportier instrument cluster. We drove it in Jaisalmer and also tested its off-roading prowess at the Sam sand dunes and that’s exactly where we are back a year later. This is the 2020 Ford Endeavour that we are dune-bashing with it. It now gets a 2-litre BS6 diesel engine mated to a 10-speed automatic gearbox. With the new underpinnings, is it now a fiercer rival to the Toyota Fortuner and the Mahindra Alturas G4? Let’s find out.
Same design, more features
There are minimal changes on the design and styling front of the Ford Endeavour. The old HID headlamps have been replaced with all-new LED units, that illuminate the road more evenly. In addition to that, the engine displacement badging (2.2 or 3.2) above the front wheel arches has been removed and it now simply reads ‘Endeavour’. The 2020 Endeavour also gets Ford’s connected car system. Via the ‘Ford Pass’ app, you can remotely start/stop, lock/unlock and take note of the fuel level, distance to empty among more functions.
A new BS6 heart
The 2.2-litre diesel engine and the mighty 3.2-litre unit have both been discontinued and replaced with a new 2-litre ‘EcoBlue’ diesel engine. EcoBlue stands for improved fuel economy and the addition of the AdBlue urea-injection. Speaking of which, the engine now gets a standard SCR catalyst with urea injection (read AdBlue fluid) to break down noxious NOx into simpler nitrogen and water compounds, meeting BS6 standards and improving fuel efficiency by 14 per cent. And despite the downsizing, this engine churns 170hp and a healthy 420Nm of torque, 10hp and 35Nm more than what the phased out 2.2-litre unit made and 20hp and 50Nm less than the power and torque figures of the mighty 3.2-litre engine.
How does this translate into on-road performance then? The Endeavour was never an inadequate performer and the same can be said about this new 2020 version. What’s new here is the linearity and sophistication in the way it delivers power. There’s no sudden burst of torque but a rather gradual build up, providing a more laid-back and relaxed driving experience. And despite that there’s always ample torque on tap, enough to effortlessly hustle the Endy to triple digit speeds. There’s vast improvement in refinement too. Engine noise is well contained thanks to a 10mm offset crank design that minimizes piston side load, reducing rubbing forces against the cylinder walls. It’s only beyond 3500rpm when the noise gets intrusive.
New 10-speed AT
Also contributing to a smooth driving experience is the new 10-speed torque converter automatic transmission. It’s also available in Ford’s international models like the F-150 pick-up, however it’s the first of its kind in India. The shifts are smooth and most of the times you won’t even notice the Endeavour switching cogs. The 10-speed architecture helps mask turbo-lag and improves responsiveness and acceleration thanks to the closely spaced ratios, making sure there’s ample torque available at all times. On the downside, the upshifts are slightly jerky when you’re aggressive with the throttle.
Dune bashing in the Endeavour
The Ford Endeavour retains its off-roading prowess with a full time 4x4 system, low-range function, an electronically locking rear differential and the Terrain Response System with sand, snow, mud and rock modes that alter throttle response, torque distribution and engine mapping to suit a specific type of terrain. The 10-speed gearbox is the cherry on the cake here. We ventured into the Sam dunes near Jaisalmer and the ‘SelectShift’ technology of this transmission helped tackle the dunes more effectively. Via the ‘minus’ (-) switch on the gear lever, you can select a specific set of gears (for instance, first three or four gears), and the transmission won’t shift beyond. This helps maintain momentum by providing maximum torque to the wheels with maximum traction using the selected set of gears. Its effectiveness was evident in the way the Endeavour plugged through the soft and sinking dunes in the sand mode, maintaining the peak torque using the correct gear.
The Endeavour always struck a great balance between its on-road and off-road performance along with its excellent blend of great ride and handling. Factor in the price and the Endeavour gets brownie points. At Rs 29.55 lakh, the base 4x2 variant undercuts the similarly specced Fortuner by Rs 2.5 lakh while the top of the line Fortuner costs Rs 70,000 more than the range topping Endeavour. With the addition of a cleaner BS6 engine, excellent 10-speed AT and the segment first connected car tech, this makes the Endy a great option to the default Fortuner and there’s a special treat for those who book it before May 1 — the prices will go up by Rs 70,000 after that, with the full impact of the BS6 tweaking being passed to the customer.