The Ford Endeavour has come a long way since it first arrived in our market almost two decades ago. The SUV has evolved and how, both in terms of driving dynamics and overall appearance. In fact, it was just last year we drove the facelifted model and it was more or less a deja vu coming back to Sam Dunes in Jaisalmer to drive the updated 2020 Ford Endeavour. But just going by the looks of it, it's hard to be convinced that anything has actually been updated.
Also Read: 2020 Ford Endeavour BS6 Launched In India
The Imperceptible Difference
Well! At the first glance it's very difficult to figure out the changes. But have your gaze upon it and you'll notice that there is something different with the headlamps. Though the layout of the cluster remains untouched, they are all LED units with more prominent daytime running lamps (DRLs), as opposed to projector beams on its predecessor. Rest, it is identical to the outgoing model at every corner and that's a good thing.
The Ford Endeavour has always looked the part. Bold, butch and big and the road presence is still unparalleled in its class, something the Endeavour fan club admires. Then there's the new Endeavour badge on the fender which replaces the 3.2 or 2.2 lettering, hinting at the big update under its hood.
The Real Difference
So the hefty 3.2-litre and the comparatively frugal 2.2-litre motors mated to the six-speed auto gearbox on the previous Endeavour have been taken off the line-up and a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel engine has replaced both of them. In-turn it also makes the Endeavour 'future ready' and it meets the upcoming BS6 emission standards. At 166 bhp and 420 Nm of peak torque it belts out 30 bhp less and is 50 Nm low on torque compared to the 3.2-litre motor but still develops 8 bhp and 35 Nm more than the 2.2 unit. The claim here is that this engine brings the best of both motors being at par with the performance of the 3.2-litre units and more frugal than even the 2.2-litre motor.
How Ford has managed to pull that off? Well! Apart from a lot of calibrations that went into this new 2.0-litre engine itself, it's the world's first 10-speed automatic gearbox that works like a charm delivering all the punch you need, precisely when you want it. Like we do in manual transmissions, even this can skip gears to keep you in the correct rev band. So let's say you are cruising in eighth gear and want to make a quick overtake, it can shift down directly to sixth or even fourth if need be, depending on your throttle input. Moreover, the shifts are precise, ratios are on point and it holds on to the revs till 4000 rpm even in D mode when you push it, in S you can easily rev the motor right up to the red line.
The engine itself feels sprightlier from get go and the bottom end lag is just not felt. There is ample punch in the mid-range as well. Also, optimum gear ratios and healthy low end torque means you are cruising quite swiftly at triple digit speeds at and the engine yet feels quiet and at ease. That said, when pushed too hard the motor does feel just a bit anxious towards the top end where it gets more vocal and there is more noise than progression. Ford also says that there is 20 per cent more low-end torque on tap compared to the outgoing 2.2-litre TDCi engine and it's more fuel efficient now, delivering 13.90 kmpl in the two-wheel drive version and 12.4 Kmpl in the four-wheel drive iteration.
In The Dunes
The 10-speed gearbox also comes with Select Shift functionality basically where you can lock a particular gear beyond which it won't upshift, no matter how hard you rev. That's a boon in the dunes where you just can't afford to lose momentum. We were instructed to lock third gear on the shifter and the gearbox didn't go beyond that, making the Endeavour hop over the steepest of inclines without even engaging the differential lock.
Having the reassurance of a heavy-duty four-wheel drive system, I literally had to just have a firm foot on the throttle and there were enough grunts to go simply swashing the dunes. And boy! That makes you feel like a hero, without doing much of the job.
Then there's the Terrain management system which unleashes the Endeavours dexterity and you do feel the aggression building up as you switch modes from normal to gravel or mud and finally to sand. Moreover, the Endeavour has always been an off-roader at its core.
With high approach and departure angles along with 225 mm of ground clearance, you rarely worry about scraping its nose or belly even on the crests. The independent suspension up front and linkage types at the rear are coupled with anti-roll bars and there are loads of electronics ensuring that you don't lose control even when it slides.
So yes! The Ford Endeavour can still take on all the rough quite handsomely. But not all owners are going to encounter those treacherous terrains right? That brings us to how good of a daily driver and highway cruiser it still is.
Even the previous Endeavour impressed us with its body manners and it still feels pretty much planted to the road even at triple digit speeds. Though body rolls are apparent around the bends and corners given that it still tips the scales at over 2.4 tons, they aren't glaring and won't leave you or other passengers jigging around even while carrying decent speed.
While the steering isn't as quick and shouldn't actually be given its proportions and heft, you feel connected and always know what your wheels are up to. The sweet spot though is the suspension that amazes you with how silently it works. You just don't feel bumps or potholes unless they are sizeable or too steep. It still feels supple over undulations riding on those 18-inch alloy wheels shod in fatter, high profile tyres, letting you cruise around at reasonable speeds and we all like that, don't we!
The black and beige cabin remains unchanged but gets quite a few segment first features. So there are powered front seats, power foldable third-row seats, foot-gesture operation for the powered tailgate, semi auto parallel park assist, dual-zone climate control and panoramic sunroof among others. It still feels as sophisticated with soft touch materials at surfaces your hands will frequently brush against.
Also, the 8.0-inch touchscreen with Microsoft sync which is now configured with the FordPass connected car tech that receives over-the-air (OTA) updates. So you can remotely lock / unlock and start-stop or even precool the cabin and that's just the tip of the iceberg, the feature list goes on. On the safety front there are seven airbags including a driver knee airbag, seatbelt with pretensioners and ISOFIX child seat anchorage.
The base two-wheel drive variant of the Ford Endeavour costs ₹ 29.55 lakh and it tops out at ₹ 33. 24 lakh and these are introductory prices. It is now over a lakh cheaper than its predecessor and even that imminent ₹ 70,000 price hike won't make it as expensive as the outgoing model. It still is the most affordable four-wheel drive SUV in its segment, undercutting both the Mahindra Alturas G4 by ₹ 1.15 lakh snd the Toyota Fortuner by ₹ 4.40 lakh.
So the 2020 Ford Endeavour is affordable, capable and with Ford's warranty schemes easy on the pocket to maintain. The srop in power figures don't really bother. If anything, the new Endeavour feels livelier with this new 2.0-litre engine and the new gearbox is a touch of brilliance. So yes! The Ford Endeavour still remains all the SUV you need!