2019 Ford Endeavour - First Drive Review

22/02/2019 - 12:13 | ,  ,   | Yatharth Chauhan

Launched in January 2016, the Ford Endeavour has a monthly sales average of 442 units (between August 2018 - January 2019). In line with its Thai-spec version, which received a mid-cycle makeover in July 2018, the flagship SUV from Ford India has finally received a set of updates that work well to make the Toyota Fortuner-rival a wee bit more desirable. We have sampled the refreshed SUV in varied terrains of Rajasthan. Our 2019 Ford Endeavour review details the changes on offer.

The Ford Endeavour has been arguably the most handsome SUV in its segment, which means that any substantial change to its styling package could have taken a toll on the aesthetics. No wonder, then, that Ford has played it safe with freshening up the soft parts of its large SUV. The exterior updates for the front-end are restricted to a revised chrome-plated grille, which features an additional horizontal slat, and a new lower intake frame. In the side profile, the Endy receives a set of dual-tone 18-inch machined alloy wheels that jazz up the things a fair bit. The only other visual upgrade comes in the form of the 'Diffused Silver Metallic' paint scheme.

While not too prominent, the handful of minor visual updates successfully inject freshness with the butch-looking SUV. The improvements ensure that the three-year-old model continues to look suave. The front-end of the Endeavour is characterised by the chunky chrome-plated grille and sleek HID headlamps with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs). The high ground clearance of 225 mm and a wide track, together with bits like the faux skid plate and the liberal usage of chrome, endow the Endeavour with a strong road presence.

The side-profile is equally impressive, with its well-pronounced creases, bold wheel arches, stylish 18-inch alloy wheels, and the faux air-vents on the front fenders. While the rear-end is a reflection of the macho front, it has been left entirely untouched. The highlights here include the C-motif for the LED tail lamps and a chrome trim that runs across the SUV's width.

2019 Ford Endeavour Review Images Front Three Angl

Even the updates for the interior are minor in nature but they do well to make the cabin a slightly better place to be in. The beige-brown colour scheme of the pre-facelift model makes way for the beige-black colour combination. Moreover, the Ford Endeavour has finally received the keyless entry with push-button start setup, which is a feature that has been available on much more affordable models but remained conspicuous by its absence on the Endy until the advent of the facelift. The cabin even receives 8-way electric adjustments for the passenger seat, thereby enhancing the overall user convenience by a small margin.

The cabin continues to feel quite upmarket, and the overall fit and finish, and the quality of materials leave little to be desired. The dashboard impresses with its Range Rover-like form factor, while the brushed aluminium accents and the piano black trim further enhances the premiumness on offer. As with the pre-facelift version, the spacious cabin offers 30 storage spaces for the knick-knacks and multiple USB ports and power outlets.

Another highlight of the cabin is its ability to effortlessly isolate the occupants from the road noise and the external world. The company has made use of Active Noise Cancellation technology to provide a quiet cabin. Other than the two new features, the Endeavour continues to offer a lot of equipment, including an excellent SYNC3 infotainment unit, a panoramic sunroof, 360-degree parking sensors, and a semi-automatic park assist system. Ford has discontinued the entry-spec Trend variant with the introduction of the mid-life facelift. The flagship SUV is now available exclusively in high-end Titanium and Titanium+ trims.

2019 Ford Endeavour Images Interior Dashboard

Unlike the international version, which receives a 2.0-litre oil-burner and a 10-speed automatic transmission with the roll-out of the facelift, the Indian model soldiers on with the original powertrain options. The entry-level 2.2-litre diesel motor is available with a 6-speed manual transmission and a 6-speed automatic unit, while the 3.2-litre engine comes mated exclusively to the auto' box. The smaller powerplant is available in a RWD format, but 4WD is standard on the larger engine variant.

The 2.2-litre engine outputs 160PS/385 Nm, while the 3.2-litre unit offers 200 PS/470 Nm. We drove the latter, and quite expectedly, the Ford Endeavour retains the driving dynamics of the previous iteration. The bigger motor offers well-spread torque, with a strong mid-range that enables the Endy to provide an enjoyable driving experience. The turbo lag is minimal, and the 6-speed torque converter unit provides well-timed and reasonably quick shifts. There's even a 'Sports' mode that allows you to override the electronics and shift at your will. The only grouse that we have here is that the engine is a tad too audible to the occupants, which dampens the otherwise rich cabin experience a bit.

As before, the 2019 Ford Endeavour provides a fantastic ride quality over most surfaces. For most parts, the body-roll remains well contained and the high ground clearance, along with the well-tuned suspension, helps the SUV glide over the undulations. That said, the low-speed ride gets a bit firm over the broken tarmac and the sharp irregularities. The SUV feels sure-footed and its well-weighted steering is quite direct in nature, but the ride gets a bit 'wallowy' at high speeds.

2019 Ford Endeavour Review Images Front Three Quar

We even took the 2019 Ford Endeavour for some 'dune-bashing.' The excellent 'Terrain Management System', along with the 4WD hardware, differential locks on the rear axle, and high approach and departure angles, helped the SUV make short work of the highly challenging terrain.

Armed with a butch design, a feature-laden cabin, a powerful 3.2-litre diesel engine, decent ride and handling characteristics, and a robust 4WD hardware, the Ford Endeavour already had a lot going for it. The introduction of the mid-cycle facelift, however, successfully improves an already competent product. True, the cabin could have been slightly better isolated from the engine noise and the 2.2-litre motor can do with some additional grunt, but we are pretty much nitpicking here. While the 2019 Ford Endeavour doesn't bring any sort of substantial upgrade to the table, the minor styling revisions and the additional features work well to make this SUV a more compelling buy. And the icing on the cake comes in the form of the revised price list - On sale in a price bracket of INR 28.19 lakh-32.97 lakh, the refreshed model is up to INR 47,000 cheaper than the previous version.

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