The Great Ford Endeavour Drive: Ford’s Endeavour For Supremacy

Ford Endeavour undertakes an exigent off-road test to prove muscle

Ford Endeavour 3.2 4x4 Titanium
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A capable SUV slogging an off-road trail is as exciting as a fast sportscar belting a racetrack. The sensation of plotting an enormous vehicle through a challenging terrain is nothing short of climbing a mountain. The 3.2-litre, 4x4 Endeavour is undoubtedly the pick-of-the-lot this side of Rs 30-lakh for an arduous off-road trail. It gets all the essential ammo to take 5 people on a daunting setup and own it but needs to prove itself to get our affirmation.

An off-road track built on the Aravalli range that can demolish self-belief of any high-heeled vehicle with limited capabilities is the test that the Endeavour has to pass. Such tracks are not laid the way tarmac is. A pilot vehicle with enormous capabilities first sets out in the wilderness leaving a trail that is modified to assess the capabilities of the vehicle under scanner. The Endeavour has to negotiate obstacles that look virtually impossible for stock SUVs we see zipping on our roads.

Kicking up some muck with the Endeavour

For an SUV, high ground clearance and a good approach and departure angle form the basic gear. The Ford Endeavour has a 30-degree approach angle and a 25-degree departure angle with skid plates at both ends to ensure metal doesn’t scrape in overexcitement. A steep 60-degree downhill, the first of the obstacles we encountered, it managed without a shriek with hill descent control kicking in to keep downhill speed in check. The 4x4 Endeavour gets terrain management system that lets you choose drive modes.

The sand mode in the Endeavour aids the 4x4 setup to keep a firm holding on sand. A long straight after the first downhill had us pushing the Endeavour till the next obstacle and it felt at-home on loose ground. Till now, we did appreciate the interior quality based on the space and comfort it offered, however the quality of materials needs a special mention. No rattles of any sort from a step-motherly treated media car means that the new Endeavour has taken a big leap forward in the way the interior is put together.

The HDC being put through its paces
Next up was a steep incline followed by slush and water wading. The 3.2-litre TDCi diesel engine of the Endeavour makes 470Nm of maximum torque available between 1750-2500rpm. In order to put the engine to test, we crawled all the way up to ensure least momentum advantage, and the Endeavour managed the climb in regular 4x4 mode. Unable to put the Endeavour under stress on the first instance, our dark side decided to make the drill more demanding. The next time we hit the incline, we did so with 4 people on board. It managed it in the regular 4x4 mode, but with some distress. Slotting the Endeavour into the rock mode with diff lock on ensured that the uphill was handled gracefully. Exiting the ascend we realized that the humungous ORVMs that give an across-the-board rear view can play spoilsport on turns forming massive blind spots. Thankfully, we didn’t turn a deaf ear to our instructor who bellowed with all the energy to help us remain on track.

A water-wading pool turned slush pit is always the trickiest part of any off-road circuit. Maintain momentum and you’ll walk out like an expert; higher or lower speeds mean an SOS call to the winch car. The Endeavour has a water wading capability of 800mm which means you can drive through all water pools in Delhi rains. In a water wading pit, you can get stuck if you brake. You need momentum to get out of the pit however tyres lose grip. Top it all with a heavy SUV on stock tyres and things get trickier. The first lot of Endeavours managed the section well however things soon started to get ugly and the pit had to be refurbished to make things doable. The Endeavour however impressed us as it continued to maintain its composure when driven as per instructions.

Ford shows off its 4WD prowess

Last round was a relatively easy rumble strip followed by chicken holes to showcase how the 4x4 system works if one or more wheels are lifted off the ground. The Endeavour managed both in regular 4x4 mode however turning differential lock on with low range made progress smooth.

The Endeavour is not meant for hardcore off-roading but the 4x4 setup with low range ensures that you can go for a stroll into wilderness in search of peace. The terrain management system further portrays you as a pro at handling odd surfaces. And it does all this keeping you safe and in comfort making it one of the more capable SUVs this side of 30-lakh rupees. With the Fortuner coming in shortly, the Endeavour’s free-run is ultimately coming to an end. However, Ford seems to be in a position to give it back to Toyota this time. The product, the price and Ford’s intention to succeed is evident the way it is approaching the big bout.

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