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2020 Ford Endeavour 4x4 AT: First Drive Review


With the loss of the big 3.2-litre diesel, is the sun setting on the Ford Endeavour or could the new 2.0-litre mill herald the dawn to a new beginning?

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

We were here mucking about in the dunes of the Thar desert just a year ago. And on that occasion we were quite thrilled that Ford had just made a small update to the Endeavour. A nip here a tuck there, but what we love about it -- the big chunky motor, cushiony ride quality and comfortable interiors -- had stayed. Ford Endeavour Price

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

A year later and there’s one big change: the sun has finally set on that 3.2 diesel torque monster. In its stead beats a new 2.0-litre BS6 diesel paired with Ford’s new 10-speed automatic. Surely this smaller mill can’t match the oomph of the 5-cylinder diesel?

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

No replacement for displacement, right?
We know what you’re thinking right now: How could an engine that’s less than two thirds the displacement and one cylinder short of the mighty 3.2-litre motor even dream of replacing it? And we wouldn’t blame you; in fact, we felt the same way too. Both when Ford passed over this same EcoBlue engine with the last update (the 2.0 was available in other markets internationally in 2019) and when we were prepping for the drive this time around, the feeling was pretty much the same: a deep disappointment at the loss of an icon. But a long session in the dunes and a good deal of time on the road with the 2020 Endeavour has proved those feelings somewhat misplaced.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

While the new motor is smaller both in cubic capacity as well as physical size than either of the two outgoing motors (2.2 & 3.2 diesels from before) its output isn’t small. It’s just 30PS and 50Nm short of the big daddy 3.2-litre but makes 12PS and 35Nm more than the 2.2-litre motor. In the real world 420Nm still translates to a heck of a lot of shove and while this new engine gearbox pairing doesn’t quite shove you into the back of your seat like the old motor did, it’s more than adequate for anything you’d care to throw at it. In some cases it even outshines the old drivetrain.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

Slicker in the City
While the surgy nature of the old motor was exciting, it grew tiresome in the city where you had to be more gentle with the throttle. With this new drivetrain you don’t have to be so precise with your throttle inputs and this makes driving a more relaxed affair. The gearbox is also smooth shifting and very quick. It even has the ability to skip ratios and if you’re making gentle progress it will jump from 3-5 or 4-6 and then 6-8th and so on.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

It’s also quick to respond to your right foot and unlike other gearboxes with more than 7 ratios that we’ve driven before, there’s barely any hesitation when you step on the throttle. The ratios are also very closely spaced and even though there are many cogs to choose from, the quick shifts always ensure that a quick overtake is always just a throttle poke away.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

In tuning the suspension to match the weight of the new drivetrain Ford also seems to have softened the edge off the little bumps like level changes, rumble strips and small undulations on the roads that we noticed with the Endeavour from a year ago.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

Calmer on the Highway
Once you get up to 90kmph you can shift into 10th gear, as odd as that sounds. At this speed the engine is ticking over at around 1400rpm and at 100kmph it’s still below 1500rpm. And you can barely hear the hum of the engine. There is some wind and road noise that escapes through Ford’s active noise cancellation but it’s still a very quiet cabin. Some clever engine tech like an offset crankshaft and an oil bath for the cam belt all contribute to a more refined engine and though it’s pretty audible when you rev it up past 2000rpm, it’s easily a quieter and smoother experience.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

Less displacement also comes with the promise of more efficiency and when compared to both the outgoing engines paired with automatic transmission the new engine is less thirsty. Ford is claiming an efficiency of 13.90kmpl from the 4x2 variant and 12.40kmpl from the 4x4 variant. That’s significantly better than the 12.62kmpl for the 2.2-litre engine and 10.91kmpl for the 3.2-litre motor.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

Still great off-road
Ford claims that the 2.0-litre makes 20% more torque at 1250rpm than the 2.2-litre motor while peak torque comes in at 1750rpm. The linear nature of the new engine and the gentler and progressive way it hits peak torque is perfectly suited to tricky conditions. This causes less wheel spin and less loss of grip from the tyres. And when we did need more power and wheelspin like when climbing up dunes, there was more than enough grunt from all 170 horses and 420 Newtons to get us up some really steep dunes and super fine sandy patches.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

The new gearbox also improves off-road ability with its progressive range select mode. This allows you to lock the gearbox into a particular range, say 1st, 2nd and 3rd; or 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, and this allows you to carry higher revs and restricts gear changes to a minimum. There’s also a full manual mode that lets you hold on a single gear. Paired with the regular host of low ratio, locking rear diff and terrain modes, the Endeavour is just as, if not a more adept off-road machine.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive



What else is new?
On the outside the only way you’d recognise the 2020 Endeavour is you catch a glimpse of the quarter panel grill which now just spells out the Endeavour name, no more the 3.2 or 2.2 badging. If your eyes are sharper, you may also notice that the headlight cluster is now all-LED units with a square shape around the projector unit as opposed to a round design earlier.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

Visually the insides are practically identical to the 2019 update save for the new gear lever for the 10-speed auto box. Ford has also updated the Endeavour with a new Ford Pass connected tech feature, its first in India.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

This like other connected tech we’ve seen before allows you to lock and unlock, start and check the car’s health remotely through a phone app. There’s also the ability to locate the Endy, geo fence it and make emergency calls.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

Verdict
With the new engine comes a new introductory price starting at Rs 29.55 lakh for the base Titanium variant and going up to Rs 33.25 lakh for the 4x4 Titanium+ variant. Though the entry price is higher than the older model you are getting the convenience of an advanced automatic transmission. And even when the prices increase from the 1st of May, they will only go up by a maximum of 70k for the 4x4 variant. That’s still a good deal less than the outgoing 3.2 4x4 Titanium + variant, but more significantly its still less expensive than it’s chief rival, the Fortuner as well.

2020 Ford Endeavour First Drive

It’s still the same comfortable, imposing SUV that we loved but now it’s just a little more refined, more efficient and priced better. Yes, there may be some of you that will miss the bragging rights of having that monster 3.2-litre diesel. If you haven't driven the old SUV then the 2020 Endeavour is a great SUV you’re bound to love. If you have driven the old one give this one a test drive and I promise you’ll find that both on and off the road the Endeavour still has more than enough performance to impress.

Ford Endeavour Video Review

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