Skoda Superb vs Ford Endeavour: Comparison Review
- by Tushar Kamath
- May 31, 2016
- Views : 16647
A four-wheel-drive mammoth or a sleek luxury sedan? Which amongst the two should adorn your driveway in case you have more than 30 lakh rupees to spend?
Two peas in a pod. It's not an appropriate description for the two cars we have with us for this comparo. There's a good chance you thought to yourself, “Are these people serious?” when you read the title. Well, let's clear that doubt. Yes, we are!
The Skoda Superb and Ford Endeavour are two heavyweights in their respective segments. One is a luxury barge that offers value for money in a premium space, while the other is a brutish workhorse that's been reborn in a more white-collar avatar. Previous generations of both cars have enjoyed a great deal of popularity, but for different reasons.
The Endeavour was an SUV in its traditional sense and put utility before all else. While this formula appealed to the hairy-chested among us, the arrival of the Toyota Fortuner seriously damaged the market slice Ford was slurping on. The American automaker’s internal research showed that the number of premium SUVs in India will more than double in the next 4-5 years. Clearly something had to be done to take advantage of this potential and while the second-generation Endy is technically based on a pick-up truck (Ford Ranger), it is no longer a farmyard mule and offers enough luxury to make you raise your monocle with pride.
The Superb, on the other hand, has always been THE luxury car that offered space and features to rival cars from segments above. First launched in 2004, the Superb has seen a lot of ups and downs in India, but while rivals like the Honda Accord, Nissan Teana and the Volkswagen Passat threw in the towel, the Superb has stayed on as Skoda’s flagship. While this, the third generation Superb, brings the nameplate’s core values with more technology and in a more sophisticated package, it also continues to ask you: Is that entry-level sedan from Mercedes-Benz/BMW/Audi/Jaguar really worth it?
'Unchi is the new lambi'” i.e. Indian buyers are now choosing tall SUVs over long sedans, but if you have around 30 lakh gathering dust in your bank account, which one do you buy? Czech or American? Sedan or SUV? Gentle or gargantuan? Enough dilly-dallying, let's get straight to it!
Skoda Superb: 4/5
Ford Endeavour: 3.5/5
While both cars have different body-styles, the visual differences go a lot deeper than that. Take one look at them both together and it’s like their personalities take a human form. The Skoda looks like a dapper gentleman in his 30s walking into a posh lounge, while the herculean Ford is akin to the bouncer at the entrance checking his ID.
Today, SUV designs fall into roughly two categories – boxy (TUV300 to the Mercedes G-Wagon) and curvy (Toyota Fortuner to the Porsche Cayenne). The new Endeavour seems to find a middle ground between the two. It still has the old school appeal that I personally like in an SUV with a chrome front grille big enough to house a small continent, a tall and flat bonnet, projector headlamps adorned with LED daytime running lights and a chunky skid-plate that envelops the fog lamps in its biceps.
At the same time, you have a few curves at the front and rear fenders that balance out the bulk of the 18-inch wheels, and chrome door handles + wing mirrors to add a little flash. Well-integrated roof rails dive into the tailgate that is highlighted by a chrome bar with ‘Endeavour’ engraved into it.
Overall, the design is imposing, attention-commanding, and all you have to do to appreciate it is drive on a crowded road and watch as traffic scurries to get out of your way. That is something we can’t say about the Superb.
Volkswagen group companies (including Audi and Skoda) produce some elegantly designed cars, and flashy aesthetics are more the exception than the rule. The Superb’s body is classy and handsome with the bi-xenon headlamps, L-shaped LEDs, slim chrome-lined grille and eagle-beak like bonnet curve working well to make the face look upmarket, but more importantly, understated. It doesn’t have the road presence of the Endeavour and the Superb hides in plain sight. Not to mention, similarities with the Octavia are hard to ignore.
A sharp shoulder line, seamlessly integrated key sensors on the door handles, 17-inch wheels and LED tail lights all say “thank you for noticing” and not “HEY, LOOK AT ME!”. Both cars have a solid build, great paint quality and have designs that won’t look outdated in a decade. However, the Endeavour is more about expressing your love for power and flaunting the fruit of your hard work, while the Superb is for the buyer who wants luxury without inviting any untoward attention because of it.
Interior, features and safety:
Skoda Superb: 4.5/5
Ford Endeavour: 3.5/5
Clambering into the Endeavour won’t be an easy task for senior citizens. But once inside, you’re welcomed by an incredibly airy cabin that befits the title of ‘7-seater’. Overall visibility is great with a large glass area letting plenty of light in, and well-sized wing mirrors giving you a good view of what’s around this little elephant.
The interior palette is a mix of beige, brown and black, with subtle sprinkles of chrome. The dashboard is modern and gizmos like the touchscreen infotainment system and data loaded instrument cluster make the car feel very 2016. However, the layout doesn’t draw any superlatives and is more about function than form. Some of the cabin plastics feel rather utilitarian too and the quality could have been better. The leather upholstery is good though and the seats offer great support even for the larger ones among us. Interior space is good too, though, the second-row seats don’t offer much lateral support, while the third row is best left to children or short adults.
The old Endeavour wasn’t a benchmark when it came to equipment, but that’s no longer the case. You get a powerful dual-zone automatic climate control system, with bits like voice commands, steering-mounted audio and telephony controls, cruise control and a panoramic sunroof making the Endeavour’s driving experience a pleasurable one. That said, I wish a smart key was offered, considering that not only the Superb but even the cheaper EcoSport gets it!
The Ford’s cabin is quite impressive, but, we have to admit, the Superb’s feels superior. The layout isn’t too fancy, but the overall quality is better than the Ford’s and it simply exudes luxury. You’d be hard-pressed to find any cheap bits. The cabin space puts more expensive sedans to shame with the beige and black combination looking good effortlessly. While both cars offer great front seats, the Superb’s second row offers better comfort and support. It is the chauffeur-driven owner’s favourite after all, but remember, the Endeavour will fit three people here with more ease.
The Czech Santa has got a lot of goodies in his bag and here, too, we see a touchscreen infotainment system, instrument cluster with dollops of driver information and steering-mounted controls. There are also unique bits like the drive-mode selector, ventilated front seats and boss-button that add more value. Also, the Superb has the superior sound system and the climate control cools the cabin faster too. The sedan sits low, though, and while the cabin feels airy, the wing mirrors + internal rear view mirror need to be larger for better visibility.
As expected, both cars get safety features by the shipload. In the Ford, you get seven airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP, traction control and the unique semi-automatic parallel park assist system (yes, it works perfectly!). The Skoda gets eight airbags, along with a lot of keep-you-protected abbreviations like ABS, EBD, ESP, MBA (mechanical brake assistant), ASR (anti-slip regulation) and more. Both cars get front and rear parking sensors and a rear camera, however, we weren’t happy with the Superb’s camera quality.
Engine and performance:
Skoda Superb: 4/5
Ford Endeavour: 4/5
On paper the Ford Endeavour is the more juiced up of the two. Opt for the 3.2-litre, 5-cylinder diesel we’ve been driving and you get 200PS of power and an earth crunching 470Nm of torque, both delivered very early in the rev range. These numbers overshadow the 177PS and 350Nm you get from the Superb’s 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder heart.
However, these raw figures don’t reflect the whole picture. The Ford is heavier by nearly 1 ton, which throws the game in Skoda’s favour when it comes to the power/torque to weight ratio. The big differentiator though is the transmission. The Endeavour’s 3.2 TDCi engine comes mated exclusively with a 6-speed torque-converter automatic gearbox and also gets a 4x4 transmission with Ford’s terrain management system. The Superb, on the other hand, gets a more advanced 6-speed DSG (twin-clutch) auto-box, with power being driven to the front wheels only.
The different nature of both powertrains is noticeable within minutes of driving them. The Endeavour’s engine offers a good amount of torque in any given gear, but the gearbox isn’t very sporty. Slam the throttle and you have to wait a while before it downshifts and the surge comes in. The engine sounds a bit crude, but I personally like the muscle car-like undertone it has, though there’s fair amount of engine, wind and tyre noise that creeps into the cabin at 50-70kmph. It may not be to an enthusiast’s tastes, but I wouldn’t call this engine sluggish.
The Endy isn’t a performance SUV, so just depress the throttle about mid-way and watch the torque wave take you forward. At triple-digit speeds, the engine noise reduces and the SUV becomes a pleasant highway cruiser. If you’re feeling a bit sporty you can always slip the gear lever into manual mode. The gearbox is quite accepting of aggressive downshifts and will hit and stay at the rev limit without automatically upshifting.
However, the low-slung sedan is the better driver’s car of the two. The Superb’s power delivery is linear and the car offers much better throttle response. The engine is well-refined and the engine + gearbox combination is proven. Go easy on the throttle and the Superb will move ahead at a calm and steady pace with the engine throwing out its grunt in a relaxed manner. Push a little further and it will hold the same gear while building up the revs quite quickly. Slam it, and the gearbox will downshift immediately and give you everything the engine’s got. The TDI mill is quite smooth so you never realise when you’ve hit triple digit speeds, which isn’t the case with Ford’s TDCi. The Superb will cater to the needs of the impatient among us better. While the paddle-shifters are fun to use, the gearbox will override excessive revving and upshift automatically, even if you have it in manual mode.
Ride and handling:
Skoda Superb: 4.5/5
Ford Endeavour: 4/5
Throw the Endeavour at some bad roads and it will pummel straight through them, but on regular tarmac, the Superb feels… Superb! The ride quality is a bit bumpy in the Ford, especially in the rear two rows, while the Skoda is planted and composed. The planted ride also means you can be confident while chucking it into corners, since there’s no body roll and the steering is quite direct.
The Endeavour is a big, bulbous behemoth on wheels, so, understandably, high-speed cornering will leave you feeling a bit jittery. It handles well for what it is, but it can’t compete with the Superb when it comes to dynamics. However, the steering is beautifully calibrated. It’s one-finger-light at parking speeds, nice and direct when the pace is slow, and well-weighted on the highway.
Both cars get disc brakes on all four wheels, but the Endeavour’s have a lot more weight to stop, so there’s noticeable nose dive when you brake and the pedal feels spongy. The Superb comes to a dead halt in a more dignified manner and because the body is more composed, and you can confidently brake later as well.
Skoda Superb: 4.5/5
Ford Endeavour: 4/5
Now, we really do want to pick a winner, but there’s a lot riding on what suits your personality best. If you want something aggressive, imposing and muscular, if you feel the need for adventure and want to break away from the everyday grind and go off-road, or even if you need a rugged 7-seater for your family, the Endeavour is for you.
However, if we had to pick a winner, it would have to be the Skoda Superb. It’s understated, sporty, loaded with features, and offers a sense of luxury that’s in a league of its own. Buy the Endeavour only if you need the two additional seats and/or plan to go off-road.Recommended Variant : Superb Style 2.0 TDI AT