The year 2003 saw the arrival of the Ford Endeavour, or the Everest as it's known as in other markets. It was as American as an SUV could get. With the large tyres and a long body complementing the long bonnet and big front grille, the SUV screamed muscle. It immediately attracted a lot of off-road enthusiasts and made a strong statement in the market.
For four years, this SUV remained unaltered and the first facelift came out in 2007 with a new front face and engine. Within one year of this, Ford rolled out the Endeavour Thunder+ with a bigger engine and certain cosmetic tweaks. The final update of the first-gen Endeavour came out in 2009 with a major makeover in terms of looks and mechanicals. Some of the biggest additions were the introduction of an automatic transmission and a segment-first 7-inch touchscreen navigation system. For seven years, this SUV was Ford's flagship in India, until the launch of the second-generation (current) model in 2016. This was an all-new SUV and was even more American than before. The large, in-your-face grille and imposing stance made it an instant success. Loaded with features and new engines, it went on to become the highest-selling premium SUV in India. Here's a look at the Ford Endeavour's evolution over the past 13 years.
With underpinnings from the Ford Ranger (which, along with the Ford F-150, was one of the most sold pickup trucks in the US), this Endeavour was the first SUV from Ford in the Indian market. Powering this 7-seater SUV was a 2.5-litre turbocharged diesel engine which produced 110PS. It came with both, 2WD and 4WD configurations.
This update did not just come with a better face, but more power too. The same 2.5-litre turbocharged diesel now made 143PS of power and 330Nm of torque. The transmission was also reworked to feel better with a shorter lever and reduced throw between gears. It even got a new 4x4 transfer case, new alloys (16-inch), multi-reflector headlamps and tail lamps, all new leather interiors and a 6 CD-changer.
The Thunder+ had little in terms of cosmetic updates, but the thunder in the name referred to a new 3.0-litre diesel common-rail injection engine with a Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT). It produced about 160PS of power along with 380Nm of torque. It came with a new spare-wheel cover, body cladding, rear ladder, bigger ORVMs with puddle lamps and two-tone exteriors. Inside, the changes included camel-tone full-leather upholstery, a 6 CD-changer with 6 speakers, and a roof-mounted DVD player.
This was the first major change in the SUV's history. Still a facelift, this new Endeavour featured numerous updates, inside and out. The face was overhauled to impart a more premium feel. The grille, still the 3-slat arrangement, was no longer tucked in a rectangle, and the headlamps were completely new. Inside, the major attraction was the 7-inch touchscreen navigation unit with a DVD player, rear camera and Bluetooth capability with the automatic variant.
Mechanically, the SUV got a new 5-speed automatic gearbox for the 4x4 model. It still featured the 2.5-litre and 3.0-litre diesel engines, but now the SUV was safer with the addition of side/curtain airbags. Later, in 2010, the 4x2 variants, too, got an automatic transmission.
The final change in the first generation, this Endeavour came with a new family grille, new front bumper and a new set of headlamps. The changes inside the cabin were minimal. One could spot wooden trims on the dashboard and the door panels. Also, this facelift introduced steering-mounted controls in the SUV. The engines on offer remained the same - a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder turbo diesel and a more powerful 3.0-litre turbo diesel engine.
The current/second-generation Ford Endeavour is an all-new SUV from the ground up, and yes, it's still based on the Ranger pickup. It looks fierce and it means business. It comes with a Terrain Management System which lets the driver choose between the Snow, Sand, Grass, Mud and Rock modes in order to fine-tune the 4x4 response on the go. Further helping its off-road capabilities is the 225mm ground clearance, 30-, 25- and 21-degree approach, departure and ramp-over angles, respectively, and a massive 800mm water wading ability! The SUV also has an electronic locking rear-differential, hill-descent control and hill-launch assist which holds the brake for a few seconds on an incline, preventing any roll-back.
Inside, the cabin has a panoramic sunroof, 8-inch infotainment system coupled with 10 speakers, active noise cancellation, semi-auto parallel park assist, SYNC 3 voice activation, and a lot more. The third row gets the 'Electric Powerfold' function which folds the seats at the touch of a button. The tailgate can be electrically-operated as well. In terms of safety, the SUV has 7 airbags, electronic stability control (ESC) and electric power assist steering (EPAS) with pull-drift compensation.
Mechanically, the SUV has a 2.2-litre, 4-cylinder diesel unit and a larger 3.2-litre, inline 5-cylinder diesel engine. The 2.2-litre unit produces 160PS/385Nm and the 3.2-litre mill produces 200PS/470Nm respectively. Variants powered by the smaller engine are available with both, 6-speed automatic and manual transmissions, while the 3.2-litre variants are offered with an automatic transmission only.
Over the years, the Endeavour has grown up and matured to become a capable off-roader. The interiors now have a premium feel and the SUV comes out as a fantastic all-rounder. It is now India's best-selling premium SUV and is one of the most capable off-roaders available in the sub-Rs 30 lakh price bracket.
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