The Endeavour is undoubtedly one of the first products from Ford to have established it as a premium automaker in India. Launched during the festive season of 2003, the 'Endy' was an instant success in a nation that was starved for a tough, brutish, true-blue SUV. The Endeavour nameplate - also known as 'Everest' in other markets - is now nearly 13 years old in India. From almost no rivals in the early 2000s to a flooded segment in this present day (there are even more to come), the Endeavour has seen it all! And yet, the venerable Endeavour has always been the sought-after SUV in its segment and the current generation model just took off from where the original one left. Let us roll through the history of this herculean American SUV.
The Endeavour is the SUV version of Ford's popular pick-up, the Ranger. The nameplate made its world debut at the 2003 Bangkok Motor Show in the month of March as the 'Everest'. India became one of the very first markets in Asia to get it the very same year, in October, but as the 'Endeavour'. Ford brought in completely knocked-down units of the Endeavour - sourced from its Rayong plant in Thailand, and launched it just before the festive season of 2003 at Rs 12.90 lakh (ex-showroom, New Delhi). The first-gen Endeavour came with dual front airbags and ABS (anti-lock braking system). As there were hardly any competitors back then, the Endeavour unequivocally became the segment leader.
When it was launched, it came with a 2.5-litre diesel motor, which was capable of 110PS of power and nearly 274Nm of torque. The oil burner was coupled to a 5-speed manual gearbox and, with both 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrain options on offer, it was a potent off-roader. In 2007, Ford updated the Endeavour thoroughly giving it a fresh new face, completely redesigned cabin, and an uprated 2.5-litre engine. The 2.5-litre oil burner was tuned to produce 143PS of power and 330Nm of torque.
Soon, Ford also added an automatic option to the Endeavour with a brand-new, more powerful 3.0-litre turbo-diesel motor. The 3.0-litre diesel was good for 156PS of power and 380Nm of torque. Though there was a slight increase in power, the 3.0-litre oil burner was a lot torquier compared to the 2.5-litre motor. It was coupled to a 5-speed automatic gearbox and was available with 4x2 and 4x4 drivetrains. The USP of this particular generation of the Endeavour was its sheer length - over 5 metres - which undoubtedly made it look intimidating.
The previous-generation Endeavour never came short of features and compared to its rivals, it was also competitively priced. It was loaded with niceties such as leather upholstery, a touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive (not available in the Fortuner), among others.
With the competition growing fiercer by the day though, Ford decided to completely redesign and re-engineer the Endy. The new Endeavour/Everest, developed by Ford's Australian division, made its world debut in China (which became its first global market) in November 2014. It retains the true-blue SUV essence of the original machine, while combining it with modern design and technology. Though it is a body-on-frame SUV, it uses a modern multi-link suspension at the rear as opposed to the leaf-spring setup of the previous model.
Like its predecessor, the second-generation Endeavour was launched ahead of the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo in January and was priced aggressively. Interestingly, the 2016 Endeavour undercuts its arch rival - a generation older Fortuner, by quite a margin. When you consider what all it offers - semi-parallel park assist, 7 airbags, active noise cancellation, a panoramic sunroof, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, to name a few, it's evident that the Endeavour is here with all guns blazing. With the new packaging and pricing, the Endeavour got its throne back and registered its lead in the sales charts.
Even mechanically, the new Endeavour went to a totally different level with the introduction of two new engines - a flagship, torquey 5-cylinder 3.2-litre diesel (200PS/ 470Nm) along with a 4-cylinder, 2.2-litre diesel (160PS/ 385Nm). Both engines come with the option of 6-speed transmissions, but while the smaller engine can be paired with a manual gearbox, the 3.2 is an automatic-only powertrain. The SUV also gets Ford's Terrain Management System with Normal, Rock, Sand and Snow driving modes. Additionally, it comes with a water-wading capacity of 800mm and rides 225mm above the ground. This SUV is meant for the rough stuff and the Endeavour irons out all the challenges that our roads can throw at it.
The current generation Endeavour offers the most communicative steering in its segment. The new electronic power steering is very light at city speeds and weighs up nicely as the speeds climb. The straight line stability of the Endeavour is brilliant and it can cruise at triple digit speeds all day long. In terms of performance, both the engines have enough grunt to pull this big boy effortlessly. While the 2.2-litre (4-cylinder) is completely at ease at high speeds, the 3.2-litre (5-cylinder) oil-burner is in a league of its own.
All in all, the 2016 Endeavour has raised the bar in its segment, which might be difficult for its upcoming rivals to match. It is a well-rounded package both off and on road; loaded with features and comes with potent drivetrains. And not to mention, it has 13 years of lineage!
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