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|3rd October 2010, 16:21||#1|
We started with 200 kms of on-road driving in the 2WD & 4WD versions (on the first day), followed by off-road driving in the 4WD on the beach & a hill (on the 2nd day).
An intro for the uninitiated : The Endeavour AT has a 3.0 liter common rail (TDCi) diesel mated to a 5 speed auto. The engine is rated at 154 BHP (@ 3,200 rpm) and max torque of 380 Nm (@ 2,500 rpm). The AT comes in two (4WD or 2WD) variants. The 4WD variant comes with a limited slip differential at the rear.
First time I neared the Ford Endeavour AT, I was asked to hop in and start driving. Even the ignition was on. I just slipped into D and was flagged off. Since I have driven powerful AT cars for a lot longer than MT cars, and own a competing SUV as well (Grand Vitara), I thought I should be able to figure this beast out pretty quickly. But, not quite! This is a diesel SUV with an automatic transmission, a combination I have never driven before. Powerful petrol AT cars generally respond instantaneously once you floor the accelerator pedal. The diesel AT will not forget its diesel heritage, it will ask you the inevitable question made famous by Microsoft, “Are you sure…?” before responding slowly. In other words, you won’t win any drag races with the Endeavour.
One of the things that can be very irritating on an AT car is the tendency to "hunt for gears". When the car is moving on a level road with a constant pedal, the gears should not keep changing. However, I did experience gear-hunting on the Endeavour 2WD variant at speeds below 50 kph, as a result of which it felt sluggish. Two other media drivers reported the same. You could see the tachometer hover between 750 - 1,500 rpms frequently, without any external input. On the other hand, this was not experienced in the 4WD variant at all. The 4WD & 2WD variants have the exact same transmission and engine, therefore this experience is strange. I did report it to Ford, they too were puzzled. For the record, the 2WD cars had around 500 kms on them, while the 4WD cars had 5,000 - 20,000 kms on the odometer.
Over the first half of the day, we drove through busy and narrow Goa roads, and then onto the pristine Chorla ghats. The pilot car was being incredibly cautious and we didn’t get to cross 50 - 60 kph in the entire stretch. While it was tolerable on busy roads, it was almost torturous to travel so slowly on the empty ghat roads. The gear-hunting at low speeds wasn’t helping matters either. Somewhere in the middle of the ghat section, another swap was suggested, and I got back into the driver's seat. During the time it took to swap, the cars in front had moved well ahead. That gave me a rare chance to speed up and catch up with them. It was the first time I was able to do some fast driving with the Endeavour, I threw it around the corners to check for body roll and handling. The body roll was there, but nothing more than expected for an SUV of this size. And it handled pretty well without any unwanted drama.
Over lunch, I discussed with the Ford officials about the need to give us a longer rope to get the real feel of this SUV. Granted, none of the roads around Goa are of GQ quality. But one cannot appreciate the potential of the Endeavour AT driving at 50 kph the whole day. As a result, one of the officials decided to drive the pilot car himself.
The return trip on the ghat was pure bliss, and I was driving the 4x4 version this time. I felt the 4WD was a lot more responsive and did not suffer from gear-hunting. As the pilot car started flying away at 90 - 100 kph, I could really stretch her legs. And it rained gloriously in the usual coastal style all the way back. The road was clean and full of twists to give us the full measure of this vehicle's handling characteristics. The MRF tyres did a satisfactory job, good resistance against hydroplaning and delivered decent traction in both wet & dry conditions. This stretch was the most enjoyable drive of the entire event. Endeavour AT really delivered the goods here.
I also drove over every pothole I could see at different speeds to test the ride comfort. These were all like golf holes compared to the gigantic craters commonly seen on the Karnataka highways. Still, we could feel every blemish on the road. It is smoothened only to an extent, but the rear leaf spring layout is always obvious. I have seen better ride comfort in the Grand Vitara, Safari and Gurkha. And this was from the driver’s seat. I wonder how it would feel from the 3rd row (where I never got a chance to sit).
On the second day, due to heavy rains, the beach driving session was in danger of getting cancelled. Since I was the only one there with actual offroading experience, I was asked to assess the situation at the beach. As I reached the beach along with the advanced party, I quickly realized that the sand was quite firm. And the rain had reduced to a light trickle. So I recce'd an entry point between the coconut trees, and asked them to drive through the path quickly to avoid getting stuck. The heavy morning showers had packed the sand to be much harder. This was going to be like driving on mud, without the dust or slush. So the beach drive was on.
The Endeavour went for a face lift, and came out mellowed down. The new Endeavour's personality is not as intimidating as its predecessor:
It's still a handsome SUV no doubt:
Huge spare tyre almost covers the rear profile, not to my liking. Yet, I prefer the spare tyre on the tail gate than down under (like in the Fortuner):
And tough as nails:
Ok, it can’t swim. One media driver did attempt to, but the water got into the engine bay with full force. The fender on one side got pushed out, some water got into the starter armature and started smoking. No major damage otherwise.
I was the first driver to perform all these stunts since I had done so, several times in my Grand Vitara. There were some proper aerial shots, but none in my camera since I was busy driving.
What we did on the beach is hardly offroading, for the sand was well packed and didn't pose any challenge. But the beach is one place where SUVs can have fun without picking up expensive damage. You won’t and probably can’t do this in a sedan.
However, this should not be tried on any beach, at least not without somebody to drag you out. There are beaches where even a 4x4 SUV can sink like a stone. One should learn to assess the sand before getting in. Still there is a chance of misjudging the sand, which has happened to me on prior occasion. But the joy of driving an SUV on an open beach can only be experienced and not explained.
We then headed to the hills for some offroad trail driving. The trail identified by the Ford team was a dirt track with some water thanks to morning rain. It was a hard packed laterite stone / gravel hill, thus not much chance of slippage or slush. I soon got out and started walking and jogging while shooting away:
As I expected, the Endeavours ran all over the trail easily, even though most drivers had no prior 4x4 experience. In fact, people got bored with all the slow driving in 1L, and started doing fast donuts on a flat patch. I approached one of the drivers and found that he was still in 1L. Now that was interesting. If the mode is set to 4L and AT lever set to 1, one would expect the car to remain in 1L even while flooring the engine. But the transmission was obviously shifting up to preserve the engine.
Although I got some nice photos at this place, I had not yet bothered to drive the Endeavour here. The official trail was too tame. How about doing some real offroading? With that thought in mind, I looked around and started recce'ing outside of the designated path, through some rocky uncharted route. It didn’t take much time to find such a path amongst the bushes. So I rode up the rocky terrain and soon vanished from view of the others. For a few minutes, I was lost as I could not make out where I was in reference to the others. But I had two more media members in the car eager to drive. I handed over the wheel to one of them and set out by foot to find a return path.
Right then, something strange happened. The Endeavour starting jerking violently over the rocky ground. It was like ABS getting activated over snow. I feared the worse, thinking that somehow I have managed to damage the vehicle by taking it offroad. But I had driven up pretty carefully all the way up, I couldn’t understand how it can go bad all of a sudden. I asked the driver what is he doing, but he too was equally clueless about the cause of violent jerks. That driver was so psyched, he made way for the other driver. Once the other driver took over, the jerks stopped. It was time to test the engine braking of this AT 4x4. I asked the driver to keep away from the all pedals and let the idle speed take care of the movement. The car slowly crawled down the hill without fuss.
Houston, we have descent control:
Yes, despite being an AT, if the car is in low ratio low gear, it does crawl down in full engine braking like a manual 4WD vehicle.
After seeing the smooth climb down with the second driver, the first driver wanted to drive it again. So he got back in, asking me to stay in co-passenger seat. As we started driving back in the official trail, the jerks started again. I looked down and noticed that his left leg was on the brake pedal. He was running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. That was the cause of all the jerks. While encountering alien terrain, he forgot all about the auto-transmission and tried to ride the clutch, except it was the brake pedal!! I guess such confusion can happen to people who are new to ATs. Once he let go the brakes, the jerks stopped.
However, this Endeavour was fully loaded with 5-6 people and since he was not taking the right line to avoid the numerous undulations, the Endeavour started scraping the ground. At this point the driver relinquished the wheel back to me. I drove back mostly using engine braking in 1, 2 and 3 gears in 4L. It holds itself in gear pretty well as long as you don’t press the accelerator. By this time I had fallen in love with the AT box. As we got back on tarmac, I turned the knob back to 2H. But the display continued to show 4L. Backing up a little in reverse too didn’t work. Finally the support guys asked me to turn the knob forward and back with the AT lever set to N. Only then the mode switched back to 2H.
Last edited by Samurai : 5th October 2010 at 23:31.
|3rd October 2010, 16:21||#2|
2010 Ford Endeavour AT: Test Drive & Review
The Ford Endeavour AT 4WD has been available for a while now; the cheaper 2WD recently hit the market (Link to thread (4x2 Ford Endeavour AT (3 liter diesel) launched)). This wasn't so much a hardcore test-drive event as it was about showcasing the Endeavour as a lifestyle vehicle. The drive consisted of driving to scenic locales in and around Goa, including ghat roads, beaches, hills and - inevitably - Goa's infamous narrow streets.
What you will like:
Last edited by GTO : 5th October 2010 at 17:10.
|4th October 2010, 01:09||#3|
Now let's get a closer look at the Endeavour.
The center console on the 2WD variant:
That's the 6-CD changer system, with only aux-in and no iPod / USB docking option. The 4WD variant does have the iPod/USB option. The AC is very basic, no automatic climate control feature. Odd, because climate control is now commonly seen in the sub-10 lakh segment too. The rear A/C vents have a separate button, so it need not be on at all times. The front air-vents are huge! The AC is quite a chiller, more so because you can’t set the temperature and forget about it (as you would in climate control). C’mon Ford, you got to give automatic climate control in this segment.
The rear AC vent is well integrated onto the roof:
The center console on the 4WD variant takes on different roles; GPS, reverse camera and audio head unit:
Navigating across the various menu options is not easy unless you have read the instructions. We mostly got nowhere since none of us even found the instruction booklet!!
The cockpit looks contemporary enough, although it is missing many modern features:
Look at all the four bottle holders. Do you get that sinking feeling? Yup, all four of them can only hold a soda can or half liter water bottle. If you hop in with your usual 1 liter bottle, you’ll have to leave it rolling on the floor.
Same holds true for the rear seat, it is a half-liter country out here. In comparison, you can put one liter bottles in every one of those bottle holders in the Grand Vitara. Did they really have to compromise on this aspect for a car that will be a favorite for long highway drives?
The leather bound steering wheel is chunky and comfortable to hold. Audio controls are conspicuously missing:
The driver’s console is crystal clear. AT setting is displayed along with the usual items:
Pedals were comfortable and easy to press / modulate. Brakes felt spongy on the 2WD version though:
Dead pedal available, but with a hiccup. The thin red line I have drawn next to the foot rest indicates the edge of the foot well. In other words, you have to keep your left foot slanted at an angle. And if you have big feet like me (size 10.5), or wear wide shoes, your left and right heels will mash against each other while braking. Happened to me all the time.
Oddly placed handbrake. Pull hard to engage, then turn and push back to release. Like the good old WW-II Jeeps:
Cigarette lighter, 12V power outlet, ash-tray (GTO will be pleased ) and audio aux-in:
The AT shifter is very simple. No confusing gated slots as in the Maruti SX4. There is no shift lock either; be careful with hyperactive kids on the passenger seat. The button you see in the lever is the overdrive switch:
The 4WD shifter is a shift-on-the-fly knob. Most driving will be done in 2H. Slippery conditions call for the 4H or 4L:
The driver side control panel is pretty simple and obvious. I like the wood finish too:
Electrically folding side mirrors are a nice touch. No auto-fold when you switch the engine off though:
The center storage box. Opening the lid of the lower box can crush the water bottle placed at the rear:
Front passenger has oodles of leg space:
Glove box area looks well integrated. Glove box itself is pretty big, and there's an extra pull-out drawer for small papers and knick-knacks:
Dual Sunglass holders. Cheap plastic and fabric:
Last edited by Samurai : 6th October 2010 at 00:34.
|4th October 2010, 19:53||#4|
Both the ATs get DVD + a roof display. Lights on either side too. If the car is in parking gear, the same video plays on the center console:
The 4WD variant does get iPod/USB docking option. The cable is hidden within the glovebox:
The middle rows get map reading lights:
The 3rd row gets some lights too:
But where are the map reading lights for the front row? There aren't any. One smart alec suggested that it is not provided because one doesn’t need maps on the Endeavour AT, thanks to the GPS. Fact is, the TV display replaced the front map reading lights.
This would be the front map reading light, if you are willing to give up the roof mounted TV display. It is a plug-n-play concept:
External video input ports:
Full leather upholstery:
How is the rear leg room? Let the photos speak for themselves:
Notice the angle at the knees, the rear seats are clearly low. Really bad for tall people. The middle seat is very uncomfortable, for sitting as well as foot placement.
I didn’t check the 3rd row out, never got the time when the seats were in place. When I found the vehicle available for shooting, the seats were missing:
With the 3rd row seat removed, it does have ample storage space:
120W / 12V power outlet at the rear, good enough for a mini-fridge me thinks:
The rear door has a storage net...
and a lock to hold it in the open position:
None of the seats are height adjustable:
The GPS receiver is placed on top of the dash at the passenger’s corner. Should receive good signal from there:
ICE remote control:
The Endeavour has impressive GC at 210 mm. Note that numbers can often be misleading. Clearance at the right places is more important:
The front underbelly is protected by a series of skid plates. Also notice the tow hook on the right:
Check out the rear underbelly. It is an SPOA setup, with an unusual leaf spring set. And there is no tow hook in the rear. None whatsoever!
It will be very hard to pull the Endeavour back out of a ditch. Anybody planning to take it offroad should be made aware of that fact. You can consider adding a custom tow hook at the rear.
The foot-board, for people who like it. I don’t remember using it in the entire two day period:
The folding side mirror tucks in very neatly:
The OE MRF tyres were good under most conditions:
Under the hood:
Ladder frame chassis. Nothing hanging down to be caught by obstacles:
When I first heard that the Ford Endeavour 4x4 will be available only in AT, I was appalled. Not anymore. The AT box is smooth and fairly competent and doesn’t take anything away from the offroad ability. In fact, it will make your life easy on the way to the trail. On the road, we could easily maneuver it on busy/narrow streets without worrying about gear changes. On ghat roads, it could easily handle the winding roads with decent dry and wet traction. The ride comfort is still its Achilles heel. But that won’t change until the current platform makes away for a new one.
The latest variant is the 4x2 AT, but I see little point in it. What you lose in features to save 6.4% of the cost of 4WD variant is worth a lot (LOT) more. I see no point in losing the driver and front passenger side airbags, limited slip differential at the rear, GPS, Reverse Camera, USB docking, Touchscreen HU, Bluetooth connectivity and most of all, 4WD ability, which is the mark of a real SUV. All this to save 1.22L in ex-showroom price. And remember, it can't take you to the beach or the hills.
It is the Ford Endeavour 4x4 AT that's a real contender in this segment. With the AT being recognized as a practical option by more and more Indian consumers, the Endeavour may have an ace up its sleeve.
- Disclaimer : Ford invited Team-BHP for the Endeavour test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.
Last edited by Samurai : 14th July 2011 at 14:40.
|6th October 2010, 00:11||#7|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Aug 2007
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As usual, awesome test drive report Samurai.
I'm so sure that you've covered almost all aspects of the vehicle.The interior looks very cool with that in-built GPS and reverse camera.
And, I guess that you had much fun driving the Ford Endeavour AT in the beach. Yes, I'm drooling over the pictures. Hat's off to you
PS: Rated 5 stars.
Last edited by Klub Class : 6th October 2010 at 00:13.
|6th October 2010, 00:24||#8|
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samu brilliant review there and some excellent snaps. I doubt even if the media chaps have gotten such good pictures.
|6th October 2010, 00:30||#9|
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Location: Redwood shores, CA, USA
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Great Review. Excellent pictures too. No Aux, USB support is a little shocking, the spare wheel looks tad larger, and I still love the old alloy design. The GC is impressive and so is the underbody minus the rear tag absence. The GPS receiver location is good so that signals are not lost. Here everytime I have to throw it on the dashbaord for it to fetch the satellite signal.
Interior space is impressive but the utilities are bare bone. I mean look at the handbrake or the AT lever, its like one of the Nissan Versa ones.
|6th October 2010, 00:39||#10|
Unfortunately, there was no technical person to answer such questions.
|6th October 2010, 01:42||#11|
Join Date: Feb 2008
Thanked: 8 Times
Samurai i was seriously considering the 2wd a/t as the fortuner will take a lot more time to come with an a/t but with your review it seems i will go for the 4wd although will never use the 4wd am sure ! i intend to drive mostly in mumbai traffic i.e. speeds way below 50kph and as you mentioned it will keep hunting for gears right ? Is it possible that the gear hunting was limited to that particular car ?
P.S. lovely detailed photos thanks
Last edited by m-hawk : 6th October 2010 at 01:43.
|6th October 2010, 01:53||#12|
Join Date: Oct 2005
Thanked: 2,080 Times
Extensive review with some real good detail. Photos of the car are also amazing. The one with the rubber raft tied on top and running along the shoreline with water spraying around is really amazing. However that hand brake is an anachronism!
|6th October 2010, 05:17||#13|
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Nice review. One thing I noticed when I drove a Endy earlier this year was very slow response on flooring the accelerator. This was trying to simulate quick over taking manoeuvre.
Would it be better to have firmer suspension.
|6th October 2010, 08:07||#14|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Excellent review Samurai.
My colleague is planning to buy a SUV for around 20 lakhs. His choices are Captiva, Endeavour, Outlander and Fortuner. Since his commute is 30kms everyday in rush hour traffic I suggested an AT option. Endeavour suits his needs quite well.
I will direct him to this thread for the review.
|6th October 2010, 09:10||#15|
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