Ford Endeavour: A Farmer's Tool (with Photo Gallery)

PHOTO GALLERY: Ford Endeavour 3.0l AT 4x4 

Have you ever ploughed fields with a modern sophisticated machine? I did. Helped the farm owner to prepare for his samba cropping by playing with Ford Endeavour 3.0l AT 4x4.

I admit that I have a regret. I don't like SUVs as much as I do sedans and station wagons. But pushing hard the Endy on to any rough terrain is more fun as a barrel of monkeys! Slush mud of a farmland, broken barren lands, rocky stretches with throny bushes or coastal sand dunes of Danushkodi - the Endy is go anywhere sheep. Not that appreciable on the road, however.

I know it's time to speak about the next generation Ford Endeavour. The official images of the Everest SUV concept are out a month ago. But I take out the existing Endeavour for a spin to understand what it is and what is ought to be expected in the upcoming vehicle.

PHOTO GALLERY: Ford Endeavour 3.0l AT 4x4 

On the face of it, the Endy (as they call it short!) is god-damn big car! Or whatever it means! I often gets reminded of a Force Traveler whenever I see it on road, it is such a big SUV and looks beefy on road. The present version is a major facelift born in 2010 with more bulbous appeal almost everywhere to ward of its predecessor's old-school boxy-ness. Though the styling is little unearthly to its retro build under the skin, the Endy is brawny with distinctive road presence and appeal. The rear angle is the most ugly looking of all. Ruggedness and muscularity compromises elegance. Well, it's an SUV!

Now lets come to the driving sector, I have no idea to waste your time by describing highlights. Since it is based on the Ford Ranger pick-up, the Endy sits quite high off the ground with its hood hovering next to a normal car's windscreen. Which means driving it is altogether a different experience, especially in cities. The 3.0-litre TDCi mill that powers the Endy is one of the most powerful of its segment and you feel that with its throaty bursts while stepping of the gas pedal. It delivers healthy torques that gets the car through anywhere. But the engine is too noisy when you accelerate hard from low gears. Especially outside the car, may fear other road users reminding them of a monster running past them. Noise is just reduced inside the cabin.

Also Read: 2016 Ford Everest Next-gen (Endeavour) 

The 5-speed automatic transmission and the shift-on-the-move 4WD system looks like a perfect match for the engine. However the gear ratios are matched for both on and off road driving. And there comes the problem. On road driving is not happy enough, there is too much transmission lag. Every time the auto box up-shifts gears, it's like you hit a sandbag head on to bumper! That is too much irritating, jerks the car and makes you to anticipate the next gear change. Especially at highways when you overtake someone, frequent gear changes and engine grunts makes its less pleasurable to drive.

But hold on! Step off the road, the Endy shows a different character. The engine, with the auto box and the 4WD, is best suited for slush and tarmac. It climbs easily through rocks and uphil. The Endy has a limited slip differential at the rear - switch the 4x4 knob to 4L, and the Borg Warner transfer case would ensure that the traction is available to all wheels. The bursts of torque would sometimes make crawling on rock and slush a bit tricky, you have to be careful with how much throttle you give in. Little torque would lead to wheel spin. The sizable length of the SUV adds to the challenges at times. The truck based suspension does chunk you around a bit. Risks add up, since there is no rear towing eye, if you get struck somewhere then that's you day!

The leaf spring suspension setup at the rear makes Endy's ride unsettled and jittery at all times. At this price of around 25 lakhs, you will never appreciate this sort of a ride comfort. Long drives makes you sick, especially if you occupy last two rows. If roads are not considerable, then you can never ever have a good nap. Off the road too, you would complain but little. Driver feels the heaviness of the SUV during overtaking and quick maneuvers at high speeds, inspires less confidence too. Steering is no pleasure at highways and a bit large to use too.

Whatever maybe, you are sure to get impressed with the Endy's off-roading. The steering is best suited for tarmac driving and is nicely responsive. Huge chunky wheels and whooping ground clearance gives you confidence that you can conquer any terrain.

FORD EVEREST CONCEPT: New Endy for India will be based on this car
And what are our expectations from the up-coming new Endy? The next generation is going to be a modern concept vehicle, so happy that the old-school nature of the Ford SUV is gone. It is again going to be a hardcore off-roader, so expect the new Endy to be much more capable than the present one to conquer all terrains. Features and technologies have to be perfect, since the present Endy lacks key features of its segment - cruise control, climate control, steering audio buttons, ESP, traction control, modern suspension setup, etc. And finally the price, the present Endeavour is   priced too high for the car they offer. Ford have can position it high provided they abide the segment standards.

So, the present Endeavour is a farmer's tool indeed, suited best for off-roading to conquer any rugged terrain (And to plough fields too!!). Let this agricultural fun get a boost in the upcoming version, with a much more balanced approach for on and off-road driving.

Next, would you like to read more on Ford, Endeavour, or SUVs ??