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2020 Ford Endeavour BS-VI First Drive Review: Bashing Dunes in Style

2020 Ford Endeavour driven, in the dunes, like this. (Photo: Ford India)

2020 Ford Endeavour driven, in the dunes, like this. (Photo: Ford India)

The new Ford Endeavour comes with a smaller engine, and if you can look past the numbers, you will be pleasantly surprised about the way it has improved than before.

Manav Sinha
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That time of the year is here when all cars are supposed to be BS-VI emission norm compliant and the latest car to join that bandwagon, right on cue, is the Ford Endeavour. I know it looks familiar to the older model but it has one big change that changes the dynamic of the car which is the new drivetrain, but we’ll get to that in a bit. What you need to know is that the Ford Endeavour, despite being BS-VI emission norm compliant, variant to variant, is cheaper than before.

And that should mean it’s a good thing. Or is it?

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Let’s start with what’s new and let’s start from the outside of the car. Well, remember this badge?

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Earlier it would read 3.2 or 2.2 based on the engine spec that you had got, but now it just reads Endeavour. That’s because now, there is only one engine option and hence, there is only one badge.

The only other change on the outside is in the headlamps. The projectors which used to be circular before are now squarish in shape and claim to give better illumination.

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And, erm, that’s about all the changes that it has on the outside.

On the inside, it’s all the same. Well, except that you now have support for an app called FordPass that gives you all the usual connectivity features through your smartphone like remote locking/unlocking, remote engine start/stop, remote AC control, Geo-fencing and so on.

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Now that all the small changes are done with, let’s get to the big one.

No longer does the Ford Endeavour come with a choice of a 3.2-litre engine or a 2.2-litre engine. Now, it comes with a 2.0-litre unit, it’s called EcoBlue and it is an in-line 4-cylinder unit. It is turbocharged and makes 420 Nm of torque and 170 PS of power. But is that enough?

Well, the short answer is yes, it’s more than enough.

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The power and torque trade-off is not that big as compared to the older engines and even if it is as per you, let me assure you that it still has plenty of both in the bank.

Where this engine really shines, though, is in terms of refinement and usability. Call it a side effect of meeting a higher emission-norm but, in the end for you, the car will feel more linear to drive, feel refined and have a better sense of progression too. And I quite like it this way because let’s be honest, the Endeavour is going to spend most of its time in the city and highways and there, you will want this sense of calm and refinement which helps in improving your driving experience.

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On top of that, the NVH levels are better because the engine is a tiny bit quieter than before, especially at idle. What’s also good is that the suspension is a bit softer than before which means, the sudden pothole jerks that used to get transferred inside the cabin have been ironed out and the car simply glides on road. This makes for a good experience driving on trails too.

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So yes, that engine is good. But what makes it great, is the transmission. The new Endeavour gets a 10-speed automatic transmission. Yes, you read that right, a 10-speed transmission!

I know what you might be thinking at this point, “It’s going to take a lot of time to go from the first gear to the 10th gear and all the way back.” Fortunately, thanks to Ford’s SelectShift technology, that’s not so concerning. What this enables the transmission to do is, say for example, you are cruising around in the ninth gear and you want to overtake someone. In that scenario, the transmission will drop down directly to the fourth gear and skip all the gears in between and give you the amount of torque you require depending on your accelerator input. This makes the car efficient and usable in more ways, than you might have thought of.

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When you combine all of it together, the Endeavour is still a monster of an SUV that can tackle anything and everything that you have to throw at it. This was especially true when we were bashing dunes as the car felt right at home. And the ease with which it gets through all the obstacles is still a pleasantly surprising experience, to say the least.

One big reason for that is, again, Ford’s SelectShift technology which also lets you limit the top gear to which the car can shift to. This comes in very handy while off-roading as the car remains in the gears you want. The only thing that I wish it had were paddle shifters which would make the entire operation a lot easier.

But, at the end of the day, not only is the new Endeavour good off-road, it’s a lot better road car too. It still has the other goodies in it from the older models like the humongous sunroof and pretty much the best infotainment system in the segment.

So all in all, it might get a smaller engine, but it’s a better car in every way.

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So to sum up, I’ve driven it around a variety of driving conditions and went dune bashing in this which was, without a doubt, a lot of fun. However, let’s sum up this car as to what it should be for you. First thing first, this is more competitively priced starting at about Rs 29.5 lakh (ex-showroom) which makes it better value for money than before. It might have lost the 3.2-litre engine and the 2.2-litre engine options but the new 2.0-litre diesel engine is really competitive, in that respect, and is also a very good engine to drive around in both off-roading and city conditions as well.

So, without any doubt, the new Ford Endeavour is better value for money than before. And given the fact that it will be one of the few big SUVs being offered with a BS-VI emission norm compliant diesel engine, along with an automatic transmission, makes it one that really stands out of the crowd.

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